An Abstract Question

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An Abstract Question

Postby Doji Azai » Tue Apr 07, 2015 3:03 pm

I will make this post on a few forums as I am trying to drum up responses to my question.

I want to take advantage of the fact that you guys get to ask me questions to turn it around and ask one of my own. This is quite abstract and I expect varying answers, but try to stay on topic.

What interests you most about the story?
- Do you like seeing big, sweeping meta plots that carry the characters into giant events and changes?
- Do you prefer to see smaller stories, more intimate tales?

Also, if given the choice would you rather see a wide array of characters from your faction given story time (say 10-15) or would you like to narrow down the big stories to a smaller group (3-5)?

I was thinking about what got me into this game and how I learned about the story back in the day. One of the more enjoyable tales that drew me in was the romantic conflict between Doji Hoturi and Bayushi (then Shosuro) Kachiko. You see, that tale was spread out over weekly fictions, flavor text, blurbs in the rulebooks, RPG books (specifically the first Winter Court book), and other places. But no matter what, it always stuck to the narrative. It did not include a wide array of other characters. I think for the Crane it touched on Kakita Toshimoko, Doji Satsume, Doji Kuwanan, and Doji SHizue. For the Scorpion, it connected to Bayushi Shoju, Bayushi Aramoro, Bayushi Dairu, and a few others. Yoritomo was even in there for a while.

But it was a story ABOUT the tragic romance between Doji Hoturi and Bayushi Kachiko.

So, that's what draws me in. What about you?
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Re: An Abstract Question

Postby Rixy » Tue Apr 07, 2015 6:29 pm

Smaller, human conflicts, definitely. Things that can have touches of supernatural, but not 'the big bad of the week'.

The last time I really cared about the story, other than the exception of a few favorite characters, was the War of Dark Fire. There were real heroes. They fought an existing threat that, while it hadn't been seen often or so powerfully, was still not tacked on to the mythos of the world the way it seemed the Destroyers were. Even with the Yobanjin being foreign, there was a known villain behind them, one with ties that older players could see, and that made the conflict relevant, interesting, and most importantly, appropriate.

I didn't care, so much, for the name recognition. I cared that, for a given story, a character's point of view was well set, defined often by a few actions that came at the end of life. Two instances stick out (forgive the paraphrasing and my inability to remember the exact fictions):

From Mrs Sauer, when writing of the fall of Kyuden Hida: The berserker who refused, even at the last, to admit he was weeping, trying to convince himself until the end it was only sweat that was in his eyes.

From someone I suspect was Shawn, when writing of the evacuation of one of the Dragon castles: A Yasuki, non-chalantly leaning against a wall having a snack, a dead invader at his feet. The local Mirumoto charged with the evacuation approached him and demanded to know why he still remained and what he thought he was doing. In one of my favorite lines, he replied, "I am eating an apple. Are you simple?"

Were these earth-shattering moments? No. Did they come from kotei results? Yes, most likely. Do I remember them fondly. ABSOLUTELY.

Hope this was helpful.
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Re: An Abstract Question

Postby barswanian » Tue Apr 07, 2015 8:18 pm

Smaller moments where-in we see the view of a few samurai, once and a while, of the larger/bigger events. I really liked, for example, the letters between samurai as they caught up on events; although I also enjoy some of the bigger battle scenes.

One of the story ideas I've been hoping to see at some point, is some Miya herald down at the wall, reporting on what's happening up north; and the reaction of the Crab on the Wall to the news. The Crab soldier's world is the Wall; of what importance to him is a conflict between the other clans; of some declaration on the newest forms of poetry; of sudden sightings of fantastic creatures of myth and lore in Phoenix lands?

They've got the Wall. But the Kuni/Hida/Kaiu/Hiruma/Toritaka/Yasuki could all react differently to the news. What happens if the Miya reports on sumai matches around the empire instead? What happens to the Crab when they know that the words of the Empress/Emperor are coming from the mouth of a Crab witchhunter? (ala: Hida Kozan?) How does the average Crab's world change when they're actually connected to the high and mighty of the political world? When does the high & mighty politcal world start reflecting some of the Crab's tendencies?
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Re: An Abstract Question

Postby Iagosan » Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:40 am

Doji Azai wrote: What interests you most about the story?
- Do you like seeing big, sweeping meta plots that carry the characters into giant events and changes?
- Do you prefer to see smaller stories, more intimate tales?

