Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
slap me and kiss me
Apr 1, 2008

You best protect ya neck


Kavak posted:

FATAL & Friends 2016: is this book is a hate crime

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS


Back when True Blood was on the air, I remember you'd get a subset of people making the exact same argument. That because the show said that vampires were a metaphor for gay civil rights, then anyone who thought the metaphor was bad was homophobic and/or pro-gaybashing.

For those who haven't seen it, nearly every vampire who was pro-"mainstreaming" (i.e. equal rights) was shown to only pay lip service to it in public, was totally willing to murder people and drink real blood, and many of them were just using it as a smokescreen to try to take over human society. As a metaphor, it was pretty much the wet dream of the people who use the phrase "the gay agenda" non-ironically. Shallow reading knows no bounds, it seems.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Even the "Good Vampire" Bill was a raging dickhead. I remember when HBO was hyping the series and was airing the same 2-3 previews and interviews that the use of "Come out of the Coffin" and "We're modeling this on the Gay experience" was rather tone deaf, then yeah - when it turns out almost every vampire was a murderous rear end in a top hat....

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Kurieg posted:

Making Beasts a stand in for the LGBT community lends credence to their detractors because even if their actions are completely outside their control the argument is still "Gays are unfairly inflicting their beliefs and lifestyle upon young children".

Desiden posted:

Back when True Blood was on the air, I remember you'd get a subset of people making the exact same argument. That because the show said that vampires were a metaphor for gay civil rights, then anyone who thought the metaphor was bad was homophobic and/or pro-gaybashing.

For those who haven't seen it, nearly every vampire who was pro-"mainstreaming" (i.e. equal rights) was shown to only pay lip service to it in public, was totally willing to murder people and drink real blood, and many of them were just using it as a smokescreen to try to take over human society. As a metaphor, it was pretty much the wet dream of the people who use the phrase "the gay agenda" non-ironically.
I acknowledge that Nancy is a dumb gimmick poster, but sometimes dumb people provide useful illustrations.

Kurieg's analysis is correct if we follow the idea of Beasts as Queer metaphor to its logical conclusion. But it's not worth the bother, because equating Beastness with Queerness is a rhetorical trick: put a label reading "Queer" on an evil character, then say "Maybe you're the real bigot, ever think about that?"

It's the same trick Milo Yiannopoulos uses every time he plays up his homosexuality and his fetish for black men, thinking that this confronts his imaginary SJW enemies with an impossible conundrum. Reactionaries fail to empathize with their opponents, and far from rejecting "identity politics," they see everyone in terms of crude labels. Of course, no progressive demands admiration for Ernst Rohm because he was gay.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





It is however appropriate to acknowledge that Beast is monstrously homophobic and it is appropriate for any review to delve into why Beast is homophobic, as Kurieg is doing.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

I'm not sure if "homophobic" is quite the right word, because I'm 100% sure Beast was written with good intentions.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

Desiden posted:

Back when True Blood was on the air, I remember you'd get a subset of people making the exact same argument. That because the show said that vampires were a metaphor for gay civil rights, then anyone who thought the metaphor was bad was homophobic and/or pro-gaybashing.

For those who haven't seen it, nearly every vampire who was pro-"mainstreaming" (i.e. equal rights) was shown to only pay lip service to it in public, was totally willing to murder people and drink real blood, and many of them were just using it as a smokescreen to try to take over human society. As a metaphor, it was pretty much the wet dream of the people who use the phrase "the gay agenda" non-ironically. Shallow reading knows no bounds, it seems.

Halloween Jack posted:

I acknowledge that Nancy is a dumb gimmick poster, but sometimes dumb people provide useful illustrations.

Kurieg's analysis is correct if we follow the idea of Beasts as Queer metaphor to its logical conclusion. But it's not worth the bother, because equating Beastness with Queerness is a rhetorical trick: put a label reading "Queer" on an evil character, then say "Maybe you're the real bigot, ever think about that?"

It's the same trick Milo Yiannopoulos uses every time he plays up his homosexuality and his fetish for black men, thinking that this confronts his imaginary SJW enemies with an impossible conundrum. Reactionaries fail to empathize with their opponents, and far from rejecting "identity politics," they see everyone in terms of crude labels. Of course, no progressive demands admiration for Ernst Rohm because he was gay.

This is one of the reasons why I began to dislike immensely the use of goblins/orcs/etc as stand-ins for real-world cultures, even if the author is trying to make them non-evil or "humans/elves/etc are the real assholes!" Cuz even in games like Shadowrun, it's an objective fact of the world that orcs are dumber than humans, which would make the racists right and the liberals in denial of reality.

It also carries the implication that given how orcs are in the popular imagination that you're saying that "ethnic group X" reminds you of this:





Might be an odd thing to bring up out of the blue, but very recently I saw yet another dude on some Savage Worlds forums trying to do a "monstrous races are Native Americans and humans are Western European colonists," completely unrelated to when I first called out a completely unrelated incident on Facebook.

