[dragon] To Jigoku, with the Taint
ilan.muskat at mail.mcgill.ca
Mon Nov 11 13:33:06 EST 2002
So I write my comment about balanced play, when I feel Hida Yakamo smack me
upside the head with his big-ass flaming Jade hand.
Here's what I want to see, basically. I want to see an argument, based on
AN ODE TO NOT BEING CORRUPT
a diatribe in four parts.
[Part The First: MetaPlot]
This argument against taint is strictly in-game, in-character.
- A little bit of Taint goes a long way. Think of Jigoku as a big tentacled
monster living underground. A *big* monster. Its tentacles reach up, and
if you're bold, you can grab one. It wraps around your arm. If you're
weak, it will pull you through and eat you. If you're strong, you grip it
and yank. You can then move the world, by wrestling with the monster. You
get a lot of power. But you have to be tied to the tentacle (though if
you're strong enough, it won't pull you down right away). Sooner or later,
your strength will fail, and the tentacle will pull you down. Unless you
decide to let go of the tentacle.
Please note that just because you let go of the tentacle does not mean it
will let go of you. That's what "control" means. You are in Jigoku's
clutches once the tentacle grips you. There is ultimately no way to sever
yourself from that fate, so if you seize the tentacle, you'd better know
*exactly why*, and *exactly for how long you expect to live once you seize
it*. And you'd better have an exit plan, be it a Wakizashi or a Yojimbo
who'll kill you when you hit the point of no return.
Sometimes, there is *no other choice*. Taki, Tamori, both did what they did
(and became monsters) to save not only the Empire, but the entire world--and
every other world. Tengoku, Yomi, Meido, Chikushido, even Gaki-do and
Jigoku would have been destroyed if not for the heroes of Oblivion's Gate.
They were just unfortunate enough not to be killed after saving the world.
Plus, it's not as if Tadaka and Tsuke and everyone were *trying* to get the
future with the Ashuras and the Goju Hitomi when they opened those black
scrolls. Almost everyone who gets tainted has the best intentions when they
start. But some save the world.
[Part The Second: Mechanics]
There is *no* discussion of metaplot or character here.
- Hogai. Vedau. Shaitung. Nyima. Akuai. Shunsen. And I'm missing a
few. But basically the point is that corrupt tattooed attaX0r works. These
are also probably the coolest-looking of the Dragon personalities.
Nonetheless, if you take this gang of thugs and throw them at a KC deck,
they will find their own tattooed asses being handed to them.
The point being, in order for the Dragon to have *any* say in what happens
in their clan in the future, they gots to win. They *gots* to win. Without
Dragon victories, it doesn't matter what's in any player's deck. If we're
running 3 of each unaligned personality and one of each personality who
can't join our clan (Yojiro, Nimuro, Kurohito XP) then it may look like a
shiny new theme deck, a hope for peace in Rokugan, but nobody will care
because it will only be playing one round.
So discussions of *what to include in the deck* matter only when talking
about seriously competitive decks. If you're looking for a Dragon win at
GC2003, start thinking of ways you can hold off a Lion blitz, break through
a Crane blockade, deal with Gobbo blitz and Corrupt Yogo, not fold to
Phoenix Control... for a while, the strongest Dragon decks have been the
comparatively clean ones. If seriously winning takes a corrupt mine, or a
Porcelain Mask or Armor of Shadows, are you going to let the Empire fall to
the Horde as a matter of principle? It may not come to that, of course.
Dragon will probably stay strongest without taint, because we want to use
our high-HR, clean-shaven badasses. Find what wins.
[Part The Third: Solidarity] (see addendum*)
This deals with in-game effects of in-character discussion.
- The Dragon Clan has been used as a lobbying force in the past. I
understand the draw of this, as efforts by the HDM, both online and at
tournaments, made Hitomi get good, ie., not evil (but mannish). A united
front, be it a mailing list (not necessarily this one) or groups at
tournaments wearing a given badge (a dragon with a halo, maybe?), or even
challenges to other players at tournaments, can give the story team ideas
for what the Dragon players want.
On the other hand, the clan must also come to a consensus based on the
*actual* feelings of its members. In-character, Matsu Kinra is a member of
the Lion Clan, but as he's a Dragon Clan Student (and students are *very*
important to the Dragon Clan) he would still have some input, or opinion, on
what the clan will do -- whether he would take up swords and fight alongside
Tamori against the Phoenix, or investigate the rumors of dark omens in the
skies. Regardless, every player's in-game persona on this list will have a
different stance (be it Akagi, Hakene, Kenryoku, Shosei, Shiryu, or Kuaki).
*None* of these characters can clearly hear Yokuni's voice, nor read any
prophecies about the future. So among ourselves, we have to choose a
direction. Only then can there be true solidarity.
[Part The Fourth: Clan Character]
- Togashi Yokuni was noble, visionary, and relentless in his pursuit of a
bright future for all those under his protection. The members of his clan
are the heirs to his vision and his hope. Yokuni is now in Tengoku (er, or
maybe in Satsu), no longer directly guiding the decisions of his clan (yet).
We are mortals; we are his heirs, and we need to pursue his dream of a
brighter future for all of Rokugan. We cannot seek power for its own ends.
Basically, the Dragon Clan, enigmatic as it seems, is a force for good.
Well, it was. With Hitomi's ascension, it became a force for destiny, but
it relies on its members to find this vision. There's no Uikku prophecy for
people to run around citing, and there's no clear future. So the children
of Togashi *and* Hitomi, and their sworn guardians (Mirumoto) and followers
(Tamori, Kitsuki) must decide whether to pursue the new future the same way
they pursued the old future.
Obviously, many people, myself included, hope it will be a choice for
purity, redemption, and peace. But there's no way to know for sure. In
many ways, this is the hardest time for the Dragon, because we must face the
future without clear knowledge of what shape it will take. Even Hoshi can't
tell what lies in store. He's fighting Ashuras.
* (The bad part about on-list advocacy is that it encourages thuggery. "How
dare you even *say* that taint is not evil on this list! Rich Wulf will
read it and condemn us all to damnation! We will become corrupted 'cause
you said that, and we'll get the Ashuras and the Goju Hitomi!" Quiet. We
can maintain a kind of solidarity without making the Dragon list into a "No
Gurlz" club. And by "Gurlz" I mean taint-tolerant players. The best way to
pursue a *specific* kind of solidarity is to make it explicit. This list,
being hosted by the Mountain Keep page, obviously once had a mandated bias
toward HDM principles. But it's for the whole clan! I would suggest that
people who will brook *no* discussion of taint move to the old HDM list, or
start a new "inflexible dragon movement" list. That way, when you declare
that the Dragon are "too diverse" and have "too much tolerance for
individual thought" because you didn't read "Way of the Dragon" for the RPG,
you can expect other people to agree with you, not to get posts calling you
a philistine. Guilty as charged.)
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