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Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

Alien Rope Burn posted:

As an American, I had a relative that used to threaten to "sell me to the gypsies" and would recount an experience with pickpockets as their Real Encounter with Real Gypsies for Real, Really. There isn't nearly as much targeted racism towards Romani in the US but there's still a lot of casual, harmful stereotyping out there.

The US has the Irish Travelers to unjustly blame instead of the Romani for small time cons.

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Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Humbug Scoolbus posted:

The US has the Irish Travelers to unjustly blame instead of the Romani for small time cons.

We do? I thought we were the country that barely knew these groups existed.

Nea
Feb 28, 2014

Funny Little Guy Aficionado.

Humbug Scoolbus posted:

The US has the Irish Travelers to unjustly blame instead of the Romani for small time cons.

As a US citizen I've literally never heard of this thing

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Robindaybird posted:

Yeah, there's some anti-roma sentiments here, and it's not just from the Eastern-European immigrants, to the point where the staggering incompetence in the city's infrastructure planning and construction is blamed on a "Gypsy Curse" on City Hall (which is... kind of true? A self-proclaimed Gypsy King did a public "Cursing" ritual after getting busted for pimping, this city's kind of crazy), and had teachers very casually tell stories about how the "Gypsies" totally had these elaborate shoplifting schemes and scams you have to watch for.

I was also one of those who thought Gypped was Jipped and never made the connection until recently.

Yeah, I don't think my relative thought literal child purchases went on or really had ill will, but it's still just an amazingly negative stereotype on reflection. "Gypped" I've had to clear from my vocabulary myself. Ironically, all these dumb 90s RPGs have really helped raise my awareness of the issue.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!

Has there been an A/T on Roma?

Serf
May 5, 2011




Neopie posted:

As a US citizen I've literally never heard of this thing

Same here.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Serf posted:

Same here.

Same, never heard of them until Clarkson did his oh-so-clever "Stealth insult" on Top Gear and I had to look up what he meant by Pie + Key.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Irish Travelers usually just get lumped in with other "Gypsies" anyway.

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Legend of the Five Rings First Edition

Kyuden Seppun: My Chemical Romance

quote:

Oyasuminasai, my companions!

Evening has come to our gentle court, with all of its rich splendor and grace. Do you see the rising moon in the heavens? Its cold beauty is more fair than the face of the loveliest maiden - but its wrath is just as deadly. You do not understand, I see? Well, let me grant you the simple wisdom of a woman, used to whispers in the night. You believe that all of Rokugan's dangers lie in politics and wars?

Young one, you have much to learn.

The sparks in a man's eyes when he sees the maiden he loves, the whispers they exchange in the night - overheard by some ambitious Scorpion. These are the most careful negotiations, the politics of love and the warfare between two souls. Marriage? Oh, no, of course not, my friend. Love has nothing at all to do with marriage. Some strange Unicorn must have put that idea into your mind.

Ugggh.

Anyway, more RPG FICTION. Kachiko holds a black go stone while talking to a Mantis courtier. He isn't comfortable in dealing with Kachiko and would much rather talk to her father or brother, but Kachiko reassures him that she is doing the negotiations because her father doesn't want word of the alliance between their Clans known. She rubs shoulders with him and tells him that everything is going to be just fine, and gives him instructions. It's her time to make her play.

By now, Kachiko and Hoturi have spent two months playing their game in the court. The Emperor is calling forth ambassadors and representatives of the Clans, and Hoturi notices Kachiko and her brother Hametsu approaching His Imperial Majesty, but without their father. Apparently they're trying to present a gift, but Hametsu stammers and generally cocks up the formalities - it doesn't help that he only had ten-minute notice that he was going to meet the Emperor in person. When he leaves an overly long pause hang, Kachiko steps in and with perfect manners delivers the gift on behalf of the Shosuro house. She makes sure to move so that attention is kept on her body instead of her eyes, but after the gift-giving ritual is done she dares to look at the Emperor for a moment and sees that she has his complete attention, the dream of every courtier. She can also feel the eyes of the court glaring at her with hatred and Hametsu hisses that their father will kill her for this after they're out of earshot, but she doesn't care.

Neither does Hoturi, who later is talking with Toshimoko and Daidoji Uji. The Mantis Clan has declared publicly in court that they're taking over a Crane shore fortress and that's that. Uji notes that the Crane can retake the fortress with Doji Satsume's leadership, if he returns from the Asako lands, but then there's the snow to deal with. Toshimoko is incensed at the Mantis insult and yells that battles aren't fought in winter, and that Yoritomo (the Mantis daimyo) is sending his men to die, but Uji counters that so will the Crane men. Hoturi tires of their arguing and calls them to order: his father won't be able to make it, but he will lead the Crane. The Doji don't have the armies to take the fortress, so Uji will lend his forces but under Hoturi's command. For once, Hoturi is actually behaving like a lord. Kakita Yoshi walks into the room with news: the Scorpion have pledged their formal support and propose sending a neutral embassador to send to the Mantis, in the name of peace. They'll send... Kachiko. Both Toshimoko and Uji start laughing after a moment of surprised silence - what, the Scorpion think they're going to seduce Yoritomo out of the castle? Toshimoko is laughing to the point of tears, but Hoturi doesn't think this is amusing at all: the stakes of his game have been raised.

At the Crane fortress, Kachiko is talking to Yoritomo, a huge man with a rough voice. He warns her to stay inside rather than coming to the wall to observe the Crane forces, but Kachiko says that she isn't his prisoner and that he should remember their bargain: the Crane prepare their attack , the Mantis honorably withdraw and gain advantage in the Court with Scorpion backing. There's only a problem - Yoritomo wants a fight. Kachiko says that the Mantis will go to the Winter Court and gain the Emperor's favor and abundant trade rights, but Yoritomo snarls that she should watch her words. The Mantis daimyo doesn't give two shits about the game, and that makes the entire situation extra dangerous! Hoturi watches her at a distance, and then a Miya emissary tells him that the Mantis have agreed to negotiate, but the treaty is void if the Crane attack while the Scorpion remain in the keep. Hoturi gives the emissary a letter to give to the Mantis to end the negotiations - an Isawa letter. Yoritomo is really pissed by the letter and has Kachiko called: the trade rights have gone to the Phoenix. Grabbing her arm roughly, Yoritomo calls his men and tells them to throw her off the wall as he has no further use for her, but Kachiko still has one card left. With her life on the line, she coolly tells Yoritomo that she is under the Imperial Protection: her person is sacrosanct and if Yoritomo harms her in any fashion the Emperor's wrath will fall on his head. That gives him pause, but for an ugly moment Kachiko thinks that Yoritomo will take his chances. Eventually he relents, and says that she'll keep her as hostage. The Crane get the message that she will be released for ten thousand koku, and they decide to attack. Crane and Mantis archers trade volleys, but someone betrays the Mantis and the Crane sneak inside the palace. The Battle of Ice and Snow is glorious for Hoturi and he returns with much favor to the Court, but Yoritomo escapes safely - and so does Kachiko, who is nowhere to be found when the Crane break into the fortress.


Shinjo Usuia: doin' fine.

So, marriage! It's not done for love because love is for 'lower people.' The Winter Court is a great time to create alliances and cement bargains, and what better way for it than with an arranged marriage? Children of noble lineage are brought to court hoping they catch someone's eye, and samurai seek pairings to better their station, increase their holdings and prestige and so on. Usually, bride and groom are introduced to each other after their gempukku ceremony. As a rule, unmarried men and women in Rokugan cannot be alone together unless properly chaperoned. This is usually no trouble with a samurai-ko with a vow of celibacy (and who would dare to accuse an Otaku battle maiden of betraying that vow?), but this vow is not mandatory, and so male and female samurai are usually not paired together alone even in magistrate duty. The vow is as much a genuine vow as a way to keep rumor mongers from accusing them of 'dishonorable behavior.'

quote:

After all, if a samurai-ko sleeps with a man out of wedlock, she has not only compromised her future husband, but has given her lord cause to question her loyalty by keeping secrets, and allowing emotions to rule her behavior.

Fuuuuuuuuck you L5R.