This is the reason why real-world allegories are such a minefield to maneuver. No matter the form it takes, people never learn...:sigh:

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 18:41 on Oct 3, 2016

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


Rand Brittain posted:

I'm not sure if "homophobic" is quite the right word, because I'm 100% sure Beast was written with good intentions.

It was written with good intentions but the intended reading requires you to be 100% on board with the 'The LGBT can do no wrong, Gamergate and the Radical Right are literal subhuman scum who have given up the right to live' mindset.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Rather than using them as a direct stand-in I generally prefer the idea that the perception of the Always Evil Orc is basically propaganda that comes of having decades or centuries of on and off conflict. So orcs have this image of elves especially as monstrous, genocidal lunatics who slaughter orcish children in their debased ceremonies the same way elves talk about how savage and brutal the 'idiot' orc is. More an allegorical comparison to the way people who have had long-term conflict develop demeaning stereotypes and cultural tropes than a stand-in for a real-world culture directly.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Rand Brittain posted:

I'm not sure if "homophobic" is quite the right word, because I'm 100% sure Beast was written with good intentions.
Yeah and Griffith claimed he didn't intend to The Birth of a Nation horribly racist, but hey we have a finished product that's horribly racist.

Serf
May 5, 2011




Kurieg posted:

It was written with good intentions but the intended reading requires you to be 100% on board with the 'The LGBT can do no wrong, Gamergate and the Radical Right are literal subhuman scum who have given up the right to live' mindset.

Well they got this part right at least.

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case




Your enemies, no matter how hateful, are still humans. Even if they deny the essential humanity of their targets, they are human with all the attendant human rights and to act otherwise is to do yourself a terrible disservice.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Rand Brittain posted:

I'm not sure if "homophobic" is quite the right word, because I'm 100% sure Beast was written with good intentions.
With or without knowing the author's intentions, I have to agree that Beast is homophobic. But you can tell (relying only on the text) that it's homophobic by accident--the author is clearly on the side of Beasts as a scourge punishing society for its sins. So the book ends up reflecting the paranoid fantasies of reactionaries who imagine that a SJW conspiracy is coming for them.

(This is probably not the best counterpoint I could come up with, but just off the cuff: Compare kill puppies for satan, where the protagonists don't reflect the Satanic Panic, they're just disgusting losers.)

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





DAD LOST MY IPOD posted:

Your enemies, no matter how hateful, are still humans. Even if they deny the essential humanity of their targets, they are human with all the attendant human rights and to act otherwise is to do yourself a terrible disservice.
Also denying them that humanity removes responsibility. They are humans who chose to be shitheads or were at the very least molded into shitheads by their environment.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Rand Brittain posted:

I'm not sure if "homophobic" is quite the right word, because I'm 100% sure Beast was written with good intentions.

I mean, maybe years ago it would've been nice to come up with a word or words for better examining things as "accidentally gay-bashing/racist/misogynistic", but I think it's pretty firmly established now that "homophobic" or "racist" are everyone's go-to regardless of context. We liberal commie SJW scum have allowed ourselves to be mired on this particular battlefield where assholes whine "I'm not literally afraid of gays/I don't literally hate women, therefore no u."

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

That Old Tree posted:

I mean, maybe years ago it would've been nice to come up with a word or words for better examining things as "accidentally gay-bashing/racist/misogynistic", but I think it's pretty firmly established now that "homophobic" or "racist" are everyone's go-to regardless of context. We liberal commie SJW scum have allowed ourselves to be mired on this particular battlefield where assholes whine "I'm not literally afraid of gays/I don't literally hate women, therefore no u."

I suppose.

I guess mostly I want to bang the "it's more complicated than that" drum because some day I want to actually untangle the process that led to what we got.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


Rand Brittain posted:

I suppose.

I guess mostly I want to bang the "it's more complicated than that" drum because some day I want to actually untangle the process that led to what we got.

Well the playtest document had Heroes smashing beer cans on their heads and chestbumping over popping their beast cherry. And this was back when Heroes were created by a Beast doing something unspeakable to a weak mind. Of course there seemed to be some confusion early on in Beast's development that Integrity was not morality. Cause Matt's initial defense of the idea was that Heroes were all bad people because they had to have low integrity. When you can get low integrity from being addicted to drugs or just being around the supernatural too much.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


If you're going to create something as a metaphor for a real-world issue you should probably have something to say or examine regarding that issue. Otherwise, the chance that you're just wanking with your words is extremely high.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Rand Brittain posted:

I'm not sure if "homophobic" is quite the right word, because I'm 100% sure Beast was written with good intentions.

The road to hell is paved with bad WoD books.

Libertad! posted:

It also carries the implication that given how orcs are in the popular imagination that you're saying that "ethnic group X" reminds you of this:


Germans, man.

Night10194 posted:

Rather than using them as a direct stand-in I generally prefer the idea that the perception of the Always Evil Orc is basically propaganda that comes of having decades or centuries of on and off conflict. So orcs have this image of elves especially as monstrous, genocidal lunatics who slaughter orcish children in their debased ceremonies the same way elves talk about how savage and brutal the 'idiot' orc is. More an allegorical comparison to the way people who have had long-term conflict develop demeaning stereotypes and cultural tropes than a stand-in for a real-world culture directly.

