The one thing about being able to refer to multiple Actual Play reports is the fact that you can look back and think about how you’re doing. I’ve been rereading my reports for “Never a Dull Blade” the Legend of the Five Rings campaign I’ve been running, and I’m pretty amazed by how far it’s gotten. That said, it isn’t just the length of the campaign that struck me as interesting, as much as the way that the various virtues of the Clans seem to manifest in the game.
The most obvious case, of course, would be the Lion Clan’s virtue of Courage. All throughout the campaign the Lion Clan’s Courage has been tested, and the various NPCs have shown that virtue. Some of the more notable would be Matsu Jin, the compatriot of Matsu Broli who took on the mantle of a Deathseeker and fought valiantly against the Unicorn, sacrificing himself in order to deal a savage blow against the vanguard of the Unicorn Clan’s forces in the Battle of the Rich Frog.
But given that this was a game centered on the Lion Clan, what amused me more was when they began to interact with the other clans. Their experiences in the Crab exemplified the Crab Clan’s devotion to Duty. Akodo Senji in particular realized how difficult it was to actually stand on the Wall and repel what was just a few attacks from an unyielding and dangerous enemy. He saw the Crab conduct their business, knowing that what truly matters was getting the job done.
Likewise, interactions with the Phoenix Clan highlighted their virtue of Humility. Though not necessarily always in a good light, the Phoenix represent both hubris and the necessary mindset to prevent pride from overriding what is just and right. Humility is by far one of the hardest virtues to display, but I think the Lion’s experiences with the Phoenix are a good way to show that despite their struggles, Humility comes from trying despite having failed, being able to accept their mistakes and to be able to look chastise oneself for ones failings and discern the correct path.
I’m fascinated by how things are turning out, and I’m hoping this sort of trend continues. Maybe it works best because of the Lion Clan, given that the Lions are the most “Vanilla” of the Clans, and therefore make for the best kind of baseline to compare the other Clans to. It’s this sort of revelatory thing that surprises and amuses me, and I hope that my players are liking it as well.