Also, if given the choice would you rather see a wide array of characters from your faction given story time (say 10-15) or would you like to narrow down the big stories to a smaller group (3-5)?

“Yes.”

I would prefer both of these, and they need not be mutually exclusive. The story team has made it pretty clear the direction they are taking the story, by taking a few heroes and focusing on them directly. This being said I also like monster of the week episodes. A True Scorpion, A Priest’s Calling, and A Magistrate’s Duty are all good examples of a standalone episode that didn’t get in the way of the story team's other story arc duties.

I agree with Rixy, the War of Dark Fire gave us some really good reads, some of the best arcs being the independent smaller groups of samurai. One example is the Isawa Mizuiko and Isawa Oharu love arc that ended with Mizuhiko turing into a living embodiment of Judgement. The Story Team’s response was “yeah well in the real samurai world, you don’t always get a happy ending”, which was fairly awesome.

Doji Azai wrote: One of the more enjoyable tales that drew me in was the romantic conflict between Doji Hoturi and Bayushi (then Shosuro) Kachiko. You see, that tale was spread out over weekly fictions, flavor text, blurbs in the rulebooks, RPG books (specifically the first Winter Court book), and other places. But no matter what, it always stuck to the narrative. It did not include a wide array of other characters. I think for the Crane it touched on Kakita Toshimoko, Doji Satsume, Doji Kuwanan, and Doji SHizue. For the Scorpion, it connected to Bayushi Shoju, Bayushi Aramoro, Bayushi Dairu, and a few others.

One of the reasons why the War of Dark Fire arc was such a fun read is that Shawn was knocking out a fiction a week, which allowed us to keep track of the various characters and more easily follow what specifically is going on for the each of them. At least for me this is true.

The issue I have with keeping track of individual characters is that there is so much information coming from so many different places. An example I can give is Asako Rikate. I have a particular interest in the Damned and those that watch/counsel/herd the damned. Anyone that was born tainted, and learns about it by jade striking himself is a story that I have to get more of. I have been hoping to see this guy’s story play out for a while, yet only recently did I learn that he joined the remaining Iuchiban worshipers.

If someone didn’t dissect the flavor text and update the wikia, I likely would not know this. It is my personal opinion—which others including yourself may or apparently disagree—that when characters appear in fictions or as an occasional excerpt in the RPG books it is easier to keep track of them then having to sort through fictions, flavor texts of the quarterly expansions, imperial heralds, clan-only letters, seven or more RPG books, etc. I do recognize, however, that there are precisely 9000 different personalities that exist in L5R and it is difficult to give them all the story love they deserve. At least until science figures out how to 3D-print more Shawns and Spookys.

Rixy wrote: I didn't care, so much, for the name recognition. I cared that, for a given story, a character's point of view was well set, defined often by a few actions that came at the end of life. Two instances stick out (forgive the paraphrasing and my inability to remember the exact fictions):

From Mrs. Sauer, when writing of the fall of Kyuden Hida: The berserker who refused, even at the last, to admit he was weeping, trying to convince himself until the end it was only sweat that was in his eyes.

From someone I suspect was Shawn, when writing of the evacuation of one of the Dragon castles: A Yasuki, non-chalantly leaning against a wall having a snack, a dead invader at his feet. The local Mirumoto charged with the evacuation approached him and demanded to know why he still remained and what he thought he was doing. In one of my favorite lines, he replied, "I am eating an apple. Are you simple?"

Were these earth-shattering moments? No. Did they come from kotei results? Yes, most likely. Do I remember them fondly. ABSOLUTELY.

Rixy is expressing in a somewhat more articulate faction (which she has a good habit of) of what I mean by liking monster/character of the week episodes. Seeing Rokugan through the eyes of someone interesting, yet possibly "insignificant" (I am using that word loosely) is usually a fun read.
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Re: An Abstract Question

Postby Hyoton » Fri Apr 17, 2015 2:35 pm

Interest: In L5R I like well defined characters and clear coherent story arcs. I like stories that emphasize strengths and deficiencies of rokugani/clan thinking.

