Samurai of Hyuga Book 5

Real shock if Sutsu is last boss haha :joy: :joy:

The final boss is the friends we made along the way :sparkles: :joy:

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I’m shocked! Shocked!
Well… not that shocked.

-Philip J. Fry and probably the Ronin

Been there, done that. It stops being exciting after the 10th time

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Is Jun always opposite gender of the MC?

Jun’s gender is based on the main gender the MC is attracted to, since they were canonically involved in the past.

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If i may offer a bit of (late) advice, the only real way you can prevent people from “sabotaging themselves” in this manner is by stopping to grade them altogether on how close their late-game choices match their early-game ones.

If you simply can’t bring yourself to let go of this concept and insist on trying to tweak it… well, reading that section of the blog entry you’ve linked, about ego getting in the way, it might help…?

Personally, i can’t help but view this mechanic --which effectively influences the player to pursue the rigid combination of character attributes they’ve started with-- as actively harmful, due to its conflict with a major theme of the series: that one can change, that it’s something the MC has been trying for the past year, and that it’s worth to strive towards it, instead of clinging to your set (old) ways. It doesn’t matter whether or how well the player can resist this push [towards the latter]. The very existence of this push, what good do you think it adds for the player’s experience with your game, that’d make you want to keep it…?

Whatever it is, i feel it’d be an improvement if the player’s choices went back to influencing their character’s attributes, by a minuscule amount. If they [players] want to see their character “grow” and change from a drifter to devoted protector, from someone impulsive to more calculated, or the other way around, or in any other way… if that’s what their choices accumulated over time lead them to… let them, instead of holding them trapped. It’d make the experience more coherent overall, and probably help with complaints how the player’s decisions in recent installments have no impact, too (by presenting visible changes, but without perceived penalty if they “choose poorly”)

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I appreciate your point of view @fsix, and the recommendation you offer regarding changing one’s stats via the choices they make (like in the first half of Book 1) is one I have considered. But I haven’t gone that route for several reasons.

The main reason is simple: the changes our protagonist (and narrator) is undergoing through these books are far greater and more meaningful than something like becoming more Charming or more Stoic, or getting more Impulsive or more Calculated. Those are ultimately just flavor variables that help spice up the text between choices. MC’s character growth is much more important than anything on the stats screen.

Also, the attunement score alone is a source of enough concern for some players; I don’t want them squinting at their stat bars to see if they’re moving as well!

Another reason is replayability. Often, people who play choicegames have a tendency to play a certain way. Regardless of what playthrough number we’re on, there are some choices that we just tend to keep making. Let’s say you want to explore playing as a Drifter and Stoic ronin, but when you get into the story you can’t help but be more Protective and say the more Charming dialogue options.

That’s fine. You still get to see the unique content of all the [Drifter] and [Stoic] tags, and you still get to make the choices you want, too. The only cost is a hit to an attunement score that doesn’t matter.

But obviously as an author, I don’t get to tell my readers what matters and what doesn’t, as that’s a personal thing that’s going to be different for every reader. I apologize for my earlier comment as I came off a bit preachy!

One last thing to keep in mind: Samurai of Hyuga Book 1 came out in 2015, and choicegames were a bit different back then. The “score” aspect that is attunement is kind of a relic from that era, as choicegames as a whole have since shifted several degrees away from their gamey roots to a more narrative focus.

If I had started SoH in 2023, I wouldn’t have bothered having an attunement score at all. But it is the way it is!

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So we shouldn’t worry about what attunement we have in the next books? It won’t matter the percentage or get us a bad ending? :hushed:

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So far it didn’t.

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There’s a bad ending in Book 1 if your attunement is especially low, but aside from that, it’s really not a factor. There’s not going to be any special TRUE END locked behind a high attunement score, either. It’s just a score that matters as much as the reader wants it to!

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I feel you’re underestimating how meaningful it can actually be to see these flavor bits change as result of your choice, but then perhaps it is me who is overestimating it – like you say, this is a personal thing that’s going to be different for every reader. So… fair enough, and the argument about allowing people to see the flavor despite their choice has merit as well.

While i have your attention, there’s something i was wondering: do you have any plans to enhance the way game currently handles MC’s active romance routes? Specifically, Jun(ko) romance – the problem here is that the game initially allows the player to define their attitude towards it as one of three states: “i want it”, “i have mixed feelings/i’d rather not” and full-out “i’m over it”… but then immediately discards half of these options (the middle ground ones) and reduces MC’s stance on the whole situation to basic binary “STEP ON ME JUUCHAN” / “NOPE NOPE NOPE”.

This was the single, big disappointment i’ve had with Book 4, and consequently, 5 – that the game effectively fools the player into thinking that they can have MC with mixed feelings about the whole thing and perhaps a story arc with them either ultimately embracing or rejecting this toxic relationship at some point down the road… then proceeds to repeatedly ignore this choice the player has made, instead opting for “itssafetoassumemcwantsj”. Which honestly feels worse than if it hasn’t provided these middle ground options in the first place, and just forced the binary pick right there and then.

The other romance routes also suffer from this to some extent – the game provides the player with what seems like option for just a hook up with no strings attached, something well suited for a “perverted/drifter” character type, but then handles it no different from scenarios where the player expressed romantic love for the character (Momoko’s “want” option) or rejected them altogether (opting for happy ending with Tosh but then not going for a kiss later) But the Jun(ko) route is the one which stands out the most in this regard, due to how prominent it is throughout Book 4. So while i recognize the amount of work involved… having some more flexibility in future installments would be nice.

