The Peony Chronicles:Main Page
The Peony Chronicles
This is the main page for the Peony Chronicles, a Legend of the Five Rings PBP game. The Peony is a short-lived flower, which matches the episodic nature of this campaign, and one that is associated with prosperity and the upper classes, which symbolizes the samurai rank of the characters in this game. This game has now ended.
Recruitment Thread: [Recruitment]
In Character Thread: [In Character]
Out of Character Thread: [Out of Character]
The campaign starts in the year 1499. A whole new century is about to start. Will it be seen by future historians as a time of peace, of war, or something between these two states?
The 40 year old Toturi XII is about to enter the 19th year of his reign, which has been marked by stability and peace. His wife, the Scorpion Shosuro Amika, died in childbirth 7 years ago, leaving him with 9 children. He has never remarried, and it is rumored that he has no concubines. Certainly, according to all gossip, he doted on his wife. The most public face of his Empire is the Imperial Herald, Miya Shikan, a fanatical devotee to the process of peace, and the reason why Toturi's reign so far has seen little warfare.
It is almost 100 years since the last daimyo of the City of the Lost in the Shadowlands died at the hands of Hiruma bushi, causing those dark forces to splinter into a myriad of different sects and groups, each fighting with the other to achieve a dominance that has never arisen. With the Shadowlands forces squabbling amongst themselves, the Empire has seen little activity from that quarter, and so far the Crab have quickly and easily dealt with any threats to the Wall.
About 75 years ago, the gaijin Thrane returned, apologizing for their previous behavior and offering recompense. An ambassador from these foreign lands has been made welcome at the court (alongside ones from the Ivory Kingdoms and Senpet), and a small part of the cleansed ruins of Otosan Uchi has been put aside for their use under the watchful eye of the Tortoise clan and the Monkey clan.
Almost 50 years ago saw the last true battle in Rokugan's fair land, the War of the Bleeding Flowers, when the Lion attacked and razed Shiro Kyotei in revenge for the deeds of the Tsume back in the 10th Century. Their land was annexed, and the Tsume family disbanded, though a few survivors still wander as ronin. The Dragon, appalled by the ferocity of the Lion attack, intervened, but were driven back by the Lion multitudes, who went on to capture part of the ancestral Tonbo lands, who were forced to become a vassal to the Dragon clan lest they face a similar fate to the Tsume. The war might have escalated, putting further Dragon lands at risk, except for the threat of the emergence of a Unicorn and Crane alliance with the Dragon which led to peace.
Around 30 years ago, plague swept Rokugan, killing many, including the Crane Clan Champion, whose widow acted as regent until their son came of age. She remains a powerful figure within the Crane Clan.
Just after the onset of plague, the Hare Clan's main castle was attacked by Maho-Tsukai, and while it was unsuccessful, it killed many Hare Maho hunters. The Phoenix Clan agreed to help the Hare rebuild, offering money and brides to the survivors, and they have rebounded somewhat thanks to this patronage from the major clan.
About 25 years ago, Miya Shikan ascended to the post of Imperial Herald. No wars have been fought since he did so, as he strenuously works to ensure that peace is kept.
Just over 20 years ago, the Crown Prince Toturi Kenji married Shosuro Amika, niece to the Shosuro family daimyo, shocking the Imperial Court and leading to a resurgence on Scorpion political power. Two years later, she gave birth to twin boys, Hatsu and Kobashi, the former being brought up at a Kakita dojo, the latter at an Akodo dojo. They are followed by 7 other children over the next 13 years.
A year later, Toturi XI retires, departing on a quest to find the Shrine of Shinsei. His son, Toturi Kenji, becomes Emperor Toturi XII, and Shosuro Amika his Empress. Scorpion political power rises further.
12 years ago, one of the most epic duels ever seen in Rokugan's history is fought, when Kakita Saburashi, the Kakita daimyo and Master Sensei of the Kakita Dueling Academy defeats Mirumoto Jinzaki, the Mirumoto Family daimyo. Two tears later, the Tournament of the Emerald Champion is won by Kakita Saburashi, but he refuses the title, claiming his performance was not worthy enough of the office despite his victory. He offers to commit seppuku for this slight, but the Emperor refuses to accept it, and he returns to his dojo to continue training. The Emperor appoints Matsu Hoketsaku, the Lion Clan Champion as his new Emerald Champion.
7 years ago, the land was shrouded in mourning as the Empress Amika died in childbirth. The Emperor orders that his throne be inlaid with 9000 sapphires (Amika's favorite gemstone), a thousand for each of the children she provided him with, in honor of her memory, and becomes known as the Sapphire Emperor.