I good play on this is in Tenra Bansho Zero, where the human lords and priesthood have spend several generations to paint Oni (essentially native Americans with horns and funky tattoos) as evil, monstrous sub-humans that will kill and/or eat you, because that's what monsters do. All because humanity's only real energy source isn't called "Heart Engine" for nothing.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 19:49 on Oct 3, 2016

Spark That Bled
Jan 29, 2010

Hungry for responsibility. Horny for teamwork.

And ready to
BUST A NUT
up in this job!

Skills include:
EIGHT-FOOT VERTICAL LEAP


That Old Tree posted:

I mean, maybe years ago it would've been nice to come up with a word or words for better examining things as "accidentally gay-bashing/racist/misogynistic", but I think it's pretty firmly established now that "homophobic" or "racist" are everyone's go-to regardless of context. We liberal commie SJW scum have allowed ourselves to be mired on this particular battlefield where assholes whine "I'm not literally afraid of gays/I don't literally hate women, therefore no u."

I'd say that there isn't going to be a way to protect this kind of language from being co-opted by jerks, without screwing with language itself.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Also honestly given their absolute hatefulness and clear inability to understand morality I wouldn't want the people behind beast to be participating in any real effort to move civil rights and social perceptions forward anyways.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


Kurieg posted:

Also worth noting that Beasts "Feed" at the moment of catharsis when someone gives up and acknowledges that the Beast is right about them and has the right to dictate the terms of their life.

Why are Heroes the stand in for internet trolls again?

Personally, that first sentence I quoted sounds like a pretty good description for how a lot of SJWs on Tumblr act and what they desire.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Hey, you know what would improve this thread?

Literally any other topic.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Doresh posted:

I good play on this is in Tenra Bansho Zero, where the human lords and priesthood have spend several generations to paint Oni (essentially native Americans with horns and funky tattoos) as evil, monstrous sub-humans that will kill and/or eat you, because that's what monsters do. All because humanity's only real energy source isn't called "Heart Engine" for nothing.

Well, they're more Ainu than indigenous Americans, though they can potentially be a metaphor for any native people who were decimated for reasons far less on the nose than their hearts being made of uranium. I don't know if it's a great example, but it's at least written and justified clearly. In fact, a driving player character in a game I ran was a runaway noble looking to try and destroy as many heart engines as she could to avenge the oni her father had slaughtered.

Bedlamdan
Apr 25, 2008


Terrible Opinions posted:

Also honestly given their absolute hatefulness and clear inability to understand morality I wouldn't want the people behind beast to be participating in any real effort to move civil rights and social perceptions forward anyways.

People with views just like the ones in Beast are among the most strident voices on the Internet for progressivism.

But usually they're also typically focused on progressivism as it relates to nerd poo poo that nobody normal would ever be affected by, like Steven Universe or the Persona videogames or whatever the gently caress.

This is Beast's audience, I think.

Bedlamdan fucked around with this message at 23:44 on Oct 3, 2016

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Legend of the Five Rings First Edition

Way of the Phoenix: Oh you wonder why

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Ah, I see you have the errata'd later printing of the book. In the original 1st printing, Asako Ingen was 5 points, made you considered 1 School Rank higher when using riddles, and... gave a flat 20% bonus to insight. That's right, for 5 points you would be... oh... an effective Rank 3 Asako Henshin to start. At least.

And somebody nodded and said "That sounds fine." and let it go to print.


(20%+ insight? holyyyyy)

Back to your irregularly scheduled L5R writeup!


Cat is like "gently caress these wizard weirdos."

We're now in the miscellaneous part of the book. First, the Oracles. We've heard of these before, but what are they? Legend has it that they were created when the Kami descended to the Earth, but there's also legends of other inhabitants before the coming of humans, like the Naga or the dragons. Phoenix studies say that the lands of the dragons (also the heavens where Lady Sun and Lord Moon live) are a vast paradise where othey mythical creatures like the Ki-Rin live. The dragons were fascinated by humanity and offered gifts to some of them, even taking them to their enchanted realm, but Lady Sun and Lord Moon grew jealous of their attention and ended up lifting the Heavens away from Rokugan's firmament. The dragons were forced to choose between taking away those mortals they loved or remaining in the earth as mortals. They instead left parts of themselves behind, choosing each one individual to serve as their voice in this world. These are the Oracles: chosen to bear part of a dragon's soul, with the gift of sight into the Celestial Heavens and thus oracular power. Even Shinsei himself is said to have sought the Oracle of Earth in defense of the Empire. However, there is still an argument on the existence of the Dark Oracles, shadow counterparts of the Oracles of Light. Not much is known about these, except that they have a connection to their Light opposite and delight in tormenting each other.

