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Author Topic: Samurai World (tabletop RPG): "Legend of the Five Rings + Eclipse Phase"  (Read 5173 times)

Skynet

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So I recently made a tabletop RPG ("Samurai World") and am in the process of play-testing it. I'm posting it here for feedback purposes.

The Pitch: Post-Apocalyptic Post-Scarcity Samurai Drama. Players are samurai who are tasked with the unenviable goal of protecting the "Samurai Republic of Gizen" from its many threats - the Shadow, the peasant militia, criminals, and the feuds. Will the Samurai Republic rebuild itself? Or is it irreparably damned?

Fluff: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1z-waBB10njAq9GLWEbuWMTlpdnVtDCmdueDYzmjktbs/edit?usp=sharing

Mechanics: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1heSWI0qdNONs5_aP9hs7HMw20TNRF2Ni0BYBW6-tuZc/edit?usp=sharing

As the thread title states, the RPG is a combination of "Legend of the Five Rings" (pseudo-Japanese samurai drama) and "Eclipse Phase" (transhumanist post-apocalypse). Blending the two settings can lead to rather...interesting results. As a gross oversimplification, the Samurai Republic has the social norms of "fantasy samurai" (honor, popularity and relevance of religion, magic, caste system, etc.) but the technological advancement of "transhumanism" (replicators, immortality, augmentations, Faster-Than-Light travel, etc.).

There's also a couple of other works that was used to help build this RPG as well. All works used are detailed in the "Appendix N" section of the Fluff link.

I'm happy to answer any questions you may have about this setting and its mechanics. I hope you like it.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2021, 03:02:58 pm by Skynet »
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EuchreJack

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Without reading anything, I guess my first question would have to be "how is this not just a supplement of Eclipse Phase", as that game has various different worlds, habitats, virtual realities, etc where pretending to be Samurai would make a lot of sense.  What is different?  Alright, time to read, first guess: no AI?

EDIT: Very good!  I read through the fluff section.  It's different enough from Eclipse Phase, but it might be worth continuing to ask that question "How is this reality different?"

Skynet

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Glad to see you like it, EuchreJack.

Eclipse Phase is probably open enough to allow for multiple settings. In fact, someone made a Reddit thread about having Alpha Complex in Eclipse Phase. But there are some differences between Samurai World and Eclipse Phase. Here's a couple I can think of:

- Samurai World is a bit more skeptical about technology leading to social progress (especially with the feuds occurring thanks to technological advancement), while Eclipse Phase is more positive about technology's impact on society.
- People understand the Shadow's motive (to force the creator-deity to abandon the universe), while the motive of the Exsurgents and the TITANs (the main enemy of Eclipse Phase) is still unknown to the masses.
- Religion is well-respected in the Samurai Republic, while it is mostly disregarded in vanilla Eclipse Phase. This may be because in the Samurai Republic, it is possible to talk to supernatural beings (or, if you're of a non-religious mindset, alien species that are just so highly advanced that we might as well call them supernatural). Contact with supernatural beings/advanced-xenos in Eclipse Phase is limited.
- When you reincarnate in Samurai World, you lose your memory. When you reincarnate in Eclipse Phase, you keep your memory.
- In Samurai World, the "anti-existential risk" faction (Seikatsu Industries) is a corporation of the Samurai Republic. In Eclipse Phase, the "anti-existential risk" faction (Firewall) operates more independently.
- In Samurai World, the default assumption is that you play as Pythons, samurai who serve as law-enforcement agents of the Samurai Republic...which can lead to moral ambiguity, as sometimes you may have to face off against the "anti-existential risk" faction from time to time if they seek to endanger society in the process of "saving sapient life". In Eclipse Phase, you are all agents working for Firewall, which means you're pretty much on-board the "anti-existential risk" agenda, no matter what it takes.
- Uplifts can be both plants and animals in Samurai World. In Eclipse Phase, only animals can be uplifted.
- Forking (also known as "personality cloning") is illegal in the Samurai World, but tolerated in Eclipse Phase.

AI do exist in Samurai World, and are given legal rights as "sapients". However, there are also non-sapient machines as well in the Samurai Republic, and sapients don't really like being dependent on them. I'm not actually sure how Eclipse Phase handles non-sapient machines.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2021, 09:25:28 pm by Skynet »
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EuchreJack

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Hm, having the players as Pythons puts more work on the GM, since there is no Boss of the Pythons, plus the GM has to figure out how exactly this particular group of Samurai joined together into a Python cell.  Presumably, some Python somewhere recruited at least one of the players.  The players should decide whether they are a covert or overt Python cell, especially as they all need to cooperate, if on nothing else, at least on that point.  They can also split between Official Python and sneaky undercover Python.

