Actual Play – The Taint Spreads (7/12/2010)

GM: Travis Lindquist
Players: Sean, Alec, Omar, Steve and Tracy
System: L5R

Things are bad in Rokugan. Rei fought an army of undead (which scared the crap out of her) to deal with the religious strife near otomo lands. Omar’s Scorpion stole the wakazashi of the Asahina Daimyo to blackmail him into allowing the Sohei to be a new order. Shimizu, Shiko and Shinji solved other woes of the land and its people.

What rocked

All the Kansen just itching to talk to Shiji… and the evil sheep. Evil sheep for the win.

Rei’s phobia of the shadowland hitting her hard in a big battle. She won the fight but was a coward in the end.

Shimizu recovered the Yasuki province by getting the Crab to back out and the Mantis to back off! All by declaring himself governor of the Yasuki provinces. This should be good!

Shiko was asked by the Shiba Daimyo to find the effing Soul of Shiba! God damn… talk about a tall order. Well he found it, in a heavenly constellation. I guess some of us are going to have to go up to the heavens to get it back… talk about an honorable higher purpose!

Scorpion actors are just effing scary, but see below…

What could have improved

I’m still not sure I did Rei’s phobia justice.  When Shimizu see’s fire he runs his ass off…  Rei just fought on with a penalty.  I want to find a way to demonstrate how her fear affects her.  It will probably come out in her lessons to her son.

Scorpion being shady conniving bastards feels cliché to me, and I think it makes those who defend the existence of the Scorpion have a hard time. What culture would allow the existence of known thieves and assassins?

Forgetting a lot due to time (need to write these sooner and when I have more energy).

3 thoughts on “Actual Play – The Taint Spreads (7/12/2010)”

  1. Regarding the Scorpion: 1. it’s their job to do it in the service of the Empire. The fact that over time this has become more self-serving than that for a lot of Scorpion doesn’t change the fact that it’s pretty much their charter.

    2. They mostly get away with it by not being caught. Or at least not by anyone who can testify against them (either they’re lower status/not believable/or highly blackmailable).

    3. They’re still useful to a lot of people. If you need something accomplished out of the light of day, and have a Scorpion buddy, you may have a deal.

    4. They’ve been banished twice now and been scapegoat a few times more. Pretty much whenever the Empire needs a whipping-clan, the Scorpion are it. So they don’t exactly get away scot-free.

    1. All good points. I think part of my frustrations is that I don’t see those canon elements in the game. I never see Scorpion suffer or lament. I just see them be assholes so knowing that bad stuff has happened to them isn’t the same as actually experiencing it in game. My personal experiences is that they always have the upper hand, always have another trick up their sleeve and always make out better than whoever they are dealing with in the end.

      In short, I could use some Scorpion tragedy… Maybe I should make a Yogo 🙂

      1. Well, they *are* intended to be villains So NPCs tend to get used in that fashion. It’s an easy stereotype. Add in Rokugan’s general expectation of stoicism, and you won’t find a lot of whiny, emo Scorpion around. The Crab get to be all obvious about what they sacrifice to protect the Empire.

        Fiction shows a fair bit of the sacrifice that holding Loyalty as your highest goal can require. Usually players only get to see that when they’re playing one and the GM lays orders on them. This is usually not the most pleasant thing in the world, particularly if it’s of the “orders say to betray your friends” variety. Unless done very well, this is unfun for the entire group. So is having the Scorpion in the group who just wants to steal shit from the rest of the party (not much different from the annoying version of D&D thief player).

        I never recommend Scorpion as someone’s first character. It’s tricky to play without falling on one side or the other of the stereotypes and either pissing everyone else off or having no fun yourself. So much easier to be a smashy Crab! :p I’ve had both successful and unsuccessful attempts at Scorpion characters, but they’ve all been entertaining and challenging to play.

        Non-L5R moments: Giles killing Ben was a very Scorpion moment for him. Not just willing to do the morally ambiguous to save the world..but also to save someone he’s extremely loyal to from having to make that decision.

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