Tuesday, October 30, 2018

It Builds Character: Mantis Analysis

Asog are babaylan that are biologically male.
Last time, I looked to build an L5R character that was based on cultural quirks that lay outside traditional East Asian narratives. Specifically, I wanted to build a character based on the cross-dressing babaylan of Old Visayas, which is quite different from the traditionally conservative views of the culture Rokugan typically base themselves on.

As a reference, here's the completed character sheet for Alunsina of Inazuma.

Alunsina no Inazuma - Narrative Mode
Alunsina no Inazuma - Conflict Mode

But the question is, was it successful? Is Alunsina able to fit into the setting, and not stick out like a sore thumb? Let's take a quick look.


In this one, Alunsina is an easy fit. Unlike most of the other clans, the Mantis are not shy about flaunting their wealth. I previously talked about how Mantis can view wealth as extensions of honor. So a materialistic samurai who loves fashion is pretty much attuned to the Mantis identity. While Alunsina does not sound like a Japanese name, it does still sound like it fits enough to avoid being called a gaijin name... but maybe that's my personal bias.


One of the nice things that I noticed while building Alunsina was that this version of L5R is not as insanely rigid when it comes to its cultural quirks. Sure, there are still breaches that will cause you to lose honor points, but in general I find that there is a better focus on staking one's social attributes instead of just randomly losing them for some cultural faux pas. I feel like this focus makes it easier to emulate cultures who share Asian values of filial piety, and noble duty to subordinates. Meanwhile, off cocksure outbursts caused by strife have social repercussions, but is hardly the end of the world for that character.

So yes, Alunsina is dutiful, and honorable, and quite possibly compassionate, but she can also be blunt, and she refuses to marry despite being from a culture that values the continuation of familial lines. So while there are aspects of her here and there that means she is far from the ideal embodiment of her culture.

And that's fine. Ultimately, the "ideal" member of a culture is reserved for saints/bodhisattvas/what-have-you.

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