Conversely, this gives you a lot more to write about.  You'll get to 100 pages for your book yet!
Players as Pythons does have the advantage in that they're more like the traditional adventurer troupe.  They can take work or decline work based upon the group's opinion.  Other than coming off as dregs, there is no penalty for declining to help.

Reading through the Mechanics, what is an Advancement?

Under Clan Moves and Starting Gear, for Jiyū Federation the move is listed as Body Move.

Skynet

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Hm, having the players as Pythons puts more work on the GM, since there is no Boss of the Pythons, plus the GM has to figure out how exactly this particular group of Samurai joined together into a Python cell.  Presumably, some Python somewhere recruited at least one of the players.  The players should decide whether they are a covert or overt Python cell, especially as they all need to cooperate, if on nothing else, at least on that point.  They can also split between Official Python and sneaky undercover Python.

That's an interesting point - I think I would have the players decide on the table the origins of their specific Python cell, and why they got recruited into the organization.

As for not having any Boss, that might not be that big of an issue as you may think. I'm currently playing in a L5R campaign where the leader of the Emerald Magistrates was assassinated "died of natural causes", but the "Emerald Magistrate" organization continued to run on autopilot. Until a new leader gets selected, we received orders from an Emerald Magistrate who claimed to have a higher prestige than us.

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Conversely, this gives you a lot more to write about.  You'll get to 100 pages for your book yet!

I actually hope to not write more pages, at least for this core rulebook. The more pages you have, the harder it is to people to onboard themselves into the setting and to remember all the details afterwards. That being said, I'll be more than happy to consider writing expansions or follow-up material for this setting if it proves popular enough.

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Players as Pythons does have the advantage in that they're more like the traditional adventurer troupe.  They can take work or decline work based upon the group's opinion.  Other than coming off as dregs, there is no penalty for declining to help.

Exactly.

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Reading through the Mechanics, what is an Advancement?

In the mechanics link, on Slides 21 to 28, there are character sheets for the four classes - Warrior, Courtier, Monk, and Mystic. On the back of the character sheet, there is a list of possible "Advancements" that you could take. Whenever you gain enough Honor, you can select a checkbox, which allows you to gain that Advancement.

Quote
Under Clan Moves and Starting Gear, for Jiyū Federation the move is listed as Body Move.

Oops. Thanks for catching that typo. It's fixed now.
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EuchreJack

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Retire, becoming a useful NPC or Family
Would totally take that Advancement on every character as my first Advancement.  Guess who recruited my next character?  ;D

Quote
Conversely, this gives you a lot more to write about.  You'll get to 100 pages for your book yet!

I actually hope to not write more pages, at least for this core rulebook. The more pages you have, the harder it is to people to onboard themselves into the setting and to remember all the details afterwards. That being said, I'll be more than happy to consider writing expansions or follow-up material for this setting if it proves popular enough.

But, how are you going to charge $50 for a hardcover release if you don't have 100 pages?

More seriously, I've played in like 10-15 role playing sessions my entire life, and I've had to GM most of them.  I've bought/read an equal number of role playing books, more if I include "mostly read" at the bookstore.  Some people like Role Playing sourcebooks for the world, setting, and details, and for them, longer is better.  Fluff it up!
If you're worried about overburdening the players/GMs, you can divide it up into Player Info, GM Info, and Fluff Info.  The only canon is the one that the GM uses to shoot players who argue with them.

Cathar

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I haven't read the fluff yet, and I'm a bit unfamiliar with Eclipse, but that project interests me. I have a couple notes tho - most of them about the doopy stuff your setting inherits from L5R.