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Got into this after Malin Ryden plugged it like a week ago and I’ve been binging the series since. I’ve got a lot to unpack after Book 5 and I’ve been reading through years-old posts about it to try and help digest it all.

I guess I’ll say, I like Momoko best and hope things turn out alright. She’s the only one who hates herself as much as my ronin. They’ve both done terrible things, even before the current troubles, and they have a kind of understanding of each other’s darkness that the rest of the cast seem to be ignorant of, willfully or otherwise.

But then again my poor dumb firefly’s been jumping (or sometimes collapsing) into bed with anyone to try and fill that emptiness since Momo left and, as fsix pointed out, they’ve all been doomed to become “the (person) I love” regardless of intent. I get the why though, I think. Tosh is manipulative in how they use sex and romance to control the ronin, and with the fellow student it’s just more blatant how they wield heartstrings and literal strings to force obedience. The good doctor’s the only relationship my ronin’s fully and consciously willed their way into, and it’s a tense and spooky ride now, one that may only lead to more misery. I kinda like that uncertainty.

Anyways that’s it for my own dumb contribution to this long-running conversation. Looking forward to Book 6 someday.

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How is Tosh manipulative in the way they use sex & romance?

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I read it as love bombing, though I’m sure you could interpret it otherwise. “Let me serve you, you’re the greatest hero, you’re Not Like The Other Ronin, you’re so smart and funny, keep doing what I want you to do.”

Eh, that’s pretty much just Blowing Smoke Up MC’s Ass 101 all ROs attend.

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From what I read, both main series and short tales, Tosh’s idea of “manipulative” is more:

  1. Flat out lie to you without showing feelings;
  2. Pointing a gun to you;

Considering his/her job I’m surprised that it works without counter damage.

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Tosh does what works. Outright threats are more of a fun challenge to the Ronin and lies only go so far when dealing with a Master Detective™ (although Tosh has definitely tried lying). If I’m the only one troubled by their cultish attitude towards the prophecy then so be it but these are just my thoughts. I ain’t even mad about it, I like the story and the characters within it.

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Im not troubled by his cultish attitude but that doesnt mean I cant recognize it as its obvious. I just didnt see it as outright malicious manipulation. Sex, maybe, but using romance for someone like the ronin as a way to manipulate them seems like something that wouldnt work & has failed multiple times before, so why would Tosh keep using it if they only do what works?

“Keep doing what I want you to do”, like not die? They have told them “nooo, dont do x, i want to be with you!” & the ronin just says, “thats your problem” & goes on hiatus.

When someone sees themselves like the ronin does & refuses to take care of themselves, people tend to go for compliments & trying to make them see otherwise. “I/we love/care about you, you’re amazing, dont think like that, you’re the best at this,” etc.

And you say that like its not objectively true if you take out the overzealous prostrating. The ronin IS smart, they ARE funny (to them), they were one of 2 people to train under one of if not the greatest swordsmen of their time, who also said they were a prodigy. By this point in the story, they ARENT like other ronin (theyre basically a samurai in denial now) & theyve done so many things up to this point, you think any other ronin could even compare? They killed 4 demons, stopping all kinds of injustices by doing so, but I guess that doesnt actually mean anything?

The “you’re soooo amazing & yada yada” type manipulation would probably be more obvious to me if they really werent all that, but they are lol :joy:

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Manipulation doesn’t need to be malicious to be manipulation. It’s ok to like Tosh, I like them too, I like them a whole lot in fact, I’m just explaining why they aren’t endgame to me. Also like, explaining my reasoning for why my Ronin’s involved with them in the first place.

Within the past month my Ronin has:

a) tortured an old man with boiling tea while laughing
b) slaughtered at least a dozen randos to steal the sword of their legendary grampa (whom she murdered in cold blood years ago)
c) endlessly fat-shamed her only surviving ally after everything went south
d) attempted to massacre a church full of nuns (and only failed at that because they had the home ground advantage)
e) beat her romantic partner bloody over divided loyalties (despite sleeping around at every opportunity)

She might have redeeming qualities but she ain’t a hero and being told that she is rings real hollow. Being put up on a pedestal feels really awful when you’re in a deep depression.

Edit: Blurred spoilers, also if you’re playing a more heroic character than I am you’re definitely gonna have a different experience with all of this. YMMV anyways, nothing I say is fact, only opinion.

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I know, thats why I said malicious manipulation. I thought you were saying like Tosh was rubbing their hands like a fly when nobodies looking :sweat_smile:

All that after they were beaten, starved, & humiliated for days, & after finally becoming lucid, they snapped (cuz you cant have shit in Hyuga) & arent mentally stable anymore.
Being a hero isnt about being a perfect person who never does anything or did anything wrong. Maybe they arent the greatest thing since sliced bread like Tosh thinks, but I said take out the overzealous prostrating.

I dont remember exactly, but I swear when they were killing the Takeda, they were focusing on the ones wearing red shoes because they were at the party but maybe not. Also, Gensai deserved that shit & I stand by it (if you know why, you know why🥲), & even he agreed he deserved that. The old man was also at the party & who knows what mess he was indulging in while there so I dont feel too bad.

I understand how that feels, but that doesnt mean what Tosh said wasnt still true. The ronin is the type to say they’re just “some guy” & then rp as Atlus with everyone’s problems. If that pedestal said “worst person in Hyuga”, they’d probably get on it then. They can be told exactly what they did & how it helped people, with no exaggerations & still be like “nah, that didnt happen”.