lördag 23 juli 2016

Rokugan Basara III: Two Rokugans

When the Kirin faction returns, they have shed all Kirin imagery and happily indulged in cultural syncretism for generations. They are now the Unicorn, and the world will split into two.

Rough timeline:
- Empire establishes relative control over most of the lands traditionally associated with Rokugan
- short period of peace, castles and the foundations of cities are built
- Asako family travel north, building the White Castle deep in the mountains, and the Castle of Consultation further south, for guests and court
- Gozoku/Akodo tensions increase
- the Unicorn invade from the south
- Akodo Shogun uses duty to protect against barbarian threats as pretense for establishing martial law and the first shogunate
- Unicorn gradually conquer large sections of the south and west while maintaining an aggressive propaganda war against the Akodo shogunate
- both eastern and western Rokugan coexist uncomfortably for a time, maybe even generations
- decisive conflict, end of split
- Second Rise of Iuchiban
- remaining dictator militarily weakened, Imperial loyalists attempt a Hantei restoration
- if the Imperial restoration succeeds, the Hantei will hold true political power for the first time since before the Gozoku, and will be incompetent but harmless
- either the Emperor remains in charge (canon ending), a new shogunate rises from within Imperial loyalist ranks, or, if the restoration failed, the old shogunate/khanate remains in much weakened form

Rokugan after the Unicorn. I refer to my earlier maps for what it could've looked like before.

the Shogunate 

Built on a shaky alliance between Lion and Scorpion families. They hate each other, but they both hate the Unicorn more.
The Akodo have spent generations honing their skills against the Kirin remnants, many of which the Matsu and Ikoma have absorbed into their families. The Kirin aren't the Unicorn, but it's close enough to make a difference.
The Bayushi are masters of information and not above underhanded methods. The Akodo will pretend not to notice the Shosuro spies poisoning drinking water and stabbing generals in the privy.

They both believe that they are fighting a defensive war for the preservation of their culture. Notably, this preservation does not include Bharata, which the Akodo go back and fourth between ignoring and actively suppressing. Many Bharata temples are superficially converted to Fortunism or turned into schools in order to escape persecution.

The Mantis join early and give the Shogunate near complete dominance of the coast.

Shogun: Akodo Katamaru
A humourless man who combines ascetic military ideals with a deep-rooted distrust of monks. May be remembered as a noble warrior ideal and a paragon of Akodo virtues, or as a tyrant and philistine. Probably both.



the Khanate

Not quite mongol, but definitely steppe people.

Important traits that separate them from the settled Rokugani:
- ethnic diversity
- extreme cultural focus on horse and archery (suggest using "Yomanri" in-game as a Unicorn term for this cultural ideal)
- meat and blood and dairy in their diet
- largely illiterate, usually favour foreign writing systems
- no issues with touching the dead (may or may not make cups from skulls)
- no peasant class, everyone grows up in the saddle
- freestyle song battles

They enter Rokugan through the Shadowlands. They crush most of the Hida and Hiruma, who assume them to be a tainted horde, absorbing the surrendering remnants of the Crab. They proceed to conquer everything on their side of the Spine of the World, forcing Scorpion families to flee their lands and leaving the Crane weakened, divided, and confused.

Several religious groups flee the Capital of Peace for the former Scorpion city of Journey's End, also known as Greenwall, or the Green City, and the emerging Capital of the Unicorn Empire.

The Unicorn quickly find themselves in a war of two fronts, as beasts from the Shadowlands pour into the Empire after their massacre of the Crab. The Moto are delegated responsibility for the southern front and commence large-scale deforestation of the Shinomen (because wood instead of jade), causing non-tainted yokai to flood the Empire and potentially waking up the Naga.

Additionally, there is widespread drug abuse, mostly alcohol and equivalents of cannabis or opium, vices that only get worse as they settle. These things help even out the odds for the Shogunate.

Relying primarily on easy to move camps, they only really start building fortresses and castles when they reach canon Unicorn territory, and only because of rokugani (primarily Crab) influence. They do, however, greatly expand Journey's End, and initiate much of the debauchery it becomes famous for.

Early Unicorn:
All Unicorn of this era have riding and archery skills of at least 2 (even at rank 1) and the Advantage "Born in the Saddle" (unavailable to people who did not grow up in some kind of steppe-like environment). Your horsemanship skill counts double, and your Water ring (and both associated traits) count as one level higher (including for purposes of keeping dice after rolls) while on horseback. As a trade-off, it costs twice as many points to increase any high skill apart from Divination, Games, Investigation, and Perform, as well as increasing any other skills heavily associated with Rokugani culture (such as iaijutsu).

This advantage is meant to be overpowered. There's a reason the shogunate is hesitant to fight these people fair and square. It becomes increasingly rare as the Unicorn start to settle, likely disappearing completely within a few generations. Charge maybe 10 Character Points or so.

While masters of every aspect of the horse, their one clear technological superiority to Rokugan is in the quality of their bows. I'd suggest using Dai-kyu stats for the Unicorn and nerf them for the Shogunate, maybe lower strength rating to 2.