There's little information on how Oracles designate their successors. It appears that they forget any previous mortal existence, though there are records of people recognizing one of the Oracles as a long-lost family member. Whether this amnesia is the result of spiritual enlightenment or something else is unknown, but what is known is that the Oracles no longer maintain contact with the human world except as bringers of prophecy. Each one seems to live far beyond mortal lifetimes, with consistent records of an Oracle's description stretching for up to five hundred years. It is certain, however, that they retain the knowledge of their previous Oracle incarnations throughout each succession. They are absurdly powerful physically and spiritually, and their only real limitation is their genuine disinterest in affecting the governance of the Empire. They trade their knowledge of the future for stories of intrigue, war and heroism, and can rarely be found outside their hideaways. It's not unusual for an entire generation to go without an Oracle's contact. They aren't motivated by wrath or by compassion, but one Isawa researcher wrote that he saw an Oracle unmake an Unicorn hunter for claiming he would hunt down dragons for sport, to the point that the hunter's family did not remember his existence, and not even the researcher could remember his name. The homes of the Oracles change as much as them: Isawa Kaede visited the Oracle of Air in a flying palace that moved with the clouds, the Oracle of Fire lives inside the Mountain of Sleeping Thunder in lava, the Oracle of Water lives in a sleeping Naga city, the Oracle of Earth lives in a tall tower in the Twilight Mountains and the Oracle of Void (if it exists at all, there are no records of it for the last 300 years) is thought to live in Jigoku or in the border between this world or the other.

Sidetracking to Isawa's Last Wish! Remember how Asako's son, Sagoten, was to marry Isawa's daughter Akiko? And how a great magical work was being made as their wedding gift? This was Isawa's Last Wish, said to be the greatest supernatural achievement of all time, and the few who have seen it can only say that it is the closest thing to perfection they've ever witnessed. It can take any form depending on the disposition of the viewer. Now, when the Isawa and Asako split, the Emperor Hantei declared the marriage between Sagoten and Akiko void, and that neither family was worthy of Isawa's last wish. The uncompleted item was hidden in a small shrine in the Isawa mountains, and for a time this was enough until the Isawa and the Asako began feuding on who would control the shrine. Both families agreed that the unfinished artifact was dangerous, but Hantei was angered by the petty squabbling and ended up giving the Shiba the role of protectors of the shrine. But a few months ago, reports made reference to 'strange occurrences' involving the item (involving a series of brutal elemental mishaps and several deaths :gonk:) The artifact was meant to unite the Isawa and Asako, but its crafters did not consider the possibility that a construct capable of reacting to external stimuli could learn to teach itself. The time spent in the presence of its creators affected it: it learned humanity and empathy, but also how to kill, destroy and wither life. Its makers made the terrible error of trapping hundreds of kami in the artifact, driving them mad, and over the centuries they have become sponges for arcane knowledge and human emotions. When someone looked into it, their lives were laid open for the deranged kami to absorb, and now possessing the secrets of the Asako and the prowess of the Isawa the artifact is attempting to reach out to those outside the Clan. When the Emperor realized this he issued two orders: only Shiba bushi would ever be allowed to approach the device again, and it would be deconstructed at once. Those accidents and deaths can be attributed to the item defending itself from its former protectors. There's been a stalemate for the last few months, and the latest reports to the Emperor are bleak: the Phoenix can't destroy Isawa's Last Wish without fighting it, but that means losing more of their knowledge to it, and if it lashed out it could kill thousands. Even the most promising shugenja would fall in time, their knowledge and memories absorbed. The Phoenix have created an abomination they can't control. :ohdear:

