Today is the next installment of our Emperor Edition Design Diaries where one of the designers of L5R will explain our goals for the mechanics of a clan. This week’s clan will be Crane, written by Bryan Reese.
Keepers of the Peace
“The civilized soul craves peace. We simply bring the peace to those who desire it, whether they know it or not.” – Doji Genshin
The Crane magistrates are devoted keepers of the peace, trying hard to maintain order as the world adjusts from decades of war. Doing so requires the bravery to stand up and fight when your enemy show sup on your doorstep.
This is one way where the magistrates of the Crane really differ from the rest of the honor decks. Where their courtiers and shugenja use what tools they have to try and keep themselves safe and out of battle, the magistrates throw themselves into battle, ready to fight any army that may come knocking. Dueling is one of the primary tools they will have for fighting their enemies. This will give the students of the Kakita Dueling Academy a good home, even if they are not magistrates themselves.
Mostly being magistrates though, the deck will function the way magistrates typically do, effective against your average guy and even more so if that guy is dishonorable. We have kept the cards that compare a magistrate’s chi vs. a personalities personal honor to a minimum, as it just creates bad scenarios, something we prefer to avoid.
As you are often fighting dishonorable scum, this will frequently end in multiple options; either you gain some honor, or you cause the enemy to lose some honor. As such, the Keepers of the Peace is a switch deck, though as a Crane deck with high personal honor, it will naturally lend itself to honor first and dishonor second. This, however, is going to be a deck building choice, and if you prefer to build your Crane deck as a dishonor deck, the options will be there for you.
Crane magistrates will usually feature the Samurai • Duelist • Magistrate keywords.
“Let the others defend the Crane’s position and honor. We shall defend its land and people, as long as we have breath.” – Daidoji Tametaka
The Iron Crane have had many faces over the years. During the Clan Wars they were the front line soldiers, yaris in hand, ready to defend the Crane to the death. After 25 years of peace, however, they have had to adapt. While certainly the historical Iron Crane still exist, there has been no need for a true army. The only fighting that has taken place has largely been small skirmishes in the colonies. As such, the Iron Crane have adapted and now feature some of the best scouts in the Empire.
Like Scouts from the other clans, the Iron Crane gather information using reconnaissance that is then used to attack their enemy at their weakest points. While all scouts are notable marksmen, the scouts for each clan have their own, unique strengths. The Mantis are premier archers, the Crab work well in units, the Lion are masters of terrain, and the Crane work the best when they have a lot of intelligence. The more recons you resolve at a battle, the better they are at fighting that battle. You will often see Iron Cranes that have stats and abilities that scale based on the number of Recons you have resolved. Personalities such as Daidoji Ebizo are representative of this. The Iron Crane have another advantage though, they are swifter than most scouts, and this is represented with their stronghold Hidden Falls Dojo. This stronghold allows them to assign after cavalry, allowing them to even, on a small scale, outmaneuver the Unicorn.
Crane scouts will usually feature the Samurai • Iron Crane • Scout keywords.
“We are the bright center of the courts, around which the courts revolve. Let those who seek to cross us do so at their peril.” – Doji Makoto
The Crane are the undeniable masters of the court. While the Scorpion attempt to exert political control over their allies and enemies alike, the Crane know that real power lies with the political favors and genuine allies they make in court.
And the court is where much of the fight will take place for the Crane courtier. During the action phase a Political Warfare deck will do what it can to hamper your impending forces, though it will never be able to do so enough consistently keep your entire army away, and as such the Crane courtiers will need to send some people to battle to fight the armies marching on their door step.
Political favors will be the Crane courtier’s best tool and, using their stronghold Kyuden Otomo, they will be able to gather many, many of these favors over the course of the game, storing them until such a time as they are required. Many of the Crane courtier personalities will be fluent in either gaining extra favors, such as Doji Dainagon, using them, such as Doji Rengetsu, or both, such as Kakita Nara. The uses one can find for using a political favor is as varied as their ability to acquire the favors. This will create a very versatile deck, where a Crane courtier will have the tools to fight many different enemies.
Crane courtiers will usually feature just the Courtier keyword, though sometimes they may feature others.
Protectors of the Temples
“The honor of our Empire and our clan is tied to its most holy places. With the purity of our souls, we shall protect them forever.” – Asahina Keigo
The shugenja of the Asahina are pacifists in nature, more so than even the Phoenix. They prefer to stay at home, protecting and glorying their temples, rather than go to war. Even when war is brought to them, they have difficulties in killing a fellow human being, preferring to use their magic to keep their enemies away rather than harming them.
As masters of the element of Air, the Asahina have the ability to do just that. Air spells, and the abilities of Air shugenja, will often be focused on the pacifistic nature of Air, keeping your enemies away and keep everyone safe, as opposed to the aggressive nature of the element of Fire, which destroys everything it can.
This can be seen on their stronghold Shinden Asahina. Rather than hurt their enemy, they try to keep him at home and safe. Crane shugenja will usually feature the Air • Shugenja keywords.