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This story was written in March 2006 and it is, among other things, my answer to how and why the Dragon Clan managed to wreck Kosatan Shiro, which was the story result from the 2005 European Championship. This was a result that bothered me a lot because the Lion would have been trying to destroy the fortress for centuries, so how did the Dragon manage it?

Obviously the canon explanation is wildly different from this but it still pleases me. There are a few sentences that have to be reworked for clarity or rhythm, but I like the plot and the characterization.

Signs and Portents )
daidoji_gisei: (Kakita Hideshi)
So this weekend I went up to South Sioux City for the Kotei tournament Bob Yager was running. This is my second Kotei of the season, as I went to Chicago in February--an occasion I really should get around to journaling, because Mike Colson is an excellent TO and a delightful host and I should leave myself notes to encourage me to go to his parties L5R tournaments more often.

Anyway, my weekend started poorly in the sense that I had picked up my car early Friday afternoon and got about four blocks down the street before getting into a car accident. A car ahead of me pulled into my lane while I was in it and this just never works well. Our cars had only minor damage and the cops gave the other driver the ticket, but it was still a very upsetting thing. (And now I have a police report to fill out and the rental car agency to deal with tomorrow. Oh, joy.)

But wait! There's more! )
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It's because the player base, while blessed with frequently annoying people, is really capable of doing amazing things. Today the annual tournament known as the Topaz Championship is taking place. Topaz began years and years ago as a player-created event that combined New Year's debauchery with card-flopping, and while AEG now includes Topaz as one of the important "Jewel Tournaments", its essential character has not altered.

This year's Topaz included a non-card side event: a fundraiser for the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana. The fundraiser was L5R-flavored by giving the person making the largest donation a chance to affect the storyline of the clan they were playing for.

I just found out how much money the fundraiser took in: $13,000. Yes, I really meant to type 13K.

It gets better. One of the players present works for a company that matches charitable donations up to $12,000--so this is now a $25,000 donation to that food bank. That's a lot of meals!

A cynic would point out that this year's story point involves a hotly debated issue that is literally going down to the wire on how it will resolve. That's missing the forest for the trees, IMHO. Tournament organizers were sponsoring food drives and other charitable events as part of their tournaments long before AEG started giving them story points--the company was just following the players' lead. L5R players like combining philanthropy with card-playing and parties--and that is why L5R is awesome.

The game mechanics are also pretty sweet, but that's another post.
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Some of you, I know are/have been L5R fans, and I know you have visions of what Rokugan looks like. (It's got hotangstywingedbishi in it! :D) In October AEG is running a contest where interested parties can submit a proposal for a chapter in an upcoming RPG book; said book is to look at various eras in the Empire's history and to provide information for GMs wanting to run games in those eras. Near-future, alternate-history, and dim corners of canon all seem to be on the table for this.

Official contest announcement

More information from a thread in AEG's discussion forum.
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For those of you who have never heard of them, L5RChives is a small group of valiant L5R fans who have been doing videocasts of things of interest to the L5R community. A few weeks ago most of their equipment was stolen--never a good thing to happen, and especially bad now as they were already scrambling for the money to get to Gencon. (At last year's Gencon they did a lot of live broadcasts, including an interview with 5 members of the Story Team in which I said "umm" approximately 1.432E6 times.)

They are now conducting an auction of various donated goodies at the Imperial Auction Block--click the link to get to the IAB, then click on "L5R Auctions". They have two things I'm pondering bids on; an original AD&D Deities & Demigods (yes, the one with Cthulu) and some original Troy Graham pencil art. There is also one item I donated: a 500-word canon story about the L5R character of the winner's choice. I won't be bidding on that, but I am feeling some popcornish glee at watching the bidding. L5R players love stories, so I'm hoping that this helps the L5RChives tell their own stories about this maddening, fascinating game called L5R.
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I was scanning the AEG forum and in the L5R CCG forum there was a thread with the subject line "what to do about faceless decks" and for a moment I misread it as "what to do about faceless ducks" and my mind immediately imagined a Princess Tutu/L5R cross-over fic with the Lying Darkeness trying to infiltrate Gold Crown Town and.....