The most traditional way to not be 'alone' for a samurai-ko is by keeping a kogoto, a handmaiden whose only role is ensuring that she is never in a compromising position. It's not unheard of for the kogoto to be a male member of the samurai's family, and they typically follow her on her duties as a magistrate. Samurai-ko don't stop being one upon marriage, but society places expectations on them as women: they must take care of their husbands' finances and keep an eye on the political climate of their houses and lands. If she wants to and is able to perform both duties, she can be a battle-ready samurai all her life, assuming her daimyo agrees (and husband, if he is of greater status). This also changes from Clan to Clan and family to family: Crane women are more likely to leave behind their kenjutsu training while Matsu and Otaku married women continue serving as bushi. The more traditional Clans and families, like the Crane, the Isawa and the Crab rarely have samurai-ko, and those that exist are often treated as if they had less than their actual honor

Weddings! The traditional Shintao ceremony is celebrated in a Shinsei temple or at the family home. A Shintao priest or the family's shugenja conducts the ceremony, which is only attended by the immediate family members of the couple. Bride and groom are purified with salt, drink sake and read the words of commitment before making symbolic offerings to the kami, the ancestors of both houses, the founder of the house and the Seven Fortunes. After this, they welcome guests at a wedding reception for 20 to 200 people, usually with a representative of the Emperor attending if the couple is of noble lineage. During the celebration, the couple changes clothes several times to symbolize their rebirth, and after the ceremony the bride's new mother in law takes her away to teach her the skills she'll need as a wife while the husband goes on a pilgrimage to a holy place to celebrate it. Spring and winter are the most popular wedding seasons, immediately after and sometimes during Winter Court. Mi-ai is the practice of arranging marriages. The couple aren't expected to love or even know each other. If the participating man (or woman in Otaku and Matsu houses) is old enough they can arrange their own marriage, but usually a go-between is brought in. The mi-ai negotiations consider the social background of both sides, as well as their personalities, financial and political aspects of the union and the children they would produce. A mi-ai interview is not a guarantee of marriage, though, it's just a prospective study. Who stays in their house and who leaves it depends on the marriage. This is no concern if the marriage happens within the same family of a Clan, of course, but samurai-ko marrying into a traditionalist house abandon their own and will no longer be trained in their school techniques, and their children will belong to their father's house. Family daimyo must be alerted of all marriages and Clan Champions must approve all out of clan unions, even when the couple involved are of low political status. On some occasions magistrate, shugenja or governors approve or disapprove marriages as proxies for their lords. Emerald Magistrates may investigate and approve a cross-clan marriage or even refuse to grant the license, but if they are not careful with their reasons the daimyo involved will go over their heads and make them lose honor. Marriages that cause changes in the samurai caste (like a lesser noble marrying the son of the Lion Champion) must be officially approved by the Emperor, though an aide usually handles minor changes. Without this approval, marriages are not legal or binding and the daimyo of the married parties can simply take them away, physically if necessary, and marry them off to someone else or force them into seppuku.

quote:

There's no Romeo-san and Juliet-ko in Rokugan. After being discovered, he cuts his belly open, and her father (because she's lost her virtue to this loser) sells her to a geisha house. Bye-bye samurai caste, my dear Juliet!

:argh:

Generally, out of clan marriages have the spouse with lesser status join the house of their partner, and there is no going back. Otaku Battle Maidens and female Matsu undergo gempukku earlier than other families, precisely because when they marry they sometimes leave the house and choose not to continue their lives as samurai-ko. In the Otaku case in particular, a mother that bears many daughters gives great prestige to her family, and marriages with Otaku women are based on the prospective husband's ability to produce female offspring, which strikes other houses of the Empire as odd. :v: The Otaku also often veto any marriage that takes a Battle Maiden out of the Clan.

Traditionally, newlywed husbands visited their wives at a special room in the house of the wife's parents known as the 'wiving house', until their first child was born or the husband's parents died, and then they moved in together. Now married couples live together right after marriage, but the tradition is held in Isawa lands, particularly with the commoners: the groom lives with his bride's family and offers his labor for a certain amount of time in exchange for the hand of the bride. Samurai courtship involves formal nightly visits from the groom to the bride (particularly done in Winter Court so that families can become familiar with each other), and then there is a formal invitation by her parents to share rice cakes with the groom. The courtship and negotiations are arranged by a nakodo, a go-between that helps families negotiate marriages without emotional displays on either side. They are trained in negotiation and courtly functions in order to gain the most beneficial dowry for both sides, makes sure the bride has no dark secrets in her history and so on. The nakodo must pay heavy fines if the bride is discovered to be 'compromised' after the wedding. They also carry carefully curated letters between the prospective partners.


Don't tell me that hair isn't going to flip out and strangle you.

Retirement! When a samurai reaches the age of 40 they are offered inkyo, seclusion. This is the first chance they get to step down from leadership. Further opportunities are offered at ages 50, 55 and 60, after which a samurai shames their family if they remain in society. Traditionally, in retirement a samurai removes themselves from their position and passes on rights and privileges to their firstborn son (or daughter in the Matsu and Otaku families) and then joins a monastery, though many samurai prefer to move to a separate house or lesser quarters in the family's main home and continue serving as samurai without the burden of leadership. Women can retire just as men and couples often choose to do so at the same time to make the transition of leadership in a house as smooth as possible. At age 60 another ritual is held even if someone retired earlier than this, as they are considered to complete a sexagenary circle and thus symbolically return to their birth. Peasants aren't expected to work beyond age 40, though many continue to do so and their lords reward them for it. Peasant retirement is more gradual due to the lesser responsibility. Male samurai often join a sogya, a community of Tao monks. Leaders are often those who retired at an early age or were forced into retirement due to some disgrace. Female samurai can also retire to sogya without any different treatment. Upon joining, they shave their heads (women included) and take vows of celibacy and poverty. They are expected to remember their family and Clan in rituals and often return home to perform marriages, funerals and other ceremonies. Sohei are former bushi that retain their skill to defend the temples and maintain physical fitness.

Let's go to the present with astrological events! Astrology is not extremely well-known in Rokugan, but there have been enough advances for shugenja to make predictions. Indeed, more often than not these come true, and this year many notable events lie on the horizon. This will be a year of heroism, glory and warfare. Some of the most debated events at this year's Court include:

  • The return of the Dragon's Tail Star: thought to be the herald of the Unicorn's return to the Empire, this star is said to be the sign of great change. Some speculate this will be the return of Shinsei, others think that the Lion or Crane will attempt to usurp the Empire.
  • A brilliant red star: this was present at the birth of the Imperial Heir, and many whisper it marks the Sun's disapproval of the young Prince. It is a portent of darkness and a difficult future.
  • A solar eclipse: this is thought to mark the return of a great hero, and the eyes are on Matsu Tsuko and Hida Yakamo, people wondering if they are the reincarnation of some great warrior.
  • The alignment of the Weaver and the Kappa: this is an unusual convergence that happens once every hundred years and heralds the rise of the Shadowlands. On the day the stars combined, the Shadowlands did launch a massive attack on Kuni castle (the events of the Twilight Honor adventure book)
  • Sunlight raining down as tears of crystal: this happened for three minutes over the Hall of Ancestors of the Akodo. Many of these crystals are being brought to Winter Court to amuse the courtiers. This omen is yet to be interpreted.
  • A star falling from the heavens: this one left a mile-long tear in the Phoenix lands and left a strange lump of rock and clay. Astrologers of the Scorpion, Phoenix and Dragon have rushed to the impact site and local monks continue carrying out banishing rituals to send whatever evil spirits infected the star away. The Shiba ambassador leaked before Winter Court that they intended to move the star's 'bones' and perhaps bring them to the Emperor for study.

The impending war between Lion and Crane has rocked the Empire this year. Once it was restricted to minor border skirmishes but now it threatens to break out into full-scale war. Both Akodo and Doji ambassadors are spending a lot of time in obtaining the Emperor's favor. One of the recent battles, on the plains of Gaiju Shindai, involved over five hundred samurai on each side, and the courtiers have used the bloody battle as ground for boons, favors and other political gains. An unpredictable favor in this 'minor war' is the friendship between Akodo TOturi and Doji Hoturi: both are present at the Court, though not talking to each other, most likely on orders of Doji Satsume. To the north, the Phoenix have suffered an 'invasion' of mujina and kappa that harass villages and destroy caravans. The Crab deny it but the Phoenix accuse them of allowing them through the Kaiu Wall to harass the trade of other Clans, and Master of Fire Isawa Tsuke is one of the Crab's loudest critics. This might prove to be the first real conflict between Phoenix and Crab in history. More than words would fly if Hida Kisada or his son were present, but as usual no Hida come to Winter Court, and mysterious Kuni Yori remains the Crab ambassador. There's rumors around him, and public knowledge of his alliance with the Scorpion Champion, Bayushi Shoji. In the South, Nezumi steal everything that isn't nailed down, and the Daidoji refuse the aid of the amused Crab. The ratlings have sent an 'ambassador' (a female named Iyatakko) to the court of Garden Under Shadow City that insists their migration is due to a "bad-bad walking dark, runs strong through the night on many legs." The Daidoji continue to slaughter tribes and the ratlings threaten the peasants in the villages of Earthquake Fish Bay. Another issue is with the Falcon Clan, a minor clan with some rich lands on the border of the Shinomen Forest. A farmer reported the attack of "long, snake-like, green-skinned men" that spoke in strange tongues, and peasants have fled their homes and refuse to work their fields. The Falcon turned to the Crab for help with this strange threat, but they are newcomers to politics and unfortunately implied that the creatures were Shadowlands 'escapees', and so Hida Tsuru conquered the Falcon province and put in Crab peasants to work it. Falcon threats and arguments have done nothing, as the Crab now consider those lands abandoned and that the Falcon did not fulfill their duty to protect the Emperor's people. The Unicorn, particularly the Iuchi (who live close), have offered to help the Falcon for a price, and at this Winter Court a Falcon representative is expected to seal the bargain with Iuchi Daiyu. This might mean that the Unicorn will go to war with the Crab, and many courtiers would like to know what the Falcon is offering that would entice the Unicorn to go to war with their allies - and many more would pay to stop the bargain from taking place.