6 years ago, Toturi Hisako, the third daughter of the Emperor, announces she will train with the Scorpion to honor her mother's memory, despite agreements that she was to be fostered by the Mantis. On the cusp of war between the Scorpion and the Mantis, Miya Shikan negotiates a peace treaty, which sees Hisako train with the Scorpion while her younger brother Hizatoru is fostered by the Mantis instead.
In the last 5 years, peace has reigned throughout Rokugan, and many hope and pray that this peace is a harbinger of a pacific century to come.
The State of the Empire
Militarily, the Crab and Lion dominate. The Crab might actually have an edge over the Lion in this regard, but for the fact that they have a considerable proportion of their troops on the Wall. Despite few attacks on the Wall in recent decades, the Crab retain their watchful eye on the Shadowlands, always ready for any resurgence in activity. The Unicorn and Dragon are both comparatively strong too, the Unicorn because of their cavalry, in which field they still dominate, and the Dragon because of an increased emphasis on this after their loss to the Lion in the War of Bleeding Flowers. The Crane likewise have been building up their forces in recent years, thanks in part to their increasing ties with the Unicorn and Dragon, and to stave off any attempts by the Lion to pick off easier targets to the south. The Mantis would have a formidable army, but most of their forces are naval, and so while they can easily defend their own lands, they would have greater difficulty fielding armies inland. The Scorpion have been increasing their power in the Imperial Court of late, and have been neglecting their armed forces to some degree, and lastly the Phoenix stay true to their pacifist ways and are capable of fielding only the smallest of armies.
In the political sphere, the Scorpion dominate, having spent the last couple of decades rising and then cementing their position through the marriage of the emperor to a Scorpion bride. With Amika's death, however, their dominance is starting to wane, and the Crane are edging closer to the Scorpion's influence at court. Thanks to military victories in the War of Bleeding Flowers and having one of their own as the Emerald Champion, the Lion are surprisingly strong in political affairs at court at present, and the Phoenix, who admire the policies of Miya Shikan, are also gathering in their political influence. The Unicorn, thanks to their new alliance with the Crane, have started to rise in the political sphere, and this has been helped by a recent engagement between a Unicorn woman and the Otomo family daimyo. The Dragon remain aloof, and their new Clan Champion seems disaffected, allowing each of the Dragon families to pursue their own ambitions rather than keeping them tightly bound together as with other clans. The Mantis and Crab are still both seen as caring little for politics, or more properly, caring little for social niceties and etiquette, and their influence at court suffers because of this.
In the economic sphere, the Mantis reign supreme. They absolutely dominate at sea, able to get their goods to market (or to trade with clans all along the coast) much more quickly than other clans. They also conduct trade with the Gaijin at Otosan Uchi, especially with the Thrane. The Crane, with their many fields and 'old money' come a close second, but the Unicorn are not far behind, thanks to their own trading ties with the Gaijin. The Crab do surprisingly well in this regard thanks to the Yasuki family, and the Lion rely on their traditional wealth and the gains they made during the War of the Bleeding Flowers. The Scorpion tend not to fare well in economic comparisons in income with other clans, but it is widely believed that a large portion of their income goes unregistered. the Dragon and Phoenix, both more ascetic and with lands dominated by mountains rather than fertile plains, do rather poorly in economic matters.
In recent years, the Dragon, Unicorn and Crane have been working together in some ways, with some marriages bringing Crane social prestige to the Unicorn, and the Unicorn providing cavalry units to help patrol the Crane lands. The Dragon have remained aloof, but benefited from the Lion's wariness about the new alliance, since they do not wish to pursue the Dragon at the expense of leaving themselves open to intervention from the Crane and Unicorn. They have recently been making overtures to the Phoenix, who remain distant from their Dragon neighbors, and are having some success with these overtures, despite the philosophical differences they have concerning violence. The Mantis and Scorpion have remained close since Miya Shikan negotiated a treaty between them, which entailed more than a few political marriages and the exchange of fostered children. The Mantis, as always, remain close to their Crab allies, but the latter still focus their attention on the Wall and the Shadowlands beyond it.