• Void as an element is very clumsy. Japanese zen mysticism, Onmyodo uses the chinese weel of elements (same as fengshui) Fire, Water, Metal, Wood, Earth. Using the Aristotelician elements (fire water air earth) + void is not only a bit clumsy but it also marks your work with L5R easily identifiable brand of clumsyness. In my opinion, the chinese/zen wheel is by itself a better magic system than L5R - but you probably could make a better one yourself. Replacing the elements by state of matter, like, plasma, gas, liquid, mineral and organic would probably be a better fit for a cyber-samurai setting.
• The over specialization of clan always bugged me in L5R and I believe should be revisited. L5R gave really no shit about the coherence of their setting, the lore was written by the card game tournament winners. In actuality, having over specialized clans (one specializes in culture and poetry, and is sitting right between two clans who specialize respecively in massive armor and in massive armies) only makes sense in a setting where the empire is unified, and in L5R, it is not. Making the branches of your government fight each other makes no sense, and having warlords specialized in culture and poetry make no sense either. If you want to make a setting inspired by the sengoku jidai civil war, the armed katana-spear samurai should be the bread and butter of every clan, and specialists (diviners, tacticians, intellectuals, shinobi etc.) should not be, neither the exclusive production of a clan, nor their exclusive property.

I'll read the fluff a bit later, but I like it so far. I hope it helps

Edit :

So I read the fluff a bit, and I feel like I'm missing something.

• Why samurai ? Most of the fluff is western coded philosophy - be it the ancap tones or greek philosophy. The samurai side of the fluff looks like it's painted over and doesn't fit the setting. Samurai were a class comprised mostly of warriors and only make sense in a feudal, fractured, hierarchical society. If "anyone can be a samurai", we're not talking about samurai anymore.
• I would add that it is true for any warrior nobility class to be incompatible with a democratic republic. Knights and other warrior elite are simply made obsolete in a society that can mass produce soldiers. In europe and in japan, the advent of democracy is what put an end on armed nobility, despite concerted and violent efforts to make them fit the mold - it just doesn't work. If people can vote, their first move is almost always to remove blood privilege.
• But the samurai class is especially incompatible with the corpos, as confucianist philosophy woven in the samurai's education forbids them to partake in commerce (merchants are at the bottom of the social pyramid).

So I guess my question would be ; why samurai ? They seem to be the absolute antithesis of the setting.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2021, 01:32:20 pm by Cathar »
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EuchreJack

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I think fleshing out the Peasant Militia would answer a lot of questions, since they're what the players would be if they weren't Samurai.

Skynet

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Quote from: EuchreJack
But, how are you going to charge $50 for a hardcover release if you don't have 100 pages?

More seriously, I've played in like 10-15 role playing sessions my entire life, and I've had to GM most of them.  I've bought/read an equal number of role playing books, more if I include "mostly read" at the bookstore.  Some people like Role Playing sourcebooks for the world, setting, and details, and for them, longer is better.  Fluff it up!
If you're worried about overburdening the players/GMs, you can divide it up into Player Info, GM Info, and Fluff Info.  The only canon is the one that the GM uses to shoot players who argue with them.
I have a feeling that's going to have to happen, as there's more stuff that I discover that needs to be fleshed out during play. I might make another book later on that will contain more fluff.

By the way, the vast majority of the fluff document is licensed under CC-BY. If people want to write fluff and even commercialize said fluff, they can do so very easily. They just need to provide attribution.
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Quote from: Cathar
Void as an element is very clumsy.
Yeah, I think I'll try to think of a better name to use. Mechanically, there are three main stats: Focus, Vigilance, and Void. Void is kinda the odd one out, and need a retheme.

Quote from: Cathar
The over specialization of clan always bugged me in L5R and I believe should be revisited.
Well, the number of "clans" got reduced from 8 to 5, which I think should stop the overspecialization. Mechanically, the only difference between the "clans" is your starting inventory, "energy credits", and unique Move. All clans have access to specialists and "armed katana-spear samurai". The fluff does mention sectors that the clans specialize in, but it's a minor detail that can be ignored for the sake of gameplay.

Quote from: Cathar
So I read the fluff a bit, and I feel like I'm missing something.

I'll give a bit of backstory to justify what happened.

Originally, "Samurai World" was a PbtA conversion of 'Legend of the Five Rings', inspired by Dungeon World. Playtesting went well, but it turned out that I was getting sick of the standard Rokugani setting for various reasons. One of them was the existence of feudalism and the inherent caste-based system, something that L5R tries to ignore or explain away so that it could then focus on the intrigues of the samurai and the conflict between Rokugan and the Shadowlands. The intrigues were cool...but ignoring the class conflict was far less cool, and ignoring the elephant in the room annoyed me.

