[L5R Clan Analysis: Scorpion] Clan Virtue: Loyalty

Posted: January 11, 2013 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Legend of the Five Rings, Roleplaying Games
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It’s no mystery that the Scorpion clan’s primary clan virtue is Loyalty. It’s an odd sort of paradox, that the Clan most known for their penchant for betrayal should be associated with Loyalty, but it does make sense. To better understand the Scorpion’s outlook on loyalty, one has to study their role in the Empire.

The Scorpion are known as the Underhand. They exist apart from the system, and perform deeds that the Empire’s rigid honor system does not account for in order to protect the Empire from threats that come from that angle. To put it simply, the Emperor trusts that they will watch his back, and not strike him from behind. It takes an incredible amount of trust for that arrangement to work, and the Scorpion are worthy of that trust because of their Loyalty to the Emperor (or at least the Empire.)

Of course, loyalty isn’t easy, as Bayushi Shoju discovered when he was forced to make a call of protecting the Emperor or the Empire when he decided to stage the Scorpion Clan Coup. This is perhaps one of the most important paradoxes of the Clan, as Loyalties can (and most often) will conflict with each other.

In some ways this is what makes the Scorpion among the most decisive of the samurai. Their training in deceit, betrayal and underhanded methods isn’t for show, but rather to prepare them for the moment when they must break all bonds of honor and propriety to do the right thing when it matters most.

Ultimately that’s the most noble thing about the Scorpion. For all the pomp and theatrics that they bring with them, the Scorpion know that they’re the fall guys and they embrace that role willingly, no matter what the cost.

The willingness to sacrifice your life, your reputation, your honor and your friends for the purpose of protecting the Empire is the truest manifestation of Loyalty.

Because of this, the best stories involving a Scorpion player are the ones where they have conflicting loyalties. Do you want to have a good time as a scorpion? Buy True Love, or some other strong emotional association to a person or ideal, anything that will get in the way of your ideal loyalty to the Empire. Drama comes from conflict, and a Scorpion that cannot fulfill his duty due to another loyalty is one of the most interesting plots you can have.

  1. Hikkikomori says:

    When the feelings gone and you can’t go on it’s tragedy!

  2. As I said in my comment on your introduction to the Scorpion, this ideal is hard to achieve. Indeed, I would say it is the comforting lie that the Scorpions tell themselves as they commit ever darker deeds “it is all for the Empire!” When, really, it is all for the Scorpion Clan or for the individual Scorpion committing the act, It requires a strong Scorpion leadership that not only believes in service to the Empire by constantly acting upon the lesser member of the Scorpion to keep them in line and on task.

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