Current Player Characters
Characters from all the Great Clans (Crab, Crane, Dragon, Lion, Mantis, Phoenix, Scorpion, Unicorn) and Minor Clans (Badger, Bat, Dragonfly, Falcon, Fox, Hare, Monkey, Sparrow and Tortoise) will be welcomed, be they Bushi, Shugenja or Courtiers.**
- I have the Core Book, Emerald Empire, Enemies of the Empire, and Great Clans books, so any characters (with the exceptions mentioned below) from those are ok. I don't have Imperial Histories yet, so if you want something from that book, you may have to do a lot of typing to show everything about the character you want. Create characters as standard beginning characters with 40 points.
- No monks (including Ise Zumi and Henshin), ronin, Imperials families, spider clan, ninja or artisans, and no non-humans (such as Nezumi or Naga) please. On minor clans, treat the Badger and Falcon as vassal families of the Crab, Dragonfly as a vassal family of the Dragon, Fox as a vassal family of the Mantis, Bat, Hare and Sparrow as the Minor Clan Alliance, and Monkey and Tortoise as Imperial vassals (you can't play Toturi (who is still on the throne), Seppun, Miya or Otomo, but you can play Monkey or Tortoise if you wish). Minor Clan schools can be used, even where those minor clans are vassals of major clans. If you have a truly desperate need to play one of the banned roles listed above, let me know, and we may be able to work something out. I won't ban any advantages or disadvantages, but I reserve the right to change my mind if / when I read up on them when you create your characters (in other words, nothing springs to mind immediately that you shouldn't choose, but I'd have to look over them properly in case something seems too bad).
A Note on Glory, Infamy and Status
Glory and Infamy
Glory reflects how well-known a Hero is for performing courageous, impressive, and noteworthy deeds. Infamy reflects how well-known a Hero is for performing dishonorable, embarrassing, or criminal deeds. All characters begin the game with a Glory Rank of 1 (10 points) and an Infamy Rank of zero (unless they took Bad Reputation).
Glory and Infamy can be increased - or decreased - during play as a result of your Hero's actions, much like your Honor.
Characters gain Glory by acting courageously, skillfully, and with honor. Many adventures award Glory for success, and the GM can also make small Glory awards for exceptional deeds. On the other hand, a PC can lose Glory for failing to complete an assigned task, for committing minor breaches of etiquette, losing duels or other contests, and so forth. Glory is also lost for inactivity - any time a PC completes an adventure without gaining any Glory, the PC instead loses 1 Glory point. (However, this cannot lower the PC's Glory Rank below their Insight Rank.)
Glory can never be lower than zero, and can never rise higher than rank 10.
PCs gain points of Infamy by committing dishonorable, cruel, disgusting, or criminal deeds, such as stealing or getting caught in a lie. Even if the PC manages to avoid any direct legal or social consequences for the act, some Infamy may still accrue, as the PC becomes known in the Empire for his/her unpleasant acts. Infamy is awarded by the GM, based on a player's actions. Some adventures may also award Infamy for specific bad acts.
Once a PC acquires Infamy, it does not go away unless an adventure specifically awards a reduction. There is no upper limit on how much Infamy a PC can gain.
Consequences of Infamy If a Clan or Imperial character's Infamy rises too high, others of higher rank will take notice and punish the character for behaving too disgracefully. For a normal character, the "cut-off" for this is if the PC's Infamy exceeds the combined total of the PC's Glory and Status. However, Mantis and Tortoise PCs get more leeway - they are not penalized until their Infamy exceeds the combined total of their Glory and their Status x2. Scorpion PCs get more leeway still - they are not penalized until their Infamy exceeds the combined total of their Glory x2 and their Status x2.
A PC whose Infamy rises too high will be expelled from their family/Clan, becoming ronin. This will, however, have a side benefit - since their social status has dropped, they are less widely recognized, and their Infamy drops by one Rank.
Ronin can accumulate any amount of Infamy. However, having a high Infamy as a ronin can be hazardous. If a ronin's infamy ever reaches or exceeds Rank Six, they will become a wanted criminal and have a Bounty placed on their heads, making them a target for every Magistrate and Wasp in the Empire.
While Glory represents how famous a character is, Status represents the character's rank and position in the Celestial Order. Normally, all PCs start with a Status of 1.0, except for Minor Clan and Vassal Family PCs (who start with 0.5).
The Social Position advantage increases a character's starting Status by one rank (10 points). No PC may purchase more than one Rank of Social Position at character generation.
The disadvantage "Social Disadvantage" normally reduces a character's Status by five (5) points.
During play, a character can gain (or lose) Status in the same manner as Glory and Honor. However, Status changes are generally much rarer than changes in those other stats. A character who is reduced to ronin loses all Status until and unless the character is accepted into a new Clan.