I originally thought about advancing the Rokugan setting into the sci-fi era, in the hopes that changing the setting would breathe in new life into Rokugan. Yet, I also didn't want to to deal with the class conflict and preferred to keep the focus on the intrigues and the Rokugan/Shadowlands war. The solution was to have the setting take place after the fall of feudalism. Can't wage a war against feudalism if feudalism fell apart, after all.

There has been at least three attempts at creating a futuristic Rokugan setting - one of them kept the feudal structure intact (while also keeping them hyper-specialized in their tasks while still blowing each other up for petty reasons), while the other two settings pretended to keep the feudal structure but moved over to a corporate-style model of governance - essentially the clans turned into "clan-corporations". I leaned more towards this latter approach, since it seemed that if society was to modernize in the future, it would necessarily move away from feudalism to capitalism.

I also did playtesting in this new futuristic Rokugani setting, entitled Cyber-Samurai. Playtesting went well, but I was still somewhat dissatisfied with the limitations Rokugan imposed on me. A playtester also pointed out that the setting itself didn't actually end feudalism - Rokugan simply embraced "corporate feudalism" instead. The class conflict still lurked in the background, trying to be desperately ignored.

The main impetus for me moving away from Cyber-Samurai is the realization that if I wanted to commercialize the "Samurai World" RPG, then I could not use this futuristic Rokugani setting. So, I left Rokugan behind outright, and created this brand new setting - the "Samurai Republic of Gizen". I was freed from the limitations imposed by the L5R source material, and could simplify or eliminate unnecessary stuff (such as reducing the number of clans from 8 down to 5). It was...liberating.

Maybe I went overboard with that freedom though, and I might need to step back a bit.

Quote from: Cathar
Why samurai ? Most of the fluff is western coded philosophy - be it the ancap tones or greek philosophy. The samurai side of the fluff looks like it's painted over and doesn't fit the setting. Samurai were a class comprised mostly of warriors and only make sense in a feudal, fractured, hierarchical society. If "anyone can be a samurai", we're not talking about samurai anymore.

As for "why samurai", it's because in the previous playtests of "Samurai World", players role-played as samurai. The mechanics of the game were intended to reflect the lives of samurai, and trying to have people play as anyone else would require me to change the mechanics significantly and do a lot of play-testing. So when I wrote this new setting, I had to make sure samurai played a prominent role.

That "anyone can be a samurai" quote was there because I was kinda stuck how to justify how people could become samurai in this "corporate feudalistic" society. Note that you can be a samurai if you swear loyalty to the Samurai Republic and give up your autonomy to that collective, which is a pretty high price for people to pay. Also, the latest edition of L5R does allow upward mobility for peasants to become samurai, legally by getting themselves "adopted" into a samurai family...and illegally by grabbing a katana from the dead corpse of a samurai, claiming to be a ronin, and then eventually getting in the good graces of a clan. So anyone could be a samurai in L5R...but it's not easy.

I do think you're right about the fluff leaning too much into "western coded philosophy", and I'll probably need to write some more "Japanese coded philosophy" to balance out the setting. I think this is where too much freedom tends to lead to problems. Though, in my defense, the corporations are themselves "feudal, fractured, [and] hierarchical" - especially due to shareholder families competing against one another.

Quote from: Cathar
I would add that it is true for any warrior nobility class to be incompatible with a democratic republic. Knights and other warrior elite are simply made obsolete in a society that can mass produce soldiers. In europe and in japan, the advent of democracy is what put an end on armed nobility, despite concerted and violent efforts to make them fit the mold - it just doesn't work. If people can vote, their first move is almost always to remove blood privilege.

The Samurai Republic is inspired by the real-life Republic of Ezo. After the Tokugawa Shogunate was defeated by the forces of the Meiji Restoration, elements of the former shogun's military decided to occupy the island of Hokkaidō to stage a last-ditch resistance against the anti-feudal forces. The Republic itself was organized as a democratic republic...where only the samurai is given the right to vote. It was heavily influenced by French ideals, and received the support of several French military advisors.

The Republic of Ezo lasted 6 months and was destroyed by the forces of the Meiji Restoration. What it showed though is that it is possible to have a "democratic" society that denounced feudalism while still upholding the will of the samurai.

The catch is that this "samurai republic" would only work if the "republic" refuse to extend the franchise to non-samurai and control enough force to put down any internal uprisings by the peasants. I'm not sure how long that society would last though...and arguably, it didn't last - as can be seen plainly by the rise of the peasant militia.

