My fascination with the Far East began at an early age. Saturday mornings were not only for cartoons but also Kung Fu Theater. While the terribly dubbed movies were certainly out of sync, it was the action that I was interested in. After that, I began studying martial arts as I am a huge fan of