So, the lands of the Phoenix! They are located in the far northeastern ends of the Empire, and thus spared much of Rokugan's bloody conflicts. There's a magical aura around the area, an atmosphere that is anathema to violence. The territory is dotted with holy shrines and monasteries, and there is an unspoken agreement among Rokugani not to wage battles in Phoenix lands that has held for centuries. The Isawa Woodlands are among the most magical and least known areas in the Empire, where the Isawa conduct their research in privacy. The forest is considered off-limits to those not of the Phoenix. The tree kami are very powerful and the Isawa use their wood for scroll paper, after offering the appropriate prayers to every tree they cut down lest it curses them with bad luck. Most paths in the woodlands are hidden and require a guide to navigate them, with forest kami hiding the larger roads from the Isawa palace to Shiro Asako and Ajiroi Oku Shiro unless travelers have a Phoenix Clan member with them. Shugenja often meditate among the trees, and Isawa tradition holds that those preparing for their gempukku spend at least one night alone in the woods to contemplate the universe and their place within it. Aside from the Isawa and the spirits, there's also a large contingent of kenku in the forest, who have developed a strong rapport with the local humans. Heimin make a living as hunters and woodcutters: they know many secrets about the land they live in, both the kenku and the shugenja hold them in high regard and they are better treated than almost any other peasant group in Rokugan. Kyuden Isawa lies east of the forest, along the shore of the great eastern sea. Its walls are pitfully small and hopelessly inadequate against military assault, but protective runes, mighty spells and bound spirits defend the Phoenix home. Last time the Isawa palace was attacked was because they unwittingly harbored the killer of Osano-Wo, and his Lion-born son came for justice. He screamed for his father to aid him in battle and the castle gates were thrown open by a great blast of lightning, and upon this display of divine intervention the Isawa turned the killer over immediately. Beneath the castle lies its great library, the largest collection of magical knowledge in Rokugan, with every spell invoked or cast in the Empire making its way here for Isawa study and cataloguing. The library wards are even stronger than those of the castle above it. Most of the Isawa peasantry lives along the coastline, living as fishermen and merchants, and since they live in such isolation they welcome materials and news from the rest of the Empire. They are hard-working and friendly. There are also another three Isawa castles with smaller libraries that the family uses to discuss private matters and impress foreign courtiers. The Shiba castle lies in the plains south of the Isawa territory, through which any invaders have to pass to attack the Clan. The rich fields and open plains of the Shiba lands are much like any other place in Rokugan, and rather than holy shrines and wandering shugenja they are dotted with checkpoints, military barracks and the occasional marching formation. The number of Phoenix bushi is small but they make their presence felt as much as in any Lion or Crab province: they're well behaved and the peasantry is comforted by their protection. The Phoenix winters are bitter, but the Shiba fields are among the most fertile in the Empire and trade flourishes between them and their Crane allies. The castle itself is on a swath of land between the Isawa forest and the sea, a seemingly haphazard affair of unconnected courtyards, keeps and bastions, but the bushi school within teaches its students well and it only takes a small contingent of soldiers to protect the approach to the Isawa lands. Some suggest the layout of the castle isn't haphazard at all, but following some mysterious, arcane pattern. The only Kaiu engineer to ever visit the palace went insane soon after leaving. :v: The Asako live in the mountains, both in the eastern spurs of the Great Northern Mountains and throughout the smaller range of the Mountains of Regret. The Asako territories have a similar atmosphere to the Dragon territories: beautiful, lonely and mysterious. There are shrines and holy sites in the mountains, from the shrine to Uikku to secret Gisei Toshi itself. Pilgrims often comment on the serenity of the landscape, blemished only by the odd in or Asako palace. Winters in the mountains are particularly beautiful and the Emperor sometimes holds Winter Court at an Asako estate. Though technically outside the Clan land, many nearby shrines are cared for and protected by them. No other major Clan is nearby, so the Phoenix are the only ones who can tend to them, but the official political borders are never changed to reflect this - it wouldn't do to have the peaceful Phoenix controlling more territory than, say, the Lion. The monks that tend to the shrines just shrug and carry on as they have for hundreds of years. The Asako also have holdings spread out between the other Phoenix territories, but none on the inner borders. Thus, no Asako village or town ever has to contend with other Clans. Some say that this was one of Asako's requests, others say that this is how the Phoenix protects the militarily weak Asako, but either way the family has managed to remain disregarded for almost a thousand years, which is how they like it. Their largest holding is their palace, which is still small compared to the Shiba and Isawa palaces. It's little more than a defensible mountain fortress, and although beautiful the Asako rarely share it with others, prefering to hold court in their castles to the south. For social gatherings, they prefer Gisu Castle, overlooking the Shrine of the Ki-Rin. The most interesting site in Asako lands is a tiny village, Doro Owari Mura, which takes in very few visitors. It is self-sufficient with low-profile trade with the Isawa and Mantis Clan merchants, and no one has any reason to go there. It is where the Fushihai live, and few of them ever leave the village. Even those who do go only to the Great Library in Kyuden Isawa to pass on instructions to the Asako there before returning. No one has ever visited the Road's End Village and returned with knowledge of its true purpose: in fact, most remember nothing, or pleasant recollections of an uneventful stay at most.


tiny head

Spell research! Aw yis, time to get the caster supremacy on. Spell research happens when a shugenja wants a new effect that no other known spell really matches. When this happens, the first instinct is to go to the Clan's libraries for research. The information each library covers varies from Clan to Clan: the Kuni favor Earth-based magics to fight the Shadowlands, the Soshi favor information gathering through Air magic and so on. Of course, it is necessary to obtain permission from the head of the school before using their facilities. Normally this head is the family daimyo, though they often delegate this responsibility to someone more pedagogically inclined. If the family daimyo is not the school head, permission must be obtained from both before proceeding. Assuming the Clan sponsors the research, the researcher works under their auspices: this means the Clan owns the spell, and this may result in a Secret Spell if the Clan refuses to share it. The researcher's notes are customarily left in the school's libraries regardless of the project's outcome. Those who went to another Clan's school have a trickier time, depending on inter-Clan relations. Friendly Clans have less of a trouble and the resulting spells are customarily acquired both by the student's school and their home school, but it will be very difficult to obtain permission from Clan elders to use their facilities when both Clans are at each other's throats. Ronin shugenja and those disgraced in their school have an ever tougher time, though it is not strictly impossible to develop a spell without a research library. New graduates of a school are hardly ever granted permission for research due to their inexperience (Rank 3+ shugenja are usually granted permission, Rank 2 on occasion).