Quote from: Cathar
But the samurai class is especially incompatible with the corpos, as confucianist philosophy woven in the samurai's education forbids them to partake in commerce (merchants are at the bottom of the social pyramid).

That's a very good point, and the only thing I could reply is that if the samurai didn't participate in commerce, they would eventually be rendered obsolete and their power would collapse (as what happened historically).

For the samurai institution to survive the fall of feudalism, they would have to adapt and change with the times. I assume this has happened...but at what point do the samurai change so much that the term "samurai" itself become a mere anachronism? I don't know. It's something that I have to think about, and try to rationalize or explain.
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Quote from: EuchreJack
I think fleshing out the Peasant Militia would answer a lot of questions, since they're what the players would be if they weren't Samurai.
I think so too. If we understand how peasants existed in this society, then we could understand how samurai managed to keep power for so long...and why they ultimately lost it.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2021, 09:09:21 pm by Skynet »
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Cathar

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First of all, I want to insist on the fact that I'm not criticising you out of malice, but because as you asked for feedback, I'm trying to give the best feedback I can on a topic I'm passionate about.
Also, being an old L5R player myself (crab ftw) I know where you're coming from and I feel compelled to warn you that L5R is a very, very specific, ultra fantasy view on medieval japan, was written by commitee and may not be the best source material for new, personal work.

Better sources of inspiration are, well, history, medieval litterature (Heike Monogatari is my next read), you can also find youtube channels dedicated to ancient japan culture and history. And also the whole Kurosawa filmography.

Quote
That "anyone can be a samurai" quote was there because I was kinda stuck how to justify how people could become samurai in this "corporate feudalistic" society

I felt something like that, because the two don't fit together. Especially during the Boshin war, the rise of capitalism (imported by force by Commodore Perry in Edo Japan) and the merchant class agitated the samurai class a lot, and is pretty much the cause of the civil war.

I think you try to work backward ; I believe you assume that a corporate future is the only possible one and try to fit the samurai in it. A better world building method, in my opinion, would be to first ask yourself, what kind of future the samurai class would build, and then work from there.

In that hypothetical future, the samurai would likely do what they do when they are in power ; chose a "first samurai" to rule their class (the shogun) and have him bully the civil administration, and maintain peace until it appears weak, in what case it's a free for all civil war to take his place.

This in turn would create a fractured society united by the appearance of strengh of the central military government, but in effect ruled locally by warlords ready to jump at each other throats given the occasion. I don't think technology would prevent that scenario from happening - you need strong local governments justified on military might and a fragile peace maintained by a central government himself justified on might.

This hypothetical scenario would give results very different from the top down republic style that you propose, in which problems are resolved by consensus, reason and rule of law.

I'm giving those ideas to maybe bounce over yours. Maybe just something for you to consider. Corporate samurai sounds very wrong in my ears.

Quote
The Samurai Republic is inspired by the real-life Republic of Ezo.

I'm very familiar with the republic of Ezo as a complete simp for Jules Brunet. I will cut short on how much I love this guy because I could write an essay on how much of a gigachad he was, from his fuck you I'm not coming back to france" letters he sent to Emperor Napoleon III to his very idea to establish a republic, while france itself had a conservative counter revolution that brought the second empire, or to his unbroken trail of victories from Edo to Hokkaido with an army comprised mostly of peasants. This man is a hero and deserves a kebab.

Give me the republic of Ezo in space and you have all my yes.

But this is a very different scenario. You are right to point out it was a republic by name only, with nobility privilege to vote, the Shogun president by default, and no election ever held. Also, it was a foreign concept, france imported. And it was actually opposed by the samurai class for all the reasons you imagined (they feared the republic, they feared foreigners, they feared the rise of the merchant class). In the end, the republic of Ezo surrendered to the traditionalist-minded imperial forces that promised the samurai that they would keep their blood privileges (they lied and did a 180° turn on that issue after that but this is beside the point)

If anything, the republic would be a model for the peasant militia : a isolated, foreign, progressive, besieged attempt at progressivism in a setting that is mostly ruled by strenght.

Quote
but at what point do the samurai change so much that the term "samurai" itself become a mere anachronism?

I guess my point is, a japan where samurai privileges would not have been abolished would be very different from the usual cyberpunk. Samurai, for one, do not need to produce anything. They don't need to be useful. They rule because they behead people who say otherwise. So in my opinion, making them fit into a setting that respects the NAP may result in contradictions.