# of characters: No single answer, in practice a mix is probably best
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Re: An Abstract Question

Postby Doji Azai » Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:03 am

As a random note I am making a concerted effort to use a few characters with the intent of developing them while sporadically seeding the story with the other, less prominent individuals.
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Re: An Abstract Question

Postby ACharmingHida » Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:51 am

It's a trope of the RPG for a reason, so I'm a huge fan of the magistrate team type of story. I like the idea of a group of characters (regardless of clan, but obviously including one of my own) who dole out justice in the Empire. I'd be very interested to see bandits and ronin armies, organized crime stories and the like from the perspective of the peace keepers of the Empire.

Granted, I know we have Onyx coming, but it would be cool to see a few Magistrates duking it out with some human baddies for a while too. It'd also be interesting to see how these Magistrates react when it all starts to happen.

I like meta stories too, and I don't mind a wide range of characters as long as there are least a few major protagonists that get the spot light the most often. I eagerly await every single time Renyu is in a fiction, for instance.

I've never cared about love stories, I think the best love story is Reiha and Kuon, she told him she was eagerly awaiting all the demons she'd kill in his honor when he went off to die (though seriously...I'm still mad about that).
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Re: An Abstract Question

Postby Panayjon » Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:11 am

I care more about the intimate stories. I love the learn-to-play sets SO much more than the story that comes with Heart of Darkness. Understandably the latter is on a grander scale so some sacrifices must be made but the interactions between characters in A Matter of Honor (Toritaka being smug, Clan champions having a friendly chat) and Currency of War (Crane murdering a Mantis, then burning the whole village) are amazing. The IA fiction in which we have a ghost story and follow some nobody Lion is the best. Crane and Scorpion Champions having 'tea'. Great, amazing stories.

Also, no joke. I am fascinated with Hida Zaiberu. I'm sure he was made as a joke but I would love to explore 'why is he a drunkard'. What made him that way? Is he dulling the pain of some loss? Is he just an a-hole? He could have an arc, we could see the redemption of this unkempt and belligerent samurai. Everyone loves a guy who picks himself up from the dirt.
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Re: An Abstract Question

Postby Hida Mu Gen-rou » Thu Apr 23, 2015 12:59 pm

I like stories with a definite end. Akio's group from the Death at Koten was nice as we know what happened to everyone in the group. Hida Nichie took a student for her style but we haven't heard what happened to them, or Hida Ruri. Stories that explain or touch on the flavor text people have I think would be interesting.
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Re: An Abstract Question

Postby Iagosan » Fri Apr 24, 2015 1:35 am

Hida Mu Gen-rou wrote:I like stories with a definite end. Akio's group from the Death at Koten was nice as we know what happened to everyone in the group. Hida Nichie took a student for her style but we haven't heard what happened to them, or Hida Ruri. Stories that explain or touch on the flavor text people have I think would be interesting.


The stories of the surviving members of the Gempukku Group aren't necessarily over. When the black scroll was opened and Fu Leng got his powers back, he cursed everyone in the room. Or at least this was highly suggested in the fiction.

This being said everyone has one way or the other come up with a shit-end:

• The Lion and Mantis got sucked into the Tao of Fu Fu.
• Kakita Hiedo is basically insane, and is the Keeper of Obsidion (which unless it is in one of the RPG books I have no idea how this affects anything).
• Kurumi is a walking symbol of shame, whom may or may not go to Trader's Grove after the Crab finish with her (of course with the Mantis invasion of Kyuden Bayushi, this changes the situation).
• Isawa Kyoko is still kicking and has a daughter, who could prove to be important. From what I can remember her shit-fate is that she could never love anyone again, her daughter included.
• Mirumoto Ichizo died during the Pan-Ku fiasco, basically telling Noburo to stop being an ass-hat and to end his squabble with the Crab/Renyu (whom the story team separated for the time being, but yeah Noburo still needs that rock to the cock). Ichizo, although highly respected by those close to him, pretty much lived in shame until the day he died.
• Hiruma Akio joined the Jade Legion, and is the only one that left the situation with honor, and we haven't seen her since. The last you see of her Diago cures her of her concussion/nausea which the previous fiction attributed to Sumasu absorbing the power within the Tao of Fu Leng. She is the only one that has not [yet] met a grizzly, or otherwise unpleasant fate. Of course as I have said before, I would prefer she continue to give Jigoku the big middle finger with whatever life she ends up with.
• Utaku Kohana hasn't been mentioned after Goddess, Part 4. She did not appear in Aftermath, so I don't know what if anything has happened to her.
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