Fast forward to my college days and beyond. I have abandoned TCGs as RPGs appealed to me more. Here I am running Dungeons and Dragons and it offshoots for my players, juggling hubris for awakened magi in NWoD, and running around as an ork MMO player/criminal in 2078. But I haven't touched L5R. Rokugan had accumulated an enormous metaplot since my time as a wide-eyed kid looking at Dynasty and Fate decks, and this presented a barrier to entry for me. (It doesn't help that most of the L5R fans I can draw with a game pitch locally would know tons more about the metaplot than I ever can.) L5R's aesthetic also seemed to give me the vibe that Asia = Japan and China, and I personally found my Southeast Asian (SEA) roots underrepresented.
When I told my friend and L5R aficionado +Jay Steven Anyong about my reservations on running L5R, he asked, "how about running a Mantis Clan game?" So I looked up this Mantis Clan.
|Moshi Ira of the Mantis Clan|
A cursory glane at tha Mantis makes me think that they are perfect for running a SEA-themed game. They exist on the corners of the Empire, and interestingly they are not as pivotal to the head canon of L5R fans. They are a conglomerate of former minor clans, which ties well with how SEA thalassocracies functioned. They do not shy away from gold/koku, and by tweaking their "greed" a little bit you can subvert that into the SEA concept of honor.
They still feel a bit too East Asian for my tastes, though, so I will probably have to do a little tweaking and reskinning.
Let's see how this goes.