I probably missed a lot of things but thats what I have for now

Skynet

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Quote from: Cathar
First of all, I want to insist on the fact that I'm not criticising you out of malice, but because as you asked for feedback, I'm trying to give the best feedback I can on a topic I'm passionate about.
Yeah, I understand and I really appreciate the feedback.

Quote from: Cathar
Also, being an old L5R player myself (crab ftw) I know where you're coming from and I feel compelled to warn you that L5R is a very, very specific, ultra fantasy view on medieval japan, was written by commitee and may not be the best source material for new, personal work.
Better sources of inspiration are, well, history, medieval litterature (Heike Monogatari is my next read), you can also find youtube channels dedicated to ancient japan culture and history. And also the whole Kurosawa filmography.
Got it. I will look at those other sources more closely then.

Quote from: Cathar
I think you try to work backward ; I believe you assume that a corporate future is the only possible one and try to fit the samurai in it. A better world building method, in my opinion, would be to first ask yourself, what kind of future the samurai class would build, and then work from there.

In that hypothetical future, the samurai would likely do what they do when they are in power ; chose a "first samurai" to rule their class (the shogun) and have him bully the civil administration, and maintain peace until it appears weak, in what case it's a free for all civil war to take his place.

This in turn would create a fractured society united by the appearance of strengh of the central military government, but in effect ruled locally by warlords ready to jump at each other throats given the occasion. I don't think technology would prevent that scenario from happening - you need strong local governments justified on military might and a fragile peace maintained by a central government himself justified on might.

This hypothetical scenario would give results very different from the top down republic style that you propose, in which problems are resolved by consensus, reason and rule of law.

I'm giving those ideas to maybe bounce over yours. Maybe just something for you to consider. Corporate samurai sounds very wrong in my ears.

I think those ideas would work perfectly, and I think I can incorporate these ideas into the fluff. I think the way I plan on handling this is to try to make the "republic-style" government be the "official story", the facade that the samurai use to convince themselves that society has changed. Officially, problems are resolved by consensus, reason, and rule of law (or, more accurately...consensus of the samurai, reason of the samurai, and rule of samurai law). Officially, samurai don't bully the civil administration. Officially, the NAP is respected and samurai don't fight against each other for resources...or plot against the "first samurai". Unofficially, the truth is much different, and "might makes right" is what actually happens.

Quote from: Cathar
I'm very familiar with the republic of Ezo as a complete simp for Jules Brunet. I will cut short on how much I love this guy because I could write an essay on how much of a gigachad he was, from his fuck you I'm not coming back to france" letters he sent to Emperor Napoleon III to his very idea to establish a republic, while france itself had a conservative counter revolution that brought the second empire, or to his unbroken trail of victories from Edo to Hokkaido with an army comprised mostly of peasants. This man is a hero and deserves a kebab.

Give me the republic of Ezo in space and you have all my yes.

But this is a very different scenario. You are right to point out it was a republic by name only, with nobility privilege to vote, the Shogun president by default, and no election ever held. Also, it was a foreign concept, france imported. And it was actually opposed by the samurai class for all the reasons you imagined (they feared the republic, they feared foreigners, they feared the rise of the merchant class). In the end, the republic of Ezo surrendered to the traditionalist-minded imperial forces that promised the samurai that they would keep their blood privileges (they lied and did a 180° turn on that issue after that but this is beside the point)

If anything, the republic would be a model for the peasant militia : a isolated, foreign, progressive, besieged attempt at progressivism in a setting that is mostly ruled by strenght.

Alright, that makes sense. This gives me some food for thought, for both the samurai and the peasants.

Quote from: Cathar
I guess my point is, a japan where samurai privileges would not have been abolished would be very different from the usual cyberpunk. Samurai, for one, do not need to produce anything. They don't need to be useful. They rule because they behead people who say otherwise. So in my opinion, making them fit into a setting that respects the NAP may result in contradictions.

I probably missed a lot of things but thats what I have for now

Got it. I think your posts does at least show the way forward for sci-fi samurai. The samurai is a militaristic caste, and it will retain power due to its militaristic strength, not because of any other reasons. As long as I stress that, I think the setting will feel more "authentically" samurai.

Maybe I should also try to make the "corporations" appear far more militaristic as well - corps (military units) or companies (military units), instead of the standard "for-profit entities" that exist in your standard cyberpunk setting. But that's just an initial idea I have, and I'll probably need to research military terminologies to see if that approach makes sense.
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EuchreJack

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One other aspect of Samurai is that they don't sully themselves by doing "lesser work".  They always have someone else officially doing non-military tasks.