"Fuckin' doomed murderous highborn manchildren." "I hear ya."

Plans and intrigues! Many of these aren't public knowledge and their participants have no desire to make them so.

  • The Crab: as mentioned, they've sent few ambassadors as usual to the Hantei. Kuni Yori has a letter for the Emperor to be delivered at the Festival of Lights near the end of winter. Some believe that the war asks permission to wage war on the Unicorn for their intromission in the Falcon affair, some believe that it is a request for the Crab to deal with the Nezumi 'problem' in Crane lands as the Crab dislike the open slaughter of the ratlings but know not all Clans share their positive stance towards the nezumi. Still others, familiar with Hida Kisada's contempt of the Hantei, murmur that the letter is an open threat of war against the Imperial House. In the minds of some, notably the Scorpion, the Crab are on the brink of rebellion against the Emperor.
  • The Crane: they have more important matters to deal with than the nezumi attacks on Daidoji lands. For one, there's the war between them and the Lion. At first, the war was laughable: the Crane had a significant advantage in food and other items that the Lion could not risk losing, and the Doji could simply 'cash in' Lion koku that they had saved over the last five years to effectively steal all of their rice and doom the Lion armies to death by starvation, but some unknown source is now supplying the Lion and now their forces are on the Crane border. If the Crane can discover who is feeding the Lion, their courtiers can certainly find a way to stop the transaction. In addition, Doji Hoturi is acting strangely, seemingly distracted and unable to remember his purpose in court. There are rumors of his legendary affair with Bayushi Kachiko, but she is ice-cold when his name is brought up. Kakita Toshimoko believes that he is unhappy with the potential war and the possibility of finding his old friend, Akodo Toturi, on the battlefield. Furthermore, Doji Kuwanan is still held in Lion lands despite his father's letter asking him to come home. The Lion would not stoop so low as to keep a warrior from defending his family's name and lands, so there must be another reason why Kuwanan hasn't returned, and some whisper that he has changed his allegiance.
  • The Dragon: as always, little is known of what happens in their territories. The Kitsuki representatives speak glowingly of their Champion's wisdom and loyalty, but little of his plans. But Togashi Yokuni does have plans: he has been seen in Scorpion territories, meeting with Bayushi Shoju. Phoenix spies report that the talk only lasted hours, but that Shoju seemed tense, in a dark mood and unwilling to discuss the matter. As for Yokuni, he was nowhere to be seen.
  • The Hantei: for reference, this book assumes that the events of Code of Bushido (reviewed here, it's Wick as hell) happen. If the PCs allow Otomo Yoroshiku to retain her position and if she survives the module she will certainly be at her uncle's court showing off her new husband. Whatever Clan she chooses to marriage, they will have significant advantage in the year's Court and will be allowed numerous small favors. Her true father, Shinjo Gidayu, is also in court, and is central to the Falcon affair: somehow a Falcon spy learned the secret of Yoroshiku's birth and threatened the Unicorn daimyo with blackmail if they don't help the Falcon retake their land from the Crab. Also, the Seppun are sponsoring many challenges and tournaments and other artistic endeavors this Court. Their daimyo, Seppun Daiori, humbly requests audiences with the Akodo and is practically offering tribute to the Matsu, which causes the other Imperial families to quickly rebuke the Seppun for their impolitic behavior.
  • The Lion: they have the most attending dignitaries aside from the Seppun themselves, possibly to obtain the Emperor's favor in the upcoming war. Akodo Toturi and Matsu Tsuko are here, though the latter is more interested in obtaining accurate maps on the Seppun-Crane frontier. Akodo Toturi has had three private meetings with the Emperor and has also spent time dealing with Doji Hoturi, Kakita Yoshi and Kakita Toshimoko to bring lasting peace between them. The Kitsu have plans of their own: they have discovered the link between the Nezumi and the Crane and want to exploit it. See, the ratlings claim they are looking for a mystic artifact known as the Bow of Jade to kill the Oni that drove them away from their homes in the Shadowlands. The Crane don't know of this artifact but the Kitsu do thanks to their contacts in the realm of the dead, and have heard tales of a small temple south of the Yasuki palace that might hold the item. If the Kitsu can get the Bow first, the Crane won't be able to help the ratlings and their provinces will continue to suffer. Matsu Tsuko is also demanding that the Unicorn make good on a bargain to provide the Lion with several caravans of rice, but the Unicorn claim that they have been stolen to bandits. The Lions are all but accusing the Unicorn of theft. A major Matsu vassal was ambushed on the way to Winter Court as well, and the Lion claim that Crane treachery spawned the attack. And the Akodo and Matsu rift continues to widen: Tsuko and Toturi are rarely seen in each other's company and already two messengers between the Akodo lord and the Matsu daimyo have been killed for failing in their duties.
  • The Phoenix: their reputation as pacifists is being tested this year due to their increasingly thinning patience after suffering the mujina pranks. The Isawa temper has snapped several times in court already as they find their clothes change colors, their hair grows whole feet and entire scouting troops have been sent to the wrong places. What's worse, two mujina have followed their representatives to the Emperor's court. They are desperate to hide the mujina pranks and gain the Emperor's support to get rid of the ones in Isawa lands, and Isawa Kaede has repeatedly attempted to force the Crab to send experienced units to help them. Isawa Tsuke is also in court and threatens to find a way to burn the mujina out at any cost, and the rivalry between him and the Acolyte of Void has grown in the year, which does little for Tsuke's mood. If anyone meets the Phoenix for too long, they will undoubtedly begin to notice the unusual occurrences in their quarters: the Phoenix will try to stall by implying they are spirits bound by Phoenix magics, but as the disturbances grow the Isawa become notably upset and cut negotiations short. :haw:
  • The Unicorn: they have sent their finest iaijutsu master, Shinjo Usuia, to the Court in order to provide a serious challenger for the position of Emerald Champion. Usuia is a nice guy that has little actual interest in the post, and is into iaijutsu more as a sport than anything else. He wants to meet Kakita Toshimoko in a duel of skill and hopefully improve his technique, and is also interested in the Seppun libraries in order to discover the location of the Ukyo Blade, a gift from Shinjo herself to the Fox Clan that was lost when an earthquake destroyed the ancient Fox palace near Otosan Uchi. Doji Satsume shows no sign of ceasing his duties but he is nearing his age of retirement and might soon be forced out of the post, and the Shinjo intend to seize it as smoothly as possible. Otaku Kamoko is attending Winter Court for the first time. She only became daimyo last spring, and though Ide Tadaji is instructing her in the ways of the court she seems bored, annoyed and unhappy, already committing numerous minor faux pas. Tadaji fears for her life and tries to control her anger, barely averting numerous conflicts between her and Matsu Tsuko. Kamoko is obsessed with avenging her mother and believes the Matsu had a hand in it. The tension between the Lion and the Iuchi is another obstacle. The Iuchi don't have the supplies to send to the Lion, but the Lion wants them anyway. If the Ikoma go to war with the Iuchi, they won't be able to help the Falcon, which will have the Crab moving further north and might end up forcing the Unicorn into a war on two fronts that they cannot win. To avert this, the Ide and Iuchi are furiously attempting to engage the Crane in negotiations to obtain food. The Crane don't know the true intentions of the Unicorn and think their food is going to the Falcon, but they will certainly cut off trade if they find they're unwittingly feeding the Lion.
  • The Scorpion: the Scorpion are

    quote:

    The Scorpion's plans are far too complex to discuss as 'minor notes', such as we've done with the overarching political goals of the other clans.
    :jerkbag:


Anyway, the Scorpion have their mitts on all aspects of the Court or at least know of them all. Their primary interests now are Kisada's seeming hatred of the Emperor and his letter, and the difficulties surrounding the Seppun daimyo. Deep beneath the Bayushi palaces, a deep chasm opened in the Bayushi Labyrinth. The Bayushi assumed the pit was designed to capture and destroy invaders. A group of Yogo lowered one of their own into the pit in an attempt to map out the Labyrinth, and found a room full of scrolls, weapons, items of jade and gold and other strange things, and three skeletons - one of which wore a fractured mask. Bayushi Shoju immediately sent trusted servants and bushi to dig up the small cavern and bring its contents for study, and Yogo Junzo oversaw the operation personally. Both Shoju and Junzo stayed home this year to examine the items, and Bayushi Kachiko has been sent in Shoju's place. After all, the court of the Emperor is work "for ladies and men who cannot handle the strength of the sword," said Junzo. :sigh: Kachiko's spies still bring her messages of what's going on home, and she happens to have a fine obsidian mirror with her, one that her ally in the Yogo brought to her before his companions found the broken cave. She's yet to discover the full extent of the mirror's powers but sometimes it has shown her activities in the Bayushi palace, as clear as if she were there. Shoju, meanwhile, is looking for the lost Black Scrolls. The Scorpion only have seven; the Phoenix, three; the other two are lost. Yogo Junzo in particular wants them back at all costs, but Shoju doesn't trust his motives even though he could release the forbidden power of the ones he has at any time. Shoju still wonders if he could be the one Yogo to betray the Scorpion's trust. Kachiko is busy supplying the Falcon through the winter, to keep them negotiating with the Crab and the Unicorn, and though she doesn't know what exactly goes on with the Isawa they're taking advantage of it by manufacturing reasons to keep people in the Phoenix quarters as long as possible to make them flip out, which has helped them secure valuable trade agreements that would have otherwise gone to the Elemental Council. She also wants to introduce her son, Bayushi Daiyu, to Imperial society, and hopefully foster him to the Seppun. Kachiko and the Scorpion Clan know how precarious the Throne is: Kisada could make the Hantei line fall with a small push, and the Scorpion intend to stop that or avenge the Emperor's death if it happens, and take any advantage that follows - even if that leads to the Throne itself.

Let's wrap this up by talking about history. There are two dating systems in Rokugan. First is the Emperor's Right, refering to the time the current Hantei has reigned, so dates are like "the fourteenth year of the reign of Hantei XIX" This causes some difficulty when the Emperor dies since the name of the year changes immediately, to say "the first year of the reign of Hantei XX" Since the dates refer to the year in which the Hantei was crowned rather than born things become confusing. The years are also refered to in the same order as the months by the animals that favor them ("the second year of the Rat in the reign of Hantei XIV"), which makes entire historical scrolls incomprehensible with small omissions. A second, less common way is the Isawa's Calendar, which dates events since the 'mythical' founding of Gisei Toshi.

So, have a small list of events!
  • First and second centuries: the founding of the Mantis Clan and Fox Clan.
  • Third and fourth centuries: Battle of Cherry Blossom Lake. Minor skirmish between Phoenix and Lion resolved with a treaty at Mamoru Kyotei Toshi. The Unicorn meet a gaijin called Moto in their journeys. The Crab-Crane War. The destruction of the Snake Clan by the Isawa.
  • Fifth century: the first gaijin ambassadors arrive at the Imperial Court. The gaijin invade and occupy White Stag. Battle of the Raging Seas and Battle at White Stag. Gaijin influence purged from Rokugan. (Five hundred years in the past!? loving fantasy stasis.) The Mantis receive the family name Gusai. Matsu Itagi goes to the Shadowlands. The Unicorn fight the Living Darkness. The Victory with No Strike and the foundation of the Asahina family.
  • Sixth and seventh centuries: first battle with Iuchiban and the Bloodspeakers. Battle of Kenson Gakka. The Mantis shame their name by attempting to assassinate the Emperor. Their noble family are granted seppuku and the name Gusai removed by decree.
  • Eight and ninth centuries: attack by the Shadowlands against the Crab. Loss of Hiruma Castle. Battle of the Cresting Wave. Battle of the Sleeping River between Iuchiban and the Clans. Asahina Yajinden is sentenced by the Asahina. The castle at Morikage Toshi is destroyed and ghosts haunt it to this day. Sparrow Clan formed from disaffected Crane samurai. Agasha Kitsuki forms the Kitsuki family. Daidoji support the Crab against the Shadowlands across the Tidal Landbridge. The Return of the Unicorn and their assault on the Kaiu Walls. The Unicorn fight the Lion and Scorpion in the Battle of White SHore Plain. Agasha Daijoku discovers the secret of Agasha's code. Battle at Kyuden Tonbo.
  • Tenth and eleventh centuries: Night of Falling Stars, Crane lose Shiro no Yojin to the Lion. Wasp Clan formed by Tsuruchi, granted Minor Clan status by Hantei the XXXVIII.


"But Pa, I'm telling you! Kids these days, they have no respect." "Yeah, Ma. Yeah."

Next: the bomb explodes.

Traveller fucked around with this message at 04:44 on Oct 12, 2016

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Nuns with Guns posted:

Traveller, thanks for going through all the effort to post Legend of the Five rings stuff. It's a game I've always seen talked about but the massive metaplot looked like too much of a clusterfuck to bother with on my end

Are you going to review all the major metaplot books up through whatever the current status quo is?

That would be a daunting prospect, since I'd have to go through all four editions of the game. Plus, the current status quo (at least up to the FFG buyout) goes beyond the scope of 4E, from what I understand.

Numerical Anxiety
Sep 2, 2011

Hello.


Robindaybird posted:

Yeah, there's some anti-roma sentiments here, and it's not just from the Eastern-European immigrants, to the point where the staggering incompetence in the city's infrastructure planning and construction is blamed on a "Gypsy Curse" on City Hall (which is... kind of true? A self-proclaimed Gypsy King did a public "Cursing" ritual after getting busted for pimping, this city's kind of crazy), and had teachers very casually tell stories about how the "Gypsies" totally had these elaborate shoplifting schemes and scams you have to watch for.

I was also one of those who thought Gypped was Jipped and never made the connection until recently.

It is sometimes spelled Jipped or Gipped - you weren't mistaken. In terms of etymology, the term might not have been originally racist - one of the theories is that it derives from a servant's coat, a gippo, and originally meant "to behave like a thieving servant." It's really not clear how that word came to be, but in any case, the racist connotation is entrenched these days, and either way it remains a term best not used.

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!


Traveller posted:

[*]The Phoenix: their reputation as pacifists is being tested this year due to their increasingly thinning patience after suffering the mujina pranks. The Isawa temper has snapped several times in court already as they find their clothes change colors, their hair grows whole feet and entire scouting troops have been sent to the wrong places. What's worse, two mujina have followed their representatives to the Emperor's court. They are desperate to hide the mujina pranks and gain the Emperor's support to get rid of the ones in Isawa lands, and Isawa Kaede has repeatedly attempted to force the Crab to send experienced units to help them. Isawa Tsuke is also in court and threatens to find a way to burn the mujina out at any cost, and the rivalry between him and the Acolyte of Void has grown in the year, which does little for Tsuke's mood. If anyone meets the Phoenix for too long, they will undoubtedly begin to notice the unusual occurrences in their quarters: the Phoenix will try to stall by implying their are spirits bound by Phoenix magics, but as the disturbances grow the Isawa become notably upset and cut negotiations short. :haw:

I love everything about the Crab and their relations with the less malicious non-humans. I really want to believe that they got a bunch of Mujina intentionally all up in the Phoenix and are laughing themselves ragged on the inside while keeping a totally chill exterior.

PurpleXVI fucked around with this message at 22:23 on Oct 11, 2016

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS


Neopie posted:

As a US citizen I've literally never heard of this thing

I heard the term as a kid in passing, but didn't learn until I was an adult that there were negative stereotypes attached. I think its very much a regional thing.

That's the case for the Romani in the US as well. There are a few places where there are communities, but even there they may not be particularly visible even to locals. That's true for a lot of smaller ethnic minorities in the U.S. I've seen people who have lived in my city longer than I have be surprised to learn that we have a decent sized Hmong community, for example. Go the next city over, and you'd probably have to search to find someone who even knew who the Hmong are.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





It kinda helps the Roma populations in the US that driving from place to place in trailers and picking up odd jobs is a fairly common practice among everyone in certain parts of the Western US.

Just Dan Again
Dec 16, 2012

Adventure!