As for the rules: the player must write the spell's effect in detail, and the GM may reject it if the description is less than 200 words long. It should include information on what core RPG spells it resembles the most, what element is the most appropriate and how the shugenja will get the relevant kami's attention, the target or area of effect, whether it effects a permanent change or lasts for a period of time, and so on. The description should also include what Raises do for the spell. The GM can take as long as they want to evaluate the 'grant proposal' (at least one game session) and can require changes to the spell, reject it completely or accept it as written. The GM determines the spell's TN, casting time, duration, mastery level and concentration depending on the effect wanted. If the resulting mastery level is beyond the shugenja's Ring + School Rank, the spell is beyond their capacity and they must try again with a less-powered proposal. Spell research takes at least one month of dedicated study with no traveling, adventuring or other significant duties. To research a spell, roll Ring + School Rank against the spell's Mastery Level x 10. There is a chart with things that modify the TN: having the element as a school's favored element lowers it, for instance (and Isawa shugenja always get this bonus since their school teaches all elements), while being a ronin or otherwise not allowed to use a research library raises it considerably. Increasing the research time also lowers it, as well as knowing several spells on that element or giving the spell an unusual requirement like requiring full sunlight to cast or a dram of oni blood and such. There are also lists on what spells of a given element should be able to do (it'll be much harder to heal things with Fire, if even possible), as well as how to figure out Mastery levels and ultimate TNs. Small modifications to a spell don't go through all of this, they're just Raises to use on a spell that already exists. Once a spell is successfully researched, it is traditional to write up three copies and give them to the school: one is ceremonially returned to the researcher, and this ceremony usually carries a small Glory bonus, especially if the head of school is suitably impressed and invites important functionaries to witness it. No reputable school accepts maho research, of course.

The Tao of Shinsei! Shiba's record of the lessons of Shinsei grew from that first night as he followed the monk thorugh the countryside, taking him to the palaces of each Kami to gather the Seven Thunders. As they passed through villages, Shinsei would stop and converse with the peasants, and from these conversations the Tao was born. When they reached the end of their journey in the city of Isawa, Shinsei commanded Shiba to lay down his pen: the text was finished and forever would remain there. The Isawa that remained with Shiba when the Thunders left argued for months on the text, some calling its wisdom 'blasphemous' to the religion of the Fortunres. After much debate, it was decided that the Phoenix would begin a detailed study of the Tao, with the intention of finding its faults, but they were challenged to find any fault with the book and eventually began to find ways to integrate the Tao with their own religion. However, much of the research into the Tao in the Isawa library is fairly recent because of a fire that swept through Gisei Toshi seven hundred years ago, and even the original manuscript was nearly destroyed, only saved by the sacrifice of many Asako. After the fire, the greatest of the Asako librarians dedicated the rest of their lives to finding scraps of the Tao in other scrolls, discovering quoted material and questioning those who had studied its mysteries, and they have recovered a great deal of what was lost.

Some 30 years after the war with Fu Leng, a strange occurrence came to the attention of the Council. By now, only one of the original Isawa siblings remained. On a rolling plain, a young boy had been found by the villagers. No older than four, he was playing on a stream that arose from a nearby black boulder, with no one anywhere to be found. Deciding that he had been abandoned, the peasants took him to their village and searched for his parents to no avail: no one was missing a little boy in miles. The child was unusual, with green-gold eyes, and he could speak clearly. At the age of four, completely untutored in the Tao, he could speak verse and quote text. At the time, peasants in Rokugan were not even fully aware of the existence of the Tao of Shinsei, much less able to recite it or teach it to a four year old. When the Council was informed, the boy was brought to Kyuden Isawa and the Asako questioned him. In a deep passage of the Tao, the Emperor is talking about the nine children of Sun and Moon but Shinsei corrects him saying that they were ten, and that Hantei would never know his youngest brother. The standard interpretation of this enigmatic passage was that this tenth 'child' was humanity, but when the boy was discovered it created a frenzy: could he be the Tenth Kami? He was kept at Kyuden Isawa and named Uikku, a name that means 'gift'. As he grew it became clear that his mind was weak and that he had been touched by the kami, and no magic could heal the distant view in his eyes and no scholar could deal with his severe autism. In time he began to speak of things other than the Tao, of futures and enigmas that he did not pretend to understand. At the command of the Master of Void his words were written down and kept, and soon the Asako realized he was speaking prophecy and solving 'gaps' in the Tao itself. Uikku never 'awoke' but still he became one of the foremost figures in Rokugani religion and wisdom, with his prophecies and clarifications of the Tao taken as truth as much as if Shinsei himself had spoken them. He died at the age of 18 and mourned as an Isawa, and a shrine to his honor with the words of his final prophecy was erected around the stream where he was found.

Shinseism! First, Shinsei said, there was nothing. From nothing came duality and from duality came the Five Rings, and everything is part of their cycle. To the Brotherhood of Shinsei, distinctions between Rings are an illusion: they are the energy of the universe given form, and thus everything arises from nothing and eventually returns to the Void. To obtain enlightenment and free yourself from the endless cycle of rebirth, Shinsei said that you must overcome your perceptions and realize the fundamental nothingness of the universe. The world is a place of illusions and suffering, and seeing beyond them and embracing the Five Rings leads to oneness with eternity.

