It’s always a good thing when the characters have objectives beyond the immediate. Here are some of the player objectives for Kochige, Alex, and Ninsei. Next up will be Okari and – if I can get anything out of them – Michio and Shigure.
(1) Kochige feels that the Phoenix semi-monopoly on Void Magic – however semi-traditional – is ultimately bad for Rokugan, especially since the Gaijin seem to have access to void magic of their own with no such restriction apparent. His current plans involve distributing scrolls of those basic void spells that he knows, disguising himself – possibly as a phoenix operative – and veiling the magic involved so that he can start testing other shugenja in his own clan and elsewhere for void magic potential, both inside and outside the border. He will, of course, be taking action as necessary to avoid interference with his activities.
Obstacles here: Outside of this being a violation of his word and the opposition of the Phoenix clan – matters he feels are unimportant next to his goal – Kochige currently has only a limited knowledge of the procedures for testing for void magic potential, of the safeguards used in training it, and of the spells involved. Some of the potential trainees may also feel that it would be dishonorable for them to learn the secret Phoenix techniques without the consent of the Phoenix. Most importantly, the potential for using void magic is rather rare in the first place. There may not be very many potential students.
(2) Kochige also wants to ensure that the border fortifications will be sturdy and well-supplied, and so wants to first obtain the favor of the land spirits to determine what rituals and offerings will best please them and to obtain their advice on what to plant and where. Furthermore, he wants to build some of his fortifications within the mountains themselves, using spells as necessary – both making small, concealed, valleys into hidden strongholds and working underground as necessary. Their above-ground entrances should primarily be on the Gaijin side, with hidden tunnels leading to Rokugan from within.
Obstacles here: Essentially this is both a very big, long, project and will involve earth-moving and delving on an unprecedented scale. The advice of skilled architects and engineers will be imperative. Secondarily, the local spirits are not steeped in the traditions of Rokugan. Even if they’re sufficiently welcoming, their demands may range from the slightly-odd on up to the outright heretical.
(1) Wants to experiment with building various styles of fortresses in the mountains: each will have an entirely different layout to enhance security and he would like at least one to be shaped directly from the stone, one to be essentially a giant tree fort, and one to be entirely classical. All will be large enough to allow the peasants to take refuge there and to support multiple glorious temples – including to the Kami of Vacations (with careful supervision).
Obstacles here: this is simply a very big and long-term project – and its likely that untested designs will have hidden weaknesses.
(2) Wants to experiment with engineering and education – teaching the peasants to read and write, creating libraries, introducing “aqueducts” and “drains”, investigating the possibilities for communications technologies, and otherwise go into research in a big way, possibly founding a college of engineering for the peasantry.
Obstacles here include the fact that this overturns all kinds of traditions, a fairly enormous start-up cost, and a massive time requirement. Research – especially in a culture that really doesn’t even have to concept – takes time. Secondarily, quite a few things don’t work much like they do in the real world.
(3) Wants to recruit the local peasantry voluntarily, rather than by imposing a military caste system.
The primary obstacle here is – once again – time and expense. Intimidation and religious claims are cheap, actually motivating the peasantry to want to pay taxes is considerably harder.
(4) Has an apprentice to train. This is actually a pretty standard thing, but does take a fair amount of time.
(5) Wants to introduce legal “tourism” to Rokugan.
Obstacles here: Well, allowing Gaijin – or even members of other clans – to freely traipse around Rokugan seeing the sights goes against a thousand years of tradition and imperial law. Allowing people to leave Rokugan and return is almost as bad…
(6) Wants to start negotiations with the various minor clans.
has some of the most grandiose objectives – especially for a character of his age…
(1) Become a nominal leader/neutral figurehead of the clans, starting with the minor clans and moving up from there.
(2) Keep an eye on the Imperial family
(3) Marry an Imperial family daughter if possible
(4) Ally with the Naga and the Nezumi
(5) Turn Toshi Ranbo into a second capitol in all but name
(6) Start sending Nezumi scouts into the shadowlands to create maps, keep taps on things.
Obstacles here are… well… these are campaign-level objectives, and will take quite a lot of dedicated work to achieve.