I'm cutting the Utako (/Otaku) family. Might keep the Battle Maidens as an elite force, despite their ladyland antics, except reinterpreted as a later product of rokuganization.

Khan: Shinjo Ilknur
A head taller than most in her army, broad-shouldered, muscular, and jovially charismatic. Some call her the second coming of Shinjo. Said to have personally unified the scattered and disorganised Unicorn and is leading them on a holy war to reclaim the motherland. Illiterate, no education to speak of, but intelligent and not easily deceived. Extremely strict in terms of loyalty, obedience, and performance (the disloyal, disobedient, and dangerously incompetent are informally executed without a trial), but very tolerant of cultural and religious quirks, and humble enough to heed the advice of her closest circle.
After the initial massacres, as they absorb more locals, she gradually shifts from blood-soaked warlord to the leader of a complex, sprawling, and largely rokuganized nation. More likely to die of poison or alcoholism than in battle.



the Others

Fleeing war and religious persecution, the Agasha and the Mirumoto head for the Dragon mountains, the Isawa and Shiba to the forest and coast slightly east of that. With some effort, and because they've always liked the Phoenix and Dragon families more than the Lion and consider their current alliance very much a deal with the Devil, the Bayushi convince their Akodo allies to not make war in the north while they're still fighting the Unicorn.

The Crane find themselves politically marginalized, their lands divided between the two emerging Empires. As relations between the two Empires freeze into cold war, they keep diplomatic relations with both sides. If push comes to shove, they're not unlikely to pick the Unicorn, for whose rokuganization they're partially responsible.

The Crane are likely a key player in the Hantei restoration, along with the Imperial families. As is the Scorpion, whether to rid themselves of Akodo dominance or to restore the cultural status quo. Key Scorpion demands would be getting their old lands back, including the Unicorn capital of Journey's End.

Both Kholat and Bloodspeakers will be very active throughout this era. The Kholat will build their headquarters deep in the forest in Phoenix lands and infiltrate the foreign army to the best of their ability. The bloodspeakers get ready for the second coming, an event that inspires the founding of the witch hunters.

---

Important Places:
- Capital of Peace (Shogunate Capital)
- Journey's End / Greenwall / the Green City (Unicorn Capital)
- City of the Rich Frog (starts out as a glorified trading post in the west - repeatedly torn down during the war due to being built where the most contested border between the two empires is drawn)
- Ikoma Castle (westernmost and closest to the front of Lion strongholds and the best Shogunate military architecture has to offer - headquarters of Shogun Akodo Katamaru)
- Castle of Consultation (Asako, the go-to Winter Court for the "third Rokugan" - the factions that remained neutral - and possibly the birthplace of the Hantei Restoration)
- Doji Family Palace (like much of Crane lands, largerly taken over by Shogunate armies sent to guard the Spine - many upper class and less warlike Doji flee the Palace for the Capital of Peace, and some, quietly, for Journey's End or the Castle of Consultation)
- Bayushi Family Palace (Torn down by the Unicorn, looted, left for the crows, but they never find nor manage to destroy the secret basement)

black and white map

New Mechanics:

Languages skill:
Used to learn new languages. When confronted with a new language, you can set aside time for study (a good "this winter I will..." sort of endeavor) and roll against a TN of, say, 30 - 5 per month of study (could do the roll once per month, getting increasingly easier). If you succeed, you reach stage one in that language and will have to roll Languages against TN5 to understand when it's spoken and TN10 to communicate in it. You reach stage two and three in the same way, but with higher TNs (maybe double the TN for each new stage? 60 for 2, 120 for 3). At stage two you no longer need to roll to understand or speak it. At stage three you sound more or less native.

Major foreign languages spoken in the Unicorn (primary speakers in parenthesis):
Ujik (horse nomads),
Yoban (unrokuganized northern tribes),
Senpet (fantasy egypt),
Asha (immortal desert sorcerers),
Rashari (nomadic caravan traders),
Ivindi (Ivoria? Ivory Kingdoms is a terrible name. Fantasy India),
Kharsis (pale and hairy Xavists),
Mekhem (the Medinat, Xavists)

Xavism:
The generic blank slate monotheism equivalent to the blank slate east asian monk philosophy of Bharata.
Followers "pray" instead of "meditate" (otherwise mechanically similar, different branches differ in nature and frequency of prayer), and do not get "enlightened" as followers of Bharata do. Potential special powers are more external spell-like effects interpreted as divine intervention than kiho, a possible consequence of the force of their faith colliding with surrounding kami (might make a table to roll on eventually). Strong dogmatic emphasis on Love, martyrdom, and a dualistic worldview of good and evil. Often intolerant of other religions.
Followers gain honour for acts in defense of their faith in addition to standard honour gains for their clan. While strongest among the Kharsis and Medinat, it is prevalent among a large and diverse range of foreign peoples. Their primary symbol is a heart.


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