Shinsei's teaching comprises more than just one conversation with the Hantei Emperor. As word of their conversation spread, it attracted curious samurai from across Rokugan, and many begged him to become their sensei. Before leaving for the Shadowlands, he held a brief number of lectures on his philosophy. For four nights, he sat under a pine tree to lecture, and each of these lectures was written down by his students. Over the years different accounts have appeared, sometimes decades after the fact, making it difficult to determine exactly which teachings were his, and the practice used by some monks of assuming the name of previous masters when writing their own texts doesn't help. A sutra is an extrapolation of the teachings of of the Tao. For instance, the Diamond Sutra central to the Shingon sect expands on the Tao, and the sect's founder claimed to have received it 'from Shinsei himself' but some believe that he wrote it on his own, which doesn't stop people from studying the Diamond Sutra. Skeptics say that if Shinsei did all the talking attributed to him by his followers, Fu Leng would have taken Rokugan without a fight. :v:

When Shinsei died in the Shadowlands (and some remain unconvinced that he did) he left behind no successor or passed on the mantle of leadership, perhaps to prevent a dynasty of teachers from arising. As legend has it, on the morning he and the Seven Thunders departed he delivered his final lecture, called the Sermon on the Path of Purification, which laid out the rules for monastic life. He recommended that his followers wandered Rokugan and spread the message, and emphasized the need for frequent meetings to deliberate on communal issues. At first, the Brotherhood of Shinsei was disorganized and scattered, and for many years his followers wandered the countryside as mendicants, gathering together every few years at Shinsei no Sumai Mura, the Holy Home Village. These meetings would shape the spread of Shinseism in the following centuries, taking up doctrinal and organizational issues and giving shape to the major sects. Each of these sects has attained recognition through one of these councils. Eventually, monks started to settle around the village, excepting some Agasha mystics that retreated to their mountains, only to return fifty years later with astounding spiritual attainments that encouraged others to retreat as well. The rules laid down in the Path of Purification were amended and new rules governing monasteries were instituted. Members of a monastery are organized in a loose hierarchy. Positions are supposed to be chosen on merit, but sometimes they just go to former members of the samurai clases. All members of a monastery wear a colored over-robe of their sect. Above the initiates there are rishi (Rank 1-2) and above these are sozu supervisors, both of which wear a black over-robe. Sojo (Rank 4) head a monastery and wear a purple over-robe, while Dai-sojo (Rank 5) wear red robes and oversee several monasteries for their sect leaders.

Over the centuries, new forms of Shinseism appeared, and while the Brotherhood initially tried to enforce doctrinal purity and adherence to the five 'canon' sutras this did not stop monks from coming up with their own interpretations and attracting followers, and the matter was eventually dropped. The first of this divisions came from a monk named Basso and his 'lost' Diamond Sutra, an esoteric interpretation of the Lotus Sutra that Basso stressed over the other teachings of Shinsei. Another sect, Shintao focuses more on meditation than the study of Shinsei's teachings: its masters note that Shinsei didn't have the benefit of the Tao of Shinsei to achieve enlightenment. Followers eschew the traditional rules of the Path of Purification. A subsect, Rinzai, focuses on enigmatic riddles called koan, designed to shatter the student's perceptual framework. These and many other sects have different practices and strange kinds of magic: for instance Shingon is an enigma even to the Dragon, and it teaches advanced meditation techniques said to free the mind of all ilusion. But no matter what sect a monk belongs to, each monastery follows down the rules set down by Shinsei in the Path of Purification. Monks do not eat meat, avoid violence and killing for any reason, remain celibate, avoid glutony and drunkenness, do not defile holy places and do not commit murder or rape. The teachings of Shinsei advocate the Eight Petals of the Lotus: right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration. This makes it hard for a monk to lie, cheat or steal. The Brotherhood isn't perfect, of course. They are forbidden from engaging in political activities but some monasteries have become politically powerful. Shinsei shunned the accumulation of wealth but some monasteries use a loophole to enrich themselves while keeping individual members poor, and while monastic rules prevent the continuation of social distinctions in the community these have become a problem from time to time. A few monks continue to live as wanderers, coming and going as they please, staying at monasteries for shelter and living from begging from lay people.

What was that, you wanted rules for monks? Wait for Way of Shinsei, sucker.

Strangely for the Phoenix clan book, there's only two nemuranai. Ofushikai is the ancestral sword of the Phoenix, created for Shiba by his wife, Tsamaru, as a gift on the day of their son's birth. When held by the appropriate wielder, they receive the ability to survive in the ocean without any source of air. At any time, the chosen wielder can summon it no matter the distance, and by spending a Void point all combat in a 20 feet radius stops, leaving all those affected unable to attack, cast offensive spells or use aggressive techniques. The Phoenix Clan Armor is kept by the Council and entrusted to the Champion when the Clan is forced into war. It was forged in the fires of Sleeping Thunder Mountain by an ancient Dragon Clan Champion (!) Once worn, it can only be removed by the owner, and it fits perfectly to the proportions of the chosen wearer. When in use, it radiates a 10 feet aura into which no spells can be cast. The wearer can allow individual spells inside for beneficial purposes, though. It also gives the user the ability to Sense Void as if cast by an Ishiken of the same rank, once per day.