I need to get to bed early tonight. REALLY early.
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So apparently the Imperial Heralds have gone out, and they show the card for Tamago, formerly known a Matsu Nimuro. I'm pointing this out because first of all the art is drop-dead gorgeous--you can see a a larger, clearer version of it here on Drew Baker's website. Second, it also has fabulous flavor text (Read it here on the AEG forum)--I need to find out who on the team wrote it so I can slobber all over them in adoration.

The drawback here is now I want to write fiction about Utagawa and Tamago and how they are quietly patching together a shared destiny out of the bitter tatters of their past lives. Which would never do. *sigh* Maybe I'll get a print at Gencon....
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Some days I just hate having to model appropriate behavior.

There's a discussion going on in the story forum about the Shadowlands, and of course Bearers of Jade came up. And at a certain point I was moved to post my opinion on BoJ, which can be summed up as, it had some really neat bits but it left me wondering why the Empire hadn't fallen to the Shadowlands years ago. In reply a couple of people posted, "oh, you're wrong because of X, Y and Z". You know what? I know about X, Y and Z. I'm on the effing Story Team, which does take a certain familiarity with the setting. I still hold my opinion on BoJ. Astonishing, I agree, for a woman to maintain an opinion after being contradicted, but there you have it.

I cannot, however, say any of this in the thread, because that would take the thread off-topic. Deliberately derailing threads is a bad thing, and as I am a moderator I need to avoid bad things. Some days this is. Really. Annoying.
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Arrived safely on Wednesday and got picked up at the airport by Brent and James. (There's a story about that, but I don't feel like typing it out now so remind me to post it next week.)

I've mostly been hanging out and looking at stuff. Dealers room is overwhelming as always, but I've made most of my saving throws. At Prof Herbert's table in the Art Show I found something I HAD TO BUY: He had some very nice mugs with some of his L5R art on it and one of them was--Pokku! Well, how could I resist everyone's favorite goblin? So now I have yet another mug. I'm think I'll take it work and show it off. "This a character I write for!" I'll say proudly, and my co-workers will either ooh and ahh (those who play games) or look confused (everyone else).

I need to review the new L5R rules to make sure I have all the new tweaks down; I am going to play in tomorrow's tournament. I'll lose a lot (rusty card skills are rusty) (not to be confused with Rusky ;-) ) but I should have fun.
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This was not a good week for me even by my current standards, which are pretty low. I ramble like a rose. )
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I was talking to my dad last night and mentioned that I'd be up in Sioux City in April for an L5R tournament (namely, Bob Yager's South Sioux City Kotei at Magecon) and he says, "Really? When?" So I told I would be there the 24th, the 25th and the 26th and he says, "Up there at the convention center? I'm going to be there that weekend." "No," I said, "Really? What for?" "Cosmo convention," he says. ('Cosmo' is short for Cosmopolitan International, a civic charitable club that my dad has belonged to for many, many years.) "Really?" I said.

He wasn't 100% sure, because he couldn't find the convention flyer just then, but he was 95% sure. I was a bit surprised that the Marina Inn would be hosting two conventions at the same time, but then I remembered that the bulk of Magecon is usually in the annex, leaving lots of room in the hotel proper for the Cosmo convention. So. My dad is (pretty probably) going to be at convention center when I'm there at a gaming convention.

My first reaction, I'll admit, was a surge of adolescent horror. "OMG MY DAD IS GOING TO BE AT THE SAME HOTEL ME AND MY FRIENDS ARE HANGING OUT AT!!!!11!1". That was pretty short lived, because on the one hand, when you are 44 your parents tend to be fairly accepting of the idea that you might be staying up late and partying on the weekends; and on the other hand, my dad isn't exactly a stranger to the concept of staying up late and partying himself. I'm ok with him meeting the people I hang out with, too. He really doesn't understand rpgs, ccgs or L5R, but he knows that I'm enjoying what I'm doing and he's proud of my writing accomplishments. (Two Christmases ago I took my laptop over to his place, got on the internet and showed him the AEG site. I think I was grinning like an idiot when I brought up my most recent story and showed him my name on the byline.)

