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I joined DreamJam the other day, and it's my first official Itch jam, so I am nervous but also excited. My RPG preferences have gone old school in the last couple of years, and it has been influencing my writing style for Meilakanjan. But the "engine" behind Meilakanjan remains to be 5th Edition, so this is the first time I'd be doing something with a completely old school theme.

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Ulan (Rain) tells the story of Maya (Nadine Lustre), an editor's assistant for a sleazy publication, as she struggles to find love amidst her monotonous, everyday life. You get the sense that she feels alone in the world - orphaned at a young age, she was taken in by her grandmother who also dies prior to the movie's main timeline. And while her aunt and uncle do care for her, (and always seems to have adobo ready,) she feels that they are eager for her to find herself a husband so that she can finally leave their care.

If this feels like the plot seeds of 79% of romance movies, that's probably because it is. Luckless love lives form the backbone of many romcoms and tearjerkers, and this movie seems to be designed to fit in that genre. But what sets this movie apart, is the supernatural, #ManilaEncounters undertone that leads Maya herself to ask, "is she cursed?"

ULAN Full Trailer [Nadine Lustre | Carlo Aquino | March 13, 2019] - YouTube


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In what is perhaps one of my dumber moves this year, I saw the new edition of the Legend of the Five Rings RPG in my LGS, and decided to spring for it. I told myself that I planned to get it, anyway, but as I'm also in the process of moving companies this month, cash flow is expected to be tight. And now I just made it tighter.

Looks I will have tuyo (dried fish) for the foreseeable future. 
The holiday season is usually a horrible time to start a new game locally, so this set will likely stay unused on my shelf until at least January. In the meantime, I think this is a good opportunity to test out character concepts!

Quick Primer: Legend of the Five Rings is an RPG set in the fictional world of Rokugan. Players take on the role of members of a noble caste known as the samurai, and their honor and loyalty is tested as the game progresses.

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Asog are babaylan that are biologically male.
Last time, I looked to build an L5R character that was based on cultural quirks that lay outside traditional East Asian narratives. Specifically, I wanted to build a character based on the cross-dressing babaylan of Old Visayas, which is quite different from the traditionally conservative views of the culture Rokugan typically base themselves on.

As a reference, here's the completed character sheet for Alunsina of Inazuma.

Alunsina no Inazuma - Narrative Mode
Alunsina no Inazuma - Conflict Mode

But the question is, was it successful? Is Alunsina able to fit into the setting, and not stick out like a sore thumb? Let's take a quick look.

Aesthetic
In this one, Alunsina is an easy fit. Unlike most of the other clans, the Mantis are not shy about flaunting their wealth. I previously talked about how Mantis can view wealth as extensions of honor. So a materialistic samurai who loves fashion is pretty much attuned to the Mantis identity. While Alunsina does not sound like a Japanese name, it does still sound like it fits enough to avoid being called a gaijin name... but maybe that's my personal bias.

Bushido
One of the nice things that I noticed while building Alunsina was that this version of L5R is not as insanely rigid when it comes to its cultural quirks. Sure, there are still breaches that will cause you to lose honor points, but in general I find that there is a better focus on staking one's social attributes instead of just randomly losing them for some cultural faux pas. I feel like this focus makes it easier to emulate cultures who share Asian values of filial piety, and noble duty to subordinates. Meanwhile, off cocksure outbursts caused by strife have social repercussions, but is hardly the end of the world for that character.

So yes, Alunsina is dutiful, and honorable, and quite possibly compassionate, but she can also be blunt, and she refuses to marry despite being from a culture that values the continuation of familial lines. So while there are aspects of her here and there that means she is far from the ideal embodiment of her culture.

And that's fine. Ultimately, the "ideal" member of a culture is reserved for saints/bodhisattvas/what-have-you.
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