Shinden Fu Leng


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 Post subject: Jigoku, Morality, and You!
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2015 7:48 am 
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Master of Undeath
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Daidoji Tacticus wrote:
I find Jigoku quite boring, frankly. It obliterates moral complexity. Who's the bad guy here? Well... that guy. He worships Jigoku. So let's have a Spider-y Rokugan that's about human people making human decisions.


I wanted to start a discussion about this. I honestly feel that a lot of this comes from earlier editions (and to be honest, likely even this edition of the RPG). And to some extent, I think that's because Jigoku and the Taint were originally intended as a Bad Thing, and this was a mechanical tool to be used in the RPG to represent that.
Caveat; this is from external looking in I suppose. To most inhabitants of Rokugan; "Jigoku baaaad!" But then, that's part of the point of a struggle/underdog story sometimes.

I honestly feel that within the story and narrative of L5R, Jigoku and the Taint has much more leeway than "get tainted; become mindless monster."

I'm working at the moment, so I can't dedicate the time to write an essay on this at the moment, but there are a number of examples where dark, and "evil" characters use those elements to tell compelling stories.

Some examples I can think of that I feel are similar;
the Dark Side of the Force
Orange/Red Lantern rings


But anyway, I'd be interested in a discussion on this.

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 Post subject: Re: Jigoku, Morality, and You!
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2015 7:58 am 
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I think that you need look no further than Big Daddy D to refute this assertion. Daigotsu was raised in jigoku, worshipped its champion with a fervor that would put even the most ardent rokugani to shame, to the degree that he inspired that thoroughly corrupted god to feel a brotherly love for him that he barely felt for his actual siblings, fell in love, and had a son that he wanted to give more to than he had. Daigotsu was, in short, just about as jigoku-y as possibly, and yet fits all the criteria of a Hero as you could want. he just wasn't fighting for Rokugan. That and he used some fairly disreputable means to achieve his ends and that made him a villain to the rest of rokugan, but it demonstrates that there was plenty of room for flexibility in the moral spectrum of Rokugan.

Other great of examples: Katsu, who despite being tainted worked for the good of rokugan and endured some fairly gnarly business. Omoni. I mean, really a lot of the characters around Daigotsu. He inspired those around him to a version of humanity.

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 Post subject: Re: Jigoku, Morality, and You!
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2015 8:09 am 
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I should clarify: the Taint, in and of itself, doesn't make you evil. Being Tainted doesn't immediately force you to serve Jigoku's ends; the existence of the Damned proves that, if nothing else. But Jigoku itself? Jigoku is Evil with a capital E, bent on subjugating the rest of reality and making it like itself: a formless realm of chaos and suffering. Embracing the Taint, or otherwise choosing to serve its ends? There's no ambiguity there.

I am also not clear on what Daigotsu did that could reasonably be classified as heroic. Going to enormous lengths to win a throne for his family isn't heroic; by that definition, Tywin Lannister is heroic.

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 Post subject: Re: Jigoku, Morality, and You!
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2015 8:23 am 
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I don't think I'd classify Daigotsu as heroic either. He was a villain. I don't think he was completely corrupted by Jigoku, and I feel he had very human elements and ambitions, and those were the best parts of him.

I also feel there is a differentiation to be made between the Lost Kami and Fu-Leng. While they are the same, they are different. Fu-Leng is a Kami, who fell to Jigoku and became it's ruler. He was also corrupted by Jigoku. It's jealousy infecting him. However, I think over time, even that may have been dialed back some, as he did sacrifice himself(his ultimate motives up for debate).

Daigotsu worshipped Fu-Leng the Kami, more than he worshipped Jigoku. To him I feel, the Taint is a mark of his Kami's blessing, and Jigoku and it's forces are a tool.

Other clans in the past have used the powers of Jigoku and were less than successful. They are not stigmatized for this. The Spider have been far more successful in utilizing it as a tool, for far longer. Can that last forever? Who knows. However, I think there must be a distinction between uses evil to do things, and is evil.

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 Post subject: Re: Jigoku, Morality, and You!
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2015 4:17 pm 
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Chuda Riichi wrote:
Other clans in the past have used the powers of Jigoku and were less than successful. They are not stigmatized for this. The Spider have been far more successful in utilizing it as a tool, for far longer. Can that last forever? Who knows. However, I think there must be a distinction between uses evil to do things, and is evil.


Isn't that largely do to Shourido? I could have sworn part of the reason it was create was because it jived with the mindset of the Lost, giving them a code they could live by and thus help them control themselves better. Quite simply, the Spider is more mentally prepared to handle the Taint because of their mindset. Of course I could be wrong when it comes to the Lost and Shourido.

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 Post subject: Re: Jigoku, Morality, and You!
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2015 4:34 am 
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Spinner wrote:
Chuda Riichi wrote:
Other clans in the past have used the powers of Jigoku and were less than successful. They are not stigmatized for this. The Spider have been far more successful in utilizing it as a tool, for far longer. Can that last forever? Who knows. However, I think there must be a distinction between uses evil to do things, and is evil.


Isn't that largely do to Shourido? I could have sworn part of the reason it was create was because it jived with the mindset of the Lost, giving them a code they could live by and thus help them control themselves better. Quite simply, the Spider is more mentally prepared to handle the Taint because of their mindset. Of course I could be wrong when it comes to the Lost and Shourido.


I think that's definitely a valid argument, and one fairly supported by the community(I believe), but there's no definitive link there. However, history(or at least the L5R wiki), has it being created by the gaijin Garen Hawthorne in an attempt to sow division among the empire.

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 Post subject: Re: Jigoku, Morality, and You!
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2015 7:20 pm 
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The wiki actually says it was introduced by Garen, and at the time he was a servant of the Shadow Dragon IIRC. Nothing about him creating it.

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 Post subject: Re: Jigoku, Morality, and You!
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:10 am 
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Further research provides that in Masters of Court(3rd Edition), it does attribute Daigotsu and his vassals as the creators of Shourido.

I personally think that Shourido has a lot to do with the Spider's ability to have dealings with Jigoku and not succumb to it immediately.

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 Post subject: Re: Jigoku, Morality, and You!
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:36 pm 
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Omoni told Kokujin in one of the enlightened madness fiction that so long as he is loyal to Daigotsu he need not fear the madness of the taint.

So the Spider's protection is in my eyes nothing more than protection from the champion of Jigoku, or in more recent times the master of it.

Quote:
As Daigotsu and Kyoden strode off to survey construction in another part of the city, Omoni hunched over to join Kokujin. "You do not need that," Omoni said, leering suspiciously at the chunk of jade in the tattooed man's hand. "So long as you serve Daigotsu loyally you need not fear the madness of the Taint. Let it consume you, my friend. Be reborn in its glory!"

Granted this was said by Omoni, so not reliable (though I doubt he would lie, especially to someone he considered a friend... eh?)

Enlightened Madness, Part Six

Shourido fulfilled a different purpose, but since I cannot remember the fiction names for the information I want I will try to sum it up (purely from memory).

Basically the lost after receiving the blessing of Daigotsu to retain their sanity had a need to perform their normal habits, such as worshiping ancestors. I believe to retain some sense of normalcy though I don't think it is really elaborated on. From here I believe they began the Dark Mirror which lead to worshiping Fu Leng in place of other Kami, and revering Shourido in place of Bushido.

So I guess it could be called a coping mechanism, or perhaps a system to control them more easily. Either way it had its purpose.

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