--It's weird to think of it, but really my first gaming group was my family. I have fond memories of my childhood, when me and my sister and our parents would play games on Friday night, there on the floor of our living room. We played Life, and Payday, and Trouble, and--I don't even remember them all. One was a game involving words that wasn't Scrabble. Those were fun times!

I'm going to try and see my dad that weekend. We'll both be busy with our respective conventions, but I only get to see him once or twice a year and I'm not going to let this go by without making the effort. Maybe I'll get a chance to introduce him to Bob--that would be amazing. Bob's always reminded me strongly of my dad; I think that's one of the reasons we hit it off so well when we first met. They both love to cook, they both like fine spirits, and they both like to shoot the breeze.

In a week or so I'll call my dad again and see if he's really going to be there that weekend. If he is, I'll have to make plans.
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Today Mason ("Daigotsu Usharo" on various L5R forums) sent me a link to a fake L5R card he's shopped up. I'm not sure what made me laugh more--the card, or his supporting text. But I was eating lunch at my desk when I saw it, and my peals of laughter brought a number of my coworkers to my desk, wanting to know what was so funny.

Sadly, Shawn probably won't let me canonize Daigotsu Usharo's House of Peacocks. Even if it *is* no sillier than Yoritomo Buntaro.

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I would like to begin with a reading from The Book Of Nebraska Weather, on the topic of tonight's weather:
Tonight: Snow, freezing rain, and sleet, becoming all snow after midnight. Some thunder is also possible. Steady temperature around 23. North northwest wind between 8 and 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Total nighttime ice accumulation of 0.1 to 0.3 of an inch possible. Total nighttime snow and sleet accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.

For those of you who dwell in warmer climes, 'sleet' is like freezing rain, only more so. And it really did thunder this evening. While sleeting. It was very exciting, and I interupted my dinner preparations more than once to dash to a window to see what was happening now.

Meanwhile, am running around in circles. Am behind at work, thanks to being sick and being short a night baker. Am not finished unpacking, so I haven't found the cotton yarn I need to crochet the potholders my mom wants for Christmas. Nor have I found my cookbooks, which snarls both my plans to make caramel (how can I make caramel without the Joy of Cooking, I ask you?) and the apricot honey butter I want to make for my dad. Haven't even begun to think about doing/getting things for the other people who I wanted to give things to. (Though, admittedly, this is where being Catholic is an advantage to me, as I know that Christmas does not actually end until the Feast of Epiphany. I have more than a week after the 25th!) There are other things bothering me, but if I write them all out I'll just get shaky, so that won't do.

In the meantime, I have something cool to look at. AEG is planning on releasing a L5R graphic novel, and the brand manager recently put up a page from the novel up as a teaser. Any interested parties should click here for a look-see.
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"In an unprecedented move, today the EPA threatened to shut down the AEG forums, citing toxic amounts of KFFG emanating from the 'Race for the Throne' subform. The action was tabled when it was pointed out that KFFG is not a chemical, and therefor falls outside of the agency's purview. 'Yeah, we knew that going in,' a EPA spokesperson was quoted as saying, 'but really, how can anyone think with all that stuff floating around?'"
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I am, of course, speaking of male pheasants.

I am posting from the Cardinal Room at the Marina Inn Convention Center, where Bob Yager is running the Cock Clan Championship Tournament. The 'Cock Clan' is a loosely organized group of Midwest L5R players with a low sense of humor, and once a year (more or less) we hold a tournament for championship. Being Cock Clan champion gets you a nice engraved sword and the ability to make various off-color jokes in L5R circles. And then there is an after-party in Bob's suite, which involves large amounts of alcohol, chislic, and cake. I hope you are all properly envious now.

I elected to sit and look decorative at the judge's table rather than play. I'd been feeling under the weather all week (ragweed count is insane right now) and decided that I wasn't up to that much thought. Since I got to bed at 4 am this morning (the time I ususaly get up in the morning) I think this was the right choice.