Halloween Jack posted:

... the key problem is that D&D isn't generally "sold" to people as that very specific list of influences coming together in a unique way--it's sold as an introduction to the roleplaying hobby through the lens of heroic fantasy adventure. And its many assumptions really start to break down when you try to do certain specific things with it--for example, the whole attack/defense system is built on what kind of armour you're wearing, so if you're doing piratical swashbuckling or John Carter of Mars, you have to come up with a different way of determining defense.


This is something I've been struggling to articulate lately when discussing RPGs with friends. I remember first cracking the AD&D Player's Handbook and being really frustrated by all the charts and tables and comparative weapon speed calculations that went into combat.The idea that the action in games could be as dynamic as a scene from the movies, and just as narratively interesting, is something that it seems like we're only now seeing come to fruition. Even supposedly theatrical games like earlier editions of Feng Shui still carried D&D's historical wargaming baggage.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.





BOOK ONE: Part One

Or

The DOOM 3/Ubisoft Sandbox World Building Method



"Dear audio log diary..."

The entirety of Book One is framed as the personal possessions of Countess Lyonesse, an Eldren with a collection of news articles and various writings assembled to provide a guide to a daughter of an American friend she'll be hosting in London. It's divided into sections and I'll be paraphrasing for the most part, but I'm not joking: there is not a single bit of writing here (not counting sidebars) that is not in universe. And that is a loving hell of a lot of exposition to just dump in the lap of the reader, especially because it doesn't really paint that much of a concrete picture of the world like neutral reader-aimed language does. As much as I hated Brave New World for having literally half of most of the books be uncut in-universe fluff, it at least had a chunk of each book that addressed the reader directly and said what was real and what wasn't. Not having that luxury means there's gonna be some repetition and insulting levels of As You Know considering who this is targeted at in-universe.


Upper class, lower class.

Collection One: Science and Sorcery in an Industrial Age

Sir Richard Arkwright, Father of the Industrial Revolution
by Jonathan Sheffield: A newspaper interview with Arkwright, who is still alive in 1856 because he's an Eldren (he died in 1792). Despite being Eldren, he was born with no inherent magical aptitude and instead went on to invent the Spinning Jenny and other means of industrially-spinning cloth. His money would go towards investing in the steam engine (of James Watt who is now a Dwarf), railways and an invention called the Aerostat, a blimp that's basically 90% science with 10% magical components (and the cost of the magical parts is keeping it from being a cheap way to travel).So, basically, some machinery (like clockwork or steam) doesn't need magic to function but magic and technology can work together with no problems.



The Dying Embers by Sir Arthur Dee: I have no idea if this is supposed to be the son of John Dee because the only Arthur Dee I can find is John Dee's son who died in 1651 and would be way older than any species can possibly be by the publishing date of 1815. Anyway. The article is about the Consortium of Hermetic Guilds, a magical union that was formed in the aftermath of the Thirty Years War. It's essentially a cry for unity among magicians because magic is fading and has been; the Thirty Years War resulted in mass casualties across the board for magic users and magic has been weakening since the days of the Roman Empire. Dee is afraid of science supplementing magic and believes that without magic users being able to keep the aristocracy afloat, something worse than the American and French revolutions will come. It will. It's called World War I and the October Revolution.



On the Origin of Sapiency by Charles Darwin: Subspecies can interbreed. A Ogre can stick it to a Gnome if they really feel so inclined and pray for the mother's survival. The changes are generally cosmetic; some people are born Eldren, some are born with the head of a lion. There are some physical differences and some mental differences, but none of the subspecies are truly separate. What complicates things are his tentative, not-yet-published idea of evolution and the fact that there really are godlike cosmic beings in the mix. Popular theory is that the Heavens created the Eldren and the Steppegoblin first. Darwin himself posits that Beastfolk are where you have to look to understand where the subspecies came from, believing them to be a step up from regular animals.

Aether for the Masses by Analise LaFayette: Manipulating aether is the basis of magic and it's been around as long as we've been able to control fire. The first masters of the craft made themselves out to be gods and kings (then advisors) and the Roman Empire was home to sights like entire legions being teleported to Gaul and flying airships. The big downside of magic is that these major feats require a lot of energy and this has had two results. First, the energy cost has kept these marvels from being mass produced. Second, because of the cost most people have just gotten by with limited or no access to magic. The Industrial Revolution has been a boon for magic users and the common man alike because it takes less magic to crank a handle than it does to fly an airship. In fact, technology is quickly becoming the great equalizer, giving the masses access to something that levels the playing field. A fireball is flashy, but a gun is quicker.



Conquering the Oceans by Hiram Findley: Because the aerostat can't really be mass-produced or turned into a cargo vehicle, ships still rule transportation and shipping. The Suez Canal is open and Isambard Brunel (real person, now a dwarf) has invented a steam ship capable of traversing the Atlantic in two weeks.


Yeah, good luck with that buddy. The Chunnel actually was proposed on and off a few times through the 19th century but things like global wars and the collapse of the British Empire got in the way until the late 20th century.

The End of the Wyvern Age? by Ronaldo Esteban Gomez Blanco: Before the aerostat, the sky was the realm of people riding griffins, rocs or wyverns (or the occasional person on a glider lifting it with magic or the flying carpet). The piece is mostly about the aerostat and it's your general of "NEW TECH" puff piece. Of note: countries are experimenting with armored aerostats in war (mostly as troop transport but now they're considering putting artillery on them) and there's also the invention of the ornithoper (better known as "that flapping wing thing with a bike attached").


An aerostat and a flapping wing thing with a bike attached.

A Luddite's Perspective on the Iron Horse by Aiden Finnegan: GODDAMN RAILROAD IS RUINING BRITAIN AND THE COUNTRYSIDE THINK OF THE BEAUTY OF NATURE AND OUR CHILDREN :argh:

New Prime Movers by Regina Pembrooke: The main forms of energy/engines in the past were muscle, water, wind, clockwork, aether and clockwork mixed with aether. The new kids on the block who are revolutionizing the world are steam, electricity (thanks to John Wellington Starr, real person) and internal combustion. Steam is the most popular at the moment (no longer needing to rely on bound elementals), electricity is limited to some streetlights and combustion no longer requires a bound fire elemental but is currently limited to weapons and the engine is in prototype stages.

Means of Communication by Nathaniel Portence: Telegraph or Royal Mail, basically. You can also use familiars or magic but those are less fast. England is working on laying a cable to the Americas for the telegraph.



The Secret Society of the Telegraph by Nathaniel Portence: Uh. You basically need a chain of operators receiving and relaying messages to keep the signal going strong to get it to its destination. Not sure why this article needed to exist.

An Analytical Engine: Bringing Order to Entropy by Ada Lovelace: Charles Babbage (now a gnome) is planning on unveiling his new analytical engine that runs on punch cards and such.



War Veterans Get New Limbs by Thomas Fordham: And they're clockwork limbs. They're not cheap and are being sold by the East India Company at a discount to veterans of Crimea or given for free through government grant.

The Poor State of Medicine by Florence Nightingale: So yeah turns out even with magic, medicine is still pretty awful and cholera is still a major issue. It's going to take a lot of snatched corpses to improve things (that's not a joke. As sinister as Resurrection Men were, providing bodies to doctors was one of the biggest things that helped 19th century medicine improve).



The Growing Storm of Industry by Richard Morton: Automated factories are handy but they only mass-produce mundane goods, make a lot of pollution and are putting workers on the street.

Collection Two: Religion

This entire section is from "Many Archons, Two Forces" by Elaine Hahn and no other sources, so I'll drop the bullet points for here. Victoriana runs into the problem that I see a lot when someone decides to just start forcing godlike beings existing into a situation based on real life: it raises a lot of questions and has a lot of implications if higher powers actually exist. Let's step back from the religious systems real quick. There are two fundamental forces at play in Victoriana: the Heavenly Host representing Order and the Pale Legion representing Entropy. Science is on the side of order, magic is on the side of entropy. You can't have one without the other and if one side was to stamp out the other, Very Bad Things would happen.

But this is a game that includes analogues to the Abrahamic religions and all that, so how does that come into play? Well, the gods of the polytheistic religions are counted as Archons of one side like if they were players on the same team, so Jupiter and Odin and the Archangel Michael are all Archons of the Heavenly Host.

ALUMINAT


An Anglican Aluminati clergyman. I'm not well versed in real Anglicanism so I'm not sure what position he holds but if I had to guess I'd say he's a bishop. Either way man he sure looks friendly, don't he.

I'm not spelling that word out every time so I'm calling them the Als. Their name is a spin on the word "illuminatus". The Als are Christianity But, following the Aluminati Codex which is made up of the Yehudi (Jewish But) Books of Order and nine books written the Eight Voices (and the last is probably written by Jesus but the author is unknown).