Dunno if that would have changed.  The self-entitlement and feeling that war was their one-and-only business is what makes a Samurai different from a Knight, so to speak.

I originally agreed with the "anyone can be a Samurai" as during the Sengoku period, it was at least possible for a sandal holder to become ruler.  In a futuristic society after that fact, with a shortage of personnel, that might gain traction.
BUT: The idea of Samurai is that they trained from birth to fight.  So the idea that someone can just pick up a sword and be a Samurai rings a bit hollow.
IDEA: Throw in some gobbily gook about the souls becoming Samurai undergoing a lifetime of training in simulations prior to spawning.  So a faction that controls a spawn point basicially codes it to give the spawning souls the training they need to serve their faction.  A samurai faction subjects their new recruits to a lifetime of Samurai training, most likely with simulations of their greatest victories and defeats.

Bit of a misnomer: You say that death does not end the feuds, yet memories are eliminated by death, ergo only those souls that respawn in the same faction know about their feuds to continue them (presumably opposing factions would hide this fact, if they even knew).

Skynet

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For now, my plan is to create an expansion pack Zine that will focus entirely on samurai, peasants, and the tense relationship between these two social classes that eventually culminated in the Apocalypse. This may take some time, since I will do more in-depth research into samurai society and ensure that the Zine gets inspiration from Japanese sources (to balance out the Western influences in the original material). I also plan on doing play-testing for the existing material first - making sure that works before I start adding more content.

My initial idea for the Zine is as follows:

Samurai were intended to be elite warriors, trained by computer simulations designed by the AI-Empress. These warriors were able to take over the planet of Gizen, and forced the conquered populations to swear loyalty to them - creating the peasant social class.

The samurai, however, resented their servitude to the AI-Empress and felt excluded from decision-making. They therefore rebelled, sparking the Revolutionary War. They created new simulations based on the AI-Empress’s original simulations.

After the AI-Empress fled, the samurai created their Samurai Republic and appointed one of their leaders as the Living Constitution. The victorious rebels divided themselves into five Army Corps - each Corps was granted a certain amount of territory to “defend” on behalf of the Republic. And there were many threats to deal with - pirates, bandits, and occasional small-scale peasant uprisings.

The Corps also continually update and customize their simulations, making sure that samurai always receive the latest training out there (while subtly teaching these samurai corps propaganda). These simulations would eventually be installed in the Life Stations proper, so personalities who reincarnate as samurai will automatically go through these simulations and receive the training they need to do their duty.

This system of social control worked...for a time. But eventually a large-scale peasant uprising occurred though, encouraged by technological advancement (specifically reincarnation and replicators). When the samurai themselves started fighting each other, the whole system began to fell apart.

Quote from: “EuchreJack”
Bit of a misnomer: You say that death does not end the feuds, yet memories are eliminated by death, ergo only those souls that respawn in the same faction know about their feuds to continue them (presumably opposing factions would hide this fact, if they even knew).
That is true, and I am okay with the feuds ending when a person dies, work for a new faction, and proof of said feud get covered up or forgotten. What I meant to say was that reincarnation meant people weren’t afraid of death, and thus aren’t afraid of dying in a feud (since if they do die, they simply come back alive later on).

Edit: Apparently, the military term “corps” is both singular and plural. That’s going to be very hard for me to remember, especially since I’m used to the non-military term of “corp/corps”.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2021, 02:28:56 pm by Skynet »
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EuchreJack

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One thing you need is scrolls/potions/talismans, whatever you want to call them.  Basically, the one-time stuff that the Samurais can buy and use to help them.

Maybe 1-2 pages of "stuff you can buy".  What good is money if you can't buy stuff with it?

Transportation: Other than portals, how to the Samurai get from point A to point B?  Horse, Jeeps, APC, jets, Dinosaurs, mobile fortresses?

Skynet

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Yeah, I should try to come up with an inventory list in the future, which would consist of all starting material as well as some additional stuff they might stumble upon. Just need to come up with prices. As for transportation, I lean towards motorcycles (slow, but cheap), hover-cars (fast, but expensive), and jets (super-fast, super-expensive).

I also wrote up a rough draft for a sample mission to be used for playtesting "Samurai World". Next up, writing up the expansion pack.
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