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The page with [livejournal.com profile] koshindou's fanfic is back, much to my relief. I'm not sure if yesterday's disappearance was just some temporary problem with the host, or if my intense anguish bent space and time and caused the page to reconstitute itself. In any event, I decided not to take any more chances and email [livejournal.com profile] koshindou to make sure that he had copies of all his stuff. He says he does. Somewhere.

And now some meandering thoughts. )

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I've been feeling very stressed-out and blue the last few weeks, and that's one of the reasons I haven't been posting a lot. But today I have something to be cheery about: Today a package from AEG was delivered to me here at work, and in it was something I've been waiting for: this year's Kotei T-shirt! *bliss*

Sadly, the shirt doesn't seem to be listed in AEG online store anymore so I can't link to a picture of it. However, it is black with silvery printing and the inked version of the art can be found here at Troy Graham's deviantArt account. And for you Ricepaper folk: That is the Demon Blade, the Black Kabuki, Kashiwa's Bane, Shimekiri. I think you will all agree that any sane person would find him terrifying.

I am wearing the shirt right now, here at work. This is somewhat of a bad idea, as flour + black clothing = disaster waiting to happen, but I'm feeling reckless.
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This is a post I was hoping I wouldn't need to make for some time. I make it now with sadness in my heart.

Many of you on my flist should remember Bob Yager--AKA, Hida Yagimaki from the old Yahoo! Crab Clan List. Yesterday I received word that his wife Christine has passed away from pancreatic cancer. Jeremy Kilburn has a post on it here on the AEG forums.

Please keep Bob and his family in your hearts during this time.


Nov. 12th, 2007 10:09 pm
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Something from the Department of How's That Again???: This evening Fred casually remarked to me that a friend of his is convinced that I hate the Crane Clan. This baffles me, for reasons that are probably obvious to most of my readers. And if it isn't obvious you aren't an L5R player and you need not worry about it.

Normally I'd be tempted to hunt down Fred and make him explain, but I have a burning need to watch more Princess Tutu. This morning I wouldn't have thought it was possible to love Fakir more than I already did, but having watched Chapter 22 "Crown of Stone" I do. Though I am slightly disappointed in how he let himself be [spoiler]ed by [spoiler], considering that earlier he's been able to [spoiler] a crowd of [spoiler]wielding [spoiler]s. I suppose it was some of Edel's Artistic License at work. So I'm off to see what my heroic duck and her prince is up to.
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First of all, if you are at all familiar with L5R (and maybe even if you are not), you need to hie yourself over to [livejournal.com profile] helen_keeble and read Playing Possum, Being a True Tale of War, Love, and Explosions.

The opening paragraph:

The series of events that would later be referred to variously as the Season of Teeth (by the Crane), the War of Dire Beasts (by the Lion), or That Thing With The Possums (by everyone else) started, as so many wars do, with a party.

Tee hee.

When I'm not giggling madly over cracktastic fanfic, I'm madly scurrying around the bakery. The time I spent this past two weeks training a new night baker was time I didn't spend in the day bakery, and so we are now out of a lot of things. And one of our coffee-house clients has placed their biggest order yet. And the lumbering doom known as Thanksgiving is heaving up over the time-horizon. Thanksgiving is to the grocery trade what Gencon is to gaming: there are other holidays, but none of them quite compare in magnitude.

So naturally I'm planning to leave work early on Friday so that I can go down to the L5R tournament (and bachelor party) in KC. At first I didn't think I'd be able to go, but Bob "Hida Yagamaki" Yager and Mason "Daigotsu Usharo" Crawford are coming down from Sioux Falls, and since Lincoln is right on the way to KC (for Great Plains values of "right on the way" they agreed to pick me up and split a room with me. South Dakota boys are so sweet. <3

Things to do before I go: Build deck, do laundry, BAKE CAKE. I might give into temptation and buy the frosting, but the cake will be from scratch. I suppose I should check to see if the co-op in Lawrence makes our cake: I know they have access to the recipe. So much to do, so little time!


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