Next: meet the Imperials!

Traveller fucked around with this message at 07:13 on Oct 4, 2016

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


...so the Phoenix accidentally made a sentient and insane hivemind artifact that learns from anyone who tries to destroy it? Eventually either figuring out how to negate their attacks or copy them against future aggressors? Everything about the creation of this thing, from the basic components to everything that follows, sounds like a checklist for how to gently caress up with magic. :v:

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

"We got you a wedding present. It's a thousand screaming kami."

Prism
Dec 22, 2007

yospos


Bieeardo posted:

"We got you a wedding present. It's a thousand screaming kami."

"You shouldn't have. No, really, you shouldn't have."

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


PurpleXVI posted:

...so the Phoenix accidentally made a sentient and insane hivemind artifact that learns from anyone who tries to destroy it? Eventually either figuring out how to negate their attacks or copy them against future aggressors? Everything about the creation of this thing, from the basic components to everything that follows, sounds like a checklist for how to gently caress up with magic. :v:

Well, it goes on to spawn the Children of the Last Wish, magical spirits described as "... tiny, beautiful samurai women dressed in form-fitting armor..." which is probably the most anime thing that L5R ever got.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



PurpleXVI posted:

...so the Phoenix accidentally made a sentient and insane hivemind artifact that learns from anyone who tries to destroy it? Eventually either figuring out how to negate their attacks or copy them against future aggressors? Everything about the creation of this thing, from the basic components to everything that follows, sounds like a checklist for how to gently caress up with magic. :v:

Wizards: No sense of right and wrong!

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


The Lone Badger posted:

Isawas: No sense of right and wrong!

Crasical
Apr 22, 2014

GG!*
*GET GOOD


Mors Rattus posted:

Hey, you know what would improve this thread?

Literally any other topic.

I've been reading Promethean and I found a tiny editing hiccup that annoyed me earlier.

Early in a chapter, you're told you need 10 Roles completed to perform the New Dawn, and they mention that those roles can come from one role from all 10 Refinements, or 3 roles Each from 4 different Refinements, either being fine.

However later when they describe actually performing the New Dawn ascension, if you roll on in with the latter, your new Human form is going to have the 'Broken' condition permanently and be a shattered wreck of a human being who's wracked with nightmares and has terrible amnesia.

It's a very annoying (and unintentional) 'Gotcha!', if you don't read ahead/read carefully, since you have to pick the 10 Roles you take before beginning play and aren't supposed to be changed.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Well, it goes on to spawn the Children of the Last Wish, magical spirits described as "... tiny, beautiful samurai women dressed in form-fitting armor..." which is probably the most anime thing that L5R ever got.

"poo poo, they're on to me. I can't conquer them with magical force. I'll just make a bunch of waifus and make them love me instead. When they've forgotten all their spells in favour of crafting exquisite bodypillows, I can finally escape!"

ZeroCount
Aug 12, 2013




Alien Rope Burn posted:

Well, it goes on to spawn the Children of the Last Wish, magical spirits described as "... tiny, beautiful samurai women dressed in form-fitting armor..." which is probably the most anime thing that L5R ever got.

Why?

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:



It learns and adapts to defeat it's opponent. I can only presume it went up against Master Roshi.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!



:iiam:

Though they do resemble Isawa (later Doji) Akiko, one of the few to wield it. The resemblance can be confirmed on account of Akiko coming back from the land of the dead.

This clarifies nothing but there you have it.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Well, they're more Ainu than indigenous Americans, though they can potentially be a metaphor for any native people who were decimated for reasons far less on the nose than their hearts being made of uranium. I don't know if it's a great example, but it's at least written and justified clearly. In fact, a driving player character in a game I ran was a runaway noble looking to try and destroy as many heart engines as she could to avenge the oni her father had slaughtered.

Maybe not the best example, but I can't really think of anyone else. And yes, they're probably more Ainu, but especially the males have a very native American getup. Tipis are also a thing.

(There's also the possibility of Heart Engines becoming sentient again, which is always good for a laugh)


Who wouldn't want an all-female Samurai Sentai Shinkenger?

Doresh fucked around with this message at 16:30 on Oct 4, 2016

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



But where's Mothra?

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case




I'm still plugging away at Return, but I think I've got two more posts left, maaaaaaybe three if I go into more detail.

I've enjoyed this. I love old modules. Some of the design decisions were batshit, but what I really love about them is their ambition. Can you imagine running Return for a group? It could easily take more than a year, with at least four separate major "dungeons" and multiple smaller side trips. It feels epic and if you make it to Acererak, it really feels earned.

I'd like to tackle a couple favorites of mine after this, The Great Modron March and Dead Gods. These two really go together and the first leads directly into the second. Together they constitute one of my favorite set pieces of second edition: the fall and rise of Orcus. My only concern is that they're Planescape products, and I don't want to step on SirPhoebos's toes. With their permission I'll forge ahead when I'm done with this.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5