Status is very important in social and legal interactions in Rokugan. Generally speaking, lower-Status characters are expected to defer to those of higher Status, and in legal cases the testimony of those with higher Status is given more weight.
On Marriage, Lovers and Homosexuality
When Toturi Kenji married Shosuro Amika, the Imperial Court was set alight with gossip. The marriage had not been arranged, and it was widely believed that they two had married for love, setting off a short period where this factor was in vogue before traditional arranged marriages reasserted themselves. Likewise, when Amika died a few years ago, another wave of similar marriages for love crashed against the cliffs of tradition, but again this has now waned, and arranged marriages are once again the most common form of marriage amongst samurai.
One of the duties of all samurai is to their own family, which means that they should marry and have children to continue their line. Since most marriages are arranged, this frequently leads to unions where one or both partners do not feel love for their spouse, or where one or both spouses has feelings for another. The taking of lovers is thus somewhat common in Rokugan (and indeed many couples have arrangements and understandings on this matter, where both are aware of their spouse's lovers but do not bring attention to the fact). The taking of lovers is not in itself dishonorable, but it should remain discreet. Any public revealing of such affairs is something that adversely affects honor and glory.
There is no stigma against homosexuality in Rokugan, but gay samurai are still expected to marry members of the opposite sex in order to fulfil their duty to their house as mentioned above. Since many arranged marriages between men and women are loveless but done for the sake of politics or creating social ties and alliances, and for procreation in order to provide heirs to the family name, Rokugano society expects gay samurai to similarly marry spouses who they do not share any affection for, and must similarly do their duty. Homosexual samurai almost always take gay lovers in the same way as their heterosexual kinsmen and kinswomen take lovers, and again are only stigmatized when their illicit affairs are revealed. There is no greater stigma for homosexual samurai found to have a secret lover than for heterosexual samurai found to have secret lovers. In both cases, affairs are to be kept discreet and social penalties only affect those who have their private affairs made public.
When making a roll, please note the following things in your post:
1) The trait and skill dice you’re using.
2) Any raises you want to make (including any free raises you get). If in combat, what you hope to accomplish with those raises. Remember that normally you can only raise a number of times equal to your void trait.
3) Any advantages or disadvantages that affect the roll.
4) Any technique that affects the roll.
5) Any void points you want to spend.
6) Anything else that might affect the roll (for ex stance, wounded penalty etc).
Make rolls using Invisible Castle (Invisible Castle), and add the link to your post. If you don’t state (for ex your stance) something, I’ll assume you are just using the normal state of affairs (like attack stance). For combat, I will make the damage roll for you if you successfully hit to save time, so also include in your post anything that might affect the damage roll (for ex what weapon you’re using, techniques etc). If there is some penalty or bonus that you are unaware of (for ex, someone casts a spell on you), I can look at your Invisible Castle roll and see what your last dice result was, and remove that from the ones you can keep, which might give you a new total if that one was the one that had exploded 4 times. If I need to, I can also roll extra dice and add them, which might affect your total more positively. Therefore, if you want to purposefully lose a roll or take the lowest dice for damage etc, let me know in your post.
I will make your initiative rolls. In your post, say what you are doing, what stance you’re using, what weapons etc, and what actions you are taking (for ex a complex action to attack the Lion on the left, or a simple action to move toward the door and another simple action to draw your katana). If you want to make raises to make a called shot etc, state that too, otherwise I will assume you are just making a normal attack. If you are hit and wounded, and want to do something about your wounds, state in your next post that you’re going to use a void point to stop 10 hits from getting through.
Iaijutsu and Taryu-Jiai duels:
In the assessment round, note what information about your opponent you hope to discover. Remember that for every raise, you can learn an extra piece of information (see p. 87 of the core rules). Then we will do the focus and strike rounds simultaneously if neither side decides to concede, so make both your Focus / Void roll and your Iaijutsu / Reflexes rolls. Unless you state that you will attack if you strike second, if your opponent strikes first and hits, your strike roll will be ignored. For Taryu-Jiai duels (shugenja duels), use Spellcraft rather than Iaijutsu. I will roll damage using the ring you have affinity with.
The "Don't be a dick" rule
Don't attack the other players, or their characters, unless you have some serious reason to do so (for ex, they've been possessed by some evil kansen and are attacking you). Remember that you character is going to be adventuring with the other characters; if you're a dick, they're not going to want to adventure with you, and that will lead to your character being dropped from the game. See also: Being antagonistic to NPCs for no reason whatsoever.