What happened was that eight Archons visited eight people across the Middle East on a day between December 24th and December 31st. The eight (Jonathan, Justas, Kedron, Matthias, Simon Paul (Roman), Tamit (Egyptian), Tecla and Xanthos (Greek)) were tasked with reforming the Yehudi religion because the Archons believed it was corrupted by the dark side of sorcery (demonology and necromancy), thus starting Year 1. So the Eight Voices travelled across the Middle East together, casting out demonologists and necromancers and accusing the Romans of being corrupt sorcerers (they only got away with the latter because Simon Paul was a citizen). A rebellion against the Romans leads to 50 years of fighting against them, Justin and Tamit are captured and executed and return as Archons to advise the other six, and the rebellion is crushed in 70 CE. In that year the Eight Voices returned to their followers as Archons and preached to spread their works. Then Constantine ends up making the Al the religion of the Empire, the Council of Nicaea codify the Codex and the rest is history.


These apply to the Yehudi as well.

The basic tenant of Al is to believe in Order and uphold the commandments, abandon sorcery and build a united world. This is the main doctrine of the Roman Al but because people interpret things differently, it's splintered into the Romans, Scottish and Anglican Als of England. Presumably there's also Eastern Orthodox, Pentecostal, etc. elsewhere. The closest thing to the Vatican is the Conclave of the Roman Aluminat, a council of cardinals that meet in Rome.



SONS OF DAVID

The "Sons of David" is a term used to refer to both the belief system and the Yehudi people, who are stand-ins for ethnic and religious Judaism. The Yehudi people lived between the Egyptians and the Persians and before the Archons sowed the seeds of the Al, they sent eight Archons to visit both nations and the Yehudi. The Pharaoh Akhenaton was told to reject the Egyptian pantheon and this actually "happened" in real life; Akhenaton did reject the pantheon and started worship of the sun Aten alone, going so far as to build a new city as a new capitol. For you Fallen London fans, said city would become the Second City and bring about that whole headache. The Persian priesthood (the Avesti) also got the same treatment and so did eight tribes of the Yehudi.



This didn't go well for the Egyptians or the Persians. Like real life, Akhenaton's change was not popular and was abandoned after his death due to lack of interest. For the Persians, they were doing fine up until they went to war with the Greeks and the Greeks won. Soon the Yehudial religion was the only one still following the Archons and now they were surrounded by Romans. The name "Sons of David" stems from a sign of defiance against the Romans and the wish to be an independent state. Then the Eight Voices start a rebellion...and it fails. As a result, a lot of Yehudi abandon the message of the Eight Voices because they failed in their rebellion so it wasn't right. And then things get worse because they're Judaism But and this is the ancient world. First, the Ninth Book paints the Yehudi as complicit in the capture and execution of the Eight Voices. Then Roman persecution comes down hard and forces some of the tribes to flee. Then Al picks up in Europe and quickly becomes the dominant religion and continue the persecution.

The Sons of David continue their worship despite being a marginalized group. They follow the basic rules of Order and everything in the Books of Order, but have added their own books and interpretations.

FOLLOWERS OF THE WORD

And hey, now it's time for Islam But to show up. Around the year 500, the fallout of the Roman Empire has lead to a power vacuum in the Arabian Peninsula and this inspires the Pale to try and launch an attack to take over the world. To counter that, the Heavenly Host send eight Archons to eight desert tribes and brought the Word with them. The Word is an oral distillation of the Aluminat Codex, making everything a lot more clear and straight-forward with less story and metaphor. The Blessed Eight united to purge and unite the Peninsula...and then turned on the Als. It's believed that the Host gave the Blessed Eight the Word in an attempt to clear up any errors or misconceptions and that the Blessed Eight would join the Als to fix and unite the faith. This didn't work! The Als think the Followers are heretics and the Followers think the Als are propping up a corrupt form of worship. The Crusades did nothing to lessen this divide between them.



The Followers continue keeping the Word alive as an oral tradition, considering it blasphemy to commit it to paper. The only exception is that the position of how the Word views certain things can be put to paper but not actual verse or scripture: nothing verbatim, just opinions or stances. All Followers have the Word memorized and are expected to recite its prayers and passages three times a day.

PAYNIMRY



Here there be pagans. Paynimry is a blanket term applied by the Al to any religion that isn't the Aluminat. So, technically, the Sons of David and the Followers of the Word count as paynim. In actual execution, paynimry refers to actual pagan religions where there's worship of old gods or archons not affiliated with the Host, counting the latter as calling on Entropy instead of Order. As a result, the Celtic religion and Norse count as pagan religions.






THE PALE

The Pale is another dimension that's bound to Earth through the Aether. Nobody's really sure what it is, but they do know it exists. The Pale could be a prison, a soul magnet or just a place where the pagan gods reside.

What is known is that demons and devils known as the Pale Archons live there and they used to be buddies with the other Archons. Before the formation of the Pale and the Heavenly Host, all Archons lived together undivided until the Pale Archons got kicked out for corrupting too many regular souls. The demons, lead by Paline, knew they couldn't take the other Archons in a fair fight so they attempted to ensnare and corrupt souls for their own use in an army. They only nominally serve Entropy, not considering themselves beholden to any higher power, and are really just interested in turning the Earth into a paradise of sin. Each demon has a parallel sin, though it's just a nominal thing imposed by the Als.



On the other side of things are the devils. The devils are Archons who didn't get kicked out from the word go and ended up getting cast out when the Heavenly Host had the Great Flood happen for absolutely zero discernible reason. Led by Lucifer, the devils have a bit of Order still ingrained in them and the first thing they did was build the brass city of Pandemonium. While the demons are aimless and in it for sin, the devils have their own form of Order they'd like to impose on the world.



The presence of the devils is a threat to the demons because A: the devils outnumber them and B: souls drawn into the Pale tend to drawn to the familiarity of Pandemonium than the chaos of the demons. So Paline seduced Lucifer to ensure an uneasy truce between the two groups. They're still together, and they still like each other, but they still want to see the other go down and rise triumphant.

And that's it for the first two parts of this chapter/book. Let's take a minute to discuss this.

Thoughts

FFFFFFFFFFFFFffff god that was loving draining to all put to paper.

So Victoriana leans way too hard on the Historical Fiction side of things and it's just annoying and draining. It feels like I just slogged through a textbook. None of it really feels organic, it's just "okay this famous person isn't human anymore, now there are clockwork limbs, now there are wyvern riders". It's just...rough going and it raises So Many Questions, especially on the religious side of things. It just doesn't feel new or fresh because it's just too much of a slave to the Historical Fiction side of things than the Fantasy half.

Next Time: society, also maybe the countries? I don't know, the latter is a bit heavier than the former.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Terrible Opinions posted:

It kinda helps the Roma populations in the US that driving from place to place in trailers and picking up odd jobs is a fairly common practice among everyone in certain parts of the Western US.
A lot of them are pretty settled anyway. It's an ethnic group, not a lifestyle.

That Marvel thing was so weird, because I'd been thinking that Marvel had kind of half-assedly backed into a range of strong, quality Roma representation, albeit through Stan Lee's fascination with the stuff Romanies are historically connected to.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


So is the Pale named for Paline, is Paline named for the Pale? Is this just a confluence of weird chance?

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.



I think they named the Pale after Paline, yeah. Her name just became synonymous with their home.

chiasaur11
Oct 22, 2012





Nessus posted:

A lot of them are pretty settled anyway. It's an ethnic group, not a lifestyle.

That Marvel thing was so weird, because I'd been thinking that Marvel had kind of half-assedly backed into a range of strong, quality Roma representation, albeit through Stan Lee's fascination with the stuff Romanies are historically connected to.

I've always liked how one of Victor Von Doom's big reforms in Latveria was "And you know this oppressing my people bullshit? It ends right about... now." I mean, there's a lot of the bad cliches in his backstory, but it's never shown that being Roma is why he's a supervillain. His father was a good man and a good doctor who was hounded to death just because of his ethnicity. Sure, Vic's an egotistical supervillain, but that's just because he's, well, him specifically. A personal fault rather than communal.

It also means that, with Richards and family gone off to play God, the smartest people in the Marvel universe are a Roma who took his country to free his people from oppression, and the king of one of the two African countries never conquered by European powers. Kind of nice.

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010

....?


Traveller posted:

That would be a daunting prospect, since I'd have to go through all four editions of the game. Plus, the current status quo (at least up to the FFG buyout) goes beyond the scope of 4E, from what I understand.

cutting it off at the end of the 1e metaplot then? I'm sure it'll be a wild ride anyway

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


While it's not quite Realmslore, summarizing the L5R metaplot would be quite the task, given that it's separated between two different games plus novels and spinoffs.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Alien Rope Burn posted:

While it's not quite Realmslore, summarizing the L5R metaplot would be quite the task, given that it's separated between two different games plus novels and spinoffs.

Aren't the only universally relevant parts of Realmslore the Time of Troubles and the Spellplague, though?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Kavak posted:

Aren't the only universally relevant parts of Realmslore the Time of Troubles and the Spellplague, though?

Well, let's not mistake me for somebody who knows a lot about the Forgotten Realms.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Well, let's not mistake me for somebody who knows a lot about the Forgotten Realms.

This is something to be proud of.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



System Mastery is doing an October thing, because we are total hacks! It's White Wolf month, and we're starting exactly where you should start with White Wolf, by covering Promethean: The Created. Which we both actually sorta liked.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



First or Second Edition?

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

theironjef posted:

System Mastery is doing an October thing, because we are total hacks! It's White Wolf month, and we're starting exactly where you should start with White Wolf, by covering Promethean: The Created. Which we both actually sorta liked.

It's one of the two best games of the entire nWoD line, of course you liked it!

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Godbound


After covering all the wonderful demidivine toys a Godbound can have, let's take a look at the classic realm of d20 shenanigans: magic.

Magic and Spellcasting

Low Magic is a nice addition to the standard OSR formular. It offers various cantrips and rituals that are split into various traditions, each focusing on different effects. It allows the GM to add some more characters or entire professions with limited magic abilities, all while keeping the power and sheer versatility of proper d20 spellcasting in the hands of major characters.

Unless you have the Sorcery Word, the only way to learn a Low Magic tradition is by aquiring a Fact revolving around your studies. Mortals have to master a tradition one tier (Apprentice, Adept, Master, Archmage) at a time, while Godbound just get everything at once.

Casting Low Magic is generally a rather slow process, with Apprentice spells already taking a 15 minute ritual, with stronger tiers taking longer till you reach Archmage spells, which require an entire day.
Fortunately, there are ways to speed this process up. Godbound of the Sorcery Word can prepare spells in advance, and some traditions allow one to do something similar by storing the almost-finished spell inside of a charm, potion or other trinket. Other traditions are a bit more advanced and allow you to straight-up cast spells spontaneously.
Unfortunately, both of these mortal applications of fast spellcasting have their limitations. They are still on the slow side in that they only take effect at the start of the next turn, and there are only so many spells you can prepare or cast spontaneously. Instead of using traditional d20 spell slots, Godbound just lets you cast spells spontaneously up to your Hit Dice or Level, with prepared spells allowing for twice that amount (or any combination of the two flavors).

So, how well does Low Magic fare against the Words and Gifts of a Godbound? Not particularly well. Whenever Low Magic and divine powers clash, the divine powers come out on top. Low Magic can't break divine curses or see through divine illusions. On the other hand, even the best charm of fire protection that Low Magic can produce is useless if some demigod decides to roast you.
The main reason for these shortcomings (aside from divine powers being plain better and stronger) is that Low Magic doesn't nearly pull of as much reality-alteration and is generally short-lived. As such, most Low Magic spells rarely last longer than a day and can't create permanent matter.

As such, Low Magic for a Godbound is not really a replacement for proper Gifts and such. Instead, they serve as a more low-profile alternative to deal with mortals. Some traditions also let you summon critters, though you can't summon more than one creature at a time, and even Archmage summons can't go above 8 HD in power.

The example traditions presented here all have ties to the default setting explained later, so I'll skip most of the fluff for now.
Unlike every other form of d20 magic ever, Low Magic doesn't actually come with an extensive list of spells. Instead each tier of each traditions gets a short description of the kind of stuff you can pull off.

The Academy of Thought

So Anime.

This is essentially telepathy, starting with the ability to read surface thoughts and ending with you being able to shoot mind bullets and brainwash a single target.

Academicians can cast their mental effects spontaneously, and they are so subtle that only fellow practicioners (and probably "proper" spellcasters as well) can tell what's going on.
Unfortunately for them, the telepathic nature of their magic means they can't do anything against undead or other brainless creatures, and in fact their spells solely affect minds. No telekinesis for you, sir.
Also, casting this stuff spontaneously really strains your brain matter, with each spell either applying a cumulative -1 penalty to just about everything, or alternatively dealing 1d6 of damage as you let it fry some of your flesh. Nice.

The Cinnabar Order

Part pyrokinesis, part fire elementalism. The main gimmicks of this tradition is starting and extinguishing fires, throwing fire damage at people (Adepts can use Ken's burning shoryuken for a 1d6 weapon, while Archmages throw 2d10 fireballs around) and summoning various fire creatures. Apprentices don't actually learn any spells, but they get some nice desert survival skills.

As if all these combat applications weren't indication enough, you can cast these spells spontaneously, without any caveats.

Curse-Eaters

A school of anti-magic specializing in breaking (other low magic) curses and creating wards of protecting against hostile (low magic) effects.
But what they banish, they can also create. Practitioners of this can "grant" all sorts of curses, from simple roll penalty debuffs to stuff that will get you eventually killed.
Archmages can even combine the two aspects of this tradition, warding off spells or breaking curses, and sending the respective spell/curse right back at the perpetrator, no matter where he currently is.

Spells of this tradition can be prepared in charms.

The Empty Way

Basically Shaolin Monk magic. You cann cast these spells spontaneously, and not even the ritual versions need any kind of components. Just sit on the ground and meditate.
To keep with the not-Shaolin spirit, spells of this tradition only ever affect the caster itself, and he is required to live according to a vow or taboo. Breaking this taboo will make him fall till he purifies himself.

As for the spells themselves, they let you get rid of poison and other nasty effects, remain strong and healthy even in old age, and pull off all sorts of wuxia stuff like improved jumping, natural armor and the ability to hit really hard with unarmed attacks (up to 1d10 as an Archmage).

Hedge Magic

Your basic dirt farmer magic, or historical witch lore. Easily the most commong tradition, but that's not saying much. Because unlike the other traditions, you need to be at least a Master before you actually get any magical effects. Apprentices and Adepts can't cast spells, but have extensive knowledge about herbs, livestock, fortunetelling and how to act as a mediator when some neighbors are bickering with each other.

Once you actually start getting spells, you can cure ailments, heal people, analyize magical items and do some minor buffing or debuffing.

The Merciful Hand

The art of healing. Apprentices only have general medical knowledge, but Archmages can heal up to 2d6 damage and can even regrow lost limbs. Yet even they are powerless against all the chaos done by more powerful spellcasters and Made Gods of the past.

Spells of this tradition can be prepared as potions or poultrices.

Seers of the Bright Eye

Scryers and fortune-tellers. This one's all about spying on people and getting intel, with some short glimpses into the future.
Unfortunately for Seers, simple wards craftable by just about any Adept can block scrying form all but the most powerful Seers, and even they are blocked by more high-class wards.

The Theotechnicians

Building magitek gadgets, one cog at a time.

The art responsible for the construction of the Made Gods. It's magitek, and its practicioners are basicall artificers.

Apprentices merely have knowledge about general crafting, but starting with Adept, they get to identify and create magical items. The most powerful stuff you can do are +3 weapons and armor as an Archmage.
This tradition is also pretty big in making servitors, magitek clockwork constructs that act as "summons". Unlike regular summon, these guys last till they are destroyed. In fact just about everything you can do with this tradition sticks around, as you're just crafting stuff.

Next time: Theurgy and Invocations. Now we're cooking with gas.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Mors Rattus posted:

First or Second Edition?

First. Isn't second edition Onyx Path only? I wasn't doing any research. Otherwise I'd know that our complaint about how a lot of the dead bodies in this book are derived from myths that do not involve dead bodies is directly addressed in Live from New York: It's Saturnine Night!

Egregious Offences
Jun 15, 2013


theironjef posted:

System Mastery is doing an October thing, because we are total hacks! It's White Wolf month, and we're starting exactly where you should start with White Wolf, by covering Promethean: The Created. Which we both actually sorta liked.

Whelp, because of your Trump+oWoD jokes, the idea that Trump would be a Syndicate technocrat is now stuck in my head.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



theironjef posted:

First. Isn't second edition Onyx Path only? I wasn't doing any research. Otherwise I'd know that our complaint about how a lot of the dead bodies in this book are derived from myths that do not involve dead bodies is directly addressed in Live from New York: It's Saturnine Night!

It is, but it's pretty much a straight line through from old White Wolf through later White Wolf into Onyx Path. Same guys writing the books, weird hosed up merger/IP licensing situation.

Anyway, you wanted just once to hear a White Wolf stereotype where one gribbly is positive about another gribbly, and if you'll accept an Onyx Path book as counting, I give you nWoD Demon on nWoD Geist:

Demon: the Descent posted:

Sin-Eaters: People with ghosts inside them who build magic from trash — they’re not supposed to exist on so many levels. Good for them!

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case





Here we go!

Welcome to the Great Modron March. This is a Planescape adventure by the redoubtable Monte Cook and Colin McComb. The former you may know, the latter was heavily involved with Planescape and with Black Isle during the development of Fallout 2 and the amazing Planescape: Torment. TGMM is in fact more of a linked series of mini-adventures detailing the events around the titular March. I’ll begin with a brief overview before diving into the adventures one at a time.

So what is a Modron, anyways?
I don’t know if any TG regulars don’t actually know what a modron is, but I figured it might be helpful to lay it out. Modrons are the characteristic race of Mechanus, the plane of absolute Law. They are strange, part-clockwork beings that live lives of perfect order in a realm of perfect law. The closest analogy to modrons might be an insect hive crossed with a bureaucracy; they come in many types, each of which has rigidly defined capabilities, characteristics, and responsibilities. The five lowest-ranking types are, in ascending order, monodrones, duodrones, tridones, quadrones and pentadrones; these increase in complexity and intelligence from the near-mindless monodrones to the intelligent (if very alien in thought) pentadrones. Above these five ranks, which may be considered the commoners of Modron society, there are the hierarch modrons: decatons, nonatons, octons, and so forth up to Primus, the unique and solitary ruler of all Modrons (and a power in its own right).
Each rank obeys the rank above them unquestioningly, although that statement doesn’t fully take into account Modron society. It is more accurate to say that each rank only recognizes the ranks above and below it. A duodrone will unquestionably obey any order by a tridrone and will in turn instruct the monodrones under its care, but it cannot even recognize a quadrone or higher ranking modron as a member of its own species. If hauled before a hierarch modron judge to answer for some crime, it can only perceive the judge as a terrifying embodiment of ultimate Law—maybe a “super-tridrone” of sorts. Orders are thus passed along the chain from higher ranking to lower ranking modrons, who execute them flawlessly.
Modrons are living beings and all but monodrones must eat and drink. However, they are partially clockwork, or at least seemingly-clockwork. They’re not golems. They’re also immune to lots of magical effects. I’m not gonna post modron stats unless it’s relevant, but generally assume that hierarch modrons are all spellcasters (clerics of Primus, the source of their spells) and drones are fighters with some spell-like abilities.

So what happens if you knock out a link in the chain?
Modrons are asexual and are not born from anything. The number of modrons at each rank is specific and fixed and cannot be changed. If a modron dies, a nearby modron is “promoted” to its rank. This entails an immediate and shocking physical and intellectual transformation, as the newly promoted modron becomes aware of a whole new rank of modrons above it and immediately begins issuing orders to its new inferiors. Of course, modron minds are perfectly prepared for this and don’t suffer at all from it. This promotion leaves a gap in the rank below it, which is filled immediately by the same method, and likewise down the chain until a new monodrone is spawned from a pool at the heart of modron territory. It doesn’t matter which modron gets promoted, because all modrons of a given rank are identical, except for…

Except for what?
Well, some modrons go rogue. Nobody knows why and there doesn’t seem to be any consistent way of inducing it, although chaotic creatures love to try. A rogue modron typically takes the form of a quadrone (a box with legs, arms and wings and a face on the front) and sets out exploring its independence. Rogue modrons are hated by regular modrons because they retain their ability to command lesser modrons (who can command their own lessers, and so on) and therefore pose a serious threat to modron society. Modrons will do anything they can to eliminate any rogues they find. They’re never intentionally cruel or barbaric; they’re creatures of perfect law and order, nothing more, nothing less.

So what’s this “March” all about?
Well, once every 289 years (17 times 17 years, or how long it takes the largest wheel in Mechanus to turn once) thousands of modrons spill out of Mechanus and begin marching through the planes. Nobody knows why and the modrons aren’t telling, but the common belief is that they are gathering information on the state of the planes for Primus. This march weaves through all of the Outer Planes and their associated gate-towns in a clockwise pattern and ends up back in Mechanus. This is extremely destructive, because the modrons do not stop for anything and will batter down and trample anything in their way, although they are not actually aggressive. Monodrones don’t sleep and higher-ranking modrons push themselves beyond their normal limits for the March. When they absolutely must sleep they are carried on litters. Some modrons can fly, and they carry non-flyers when necessary. All modrons can either swim or be instructed how to swim on a discretionary basis. Nothing stops the March.
Naturally the inhabitants of the places they go bitterly resist them, and since the March’s exact path changes each time, there’s no way to know in advance who’s at risk (it is believed that in their inscrutable fashion, modrons calculate the “optimal” route each time). Combine this with the inherent danger to the modrons of marching through the chaotic planes or, worse, the Lower Planes, and it’s no wonder that the March sustains horrendous casualties each time. Due to the modron promotion process, the later stages of the march end up with all higher-ranking modrons, and if there’s only one survivor it’ll always be a Quinton. There’s never been a march where no modrons made it back, but chaotic bloods always try, and Factol Pentar of the Doomguard is keen on seeing it stopped for good.

So where do we come in?
Well, you’ll see. This adventure takes place at various stages throughout the March, as the PCs are called upon to help, hinder or simply deal with the disruption the March always leaves in its wake. There’s one thing about this March that’s unusual, though: this time, for the first time ever (as far as anyone can tell), the March has started early. About a hundred and fifty years early. And nobody knows why. The idea that something is able to disrupt the routine of the logical modrons is pretty chilling, and a lot of people want to know what’s up.

I’d be happy to answer any other questions that crop up, but I think that’s solid background for now. Next post I’m going to begin the adventure.

Prism
Dec 22, 2007

yospos


Does the 'inability to recognize other modrons' apply only to drones, or do the hierarch levels have the same issue? (And if nothing else, can Primus understand all modrons, if it is granting spells to all the hierarchs?) The hierarch judge example you used suggest that, if nothing else, the judges can recognize all the ranks below them. Also, does a promoted pentadrone get to jump to decaton, or are the drones and hierarchs created seperately?

I actually don't know much about modrons at all beyond some very little bits! So the part that you thought most people know already is appreciated.

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case




Prism posted:

Does the 'inability to recognize other modrons' apply only to drones, or do the hierarch levels have the same issue? (And if nothing else, can Primus understand all modrons, if it is granting spells to all the hierarchs?) The hierarch judge example you used suggest that, if nothing else, the judges can recognize all the ranks below them. Also, does a promoted pentadrone get to jump to decaton, or are the drones and hierarchs created seperately?

I actually don't know much about modrons at all beyond some very little bits! So the part that you thought most people know already is appreciated.

In order:
1) Modrons can recognize all modrons below them, just not any above one rank. Sorry, that was unclear, the communication barrier extends only one level in both directions.
2) Primus can communicate directly to all modrons, though only the Secundi actually know what it is.
3) Yes, pentadrones become decatons.

No worries!

Prism
Dec 22, 2007

yospos


DAD LOST MY IPOD posted:

In order:
1) Modrons can recognize all modrons below them, just not any above one rank. Sorry, that was unclear, the communication barrier extends only one level in both directions.
2) Primus can communicate directly to all modrons, though only the Secundi actually know what it is.
3) Yes, pentadrones become decatons.

No worries!

Ah, so while the higher ranks can't address a multi-step-lower modron directly, they recognize it and presumably can locate the chain of command they'll have to give orders to to make it happen, at least. That makes more sense.

Thanks!

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Come be Lawful Neutral! We have the cutest weirdies!

It's a great advertisement.

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

When they passed out body parts in the comics today, I got Cathy's nose and Dick Tracy's private parts.

For better or worse, they look like gritty steampunk versions of those Minions from Despicable Me.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


They predate the minions by a ludicrously large margin.


Also I've got the next bit of Beast almost finished, the number of times that "Beasts most strongly resonate with <ANTAGONIST SPLAT>" comes up in the writeups about crossovers is honestly absurd. Except in the case of Mummies, since I'm not 100% sure which of the vomit of proper nouns is supposed to be the Antagonist splat.

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Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED


Kurieg posted:

They predate the minions by a ludicrously large margin.


Also I've got the next bit of Beast almost finished, the number of times that "Beasts most strongly resonate with <ANTAGONIST SPLAT>" comes up in the writeups about crossovers is honestly absurd. Except in the case of Mummies, since I'm not 100% sure which of the vomit of proper nouns is supposed to be the Antagonist splat.

The Deceived, Amkhata, or the Lifeless/Shuankhsen are Mummy's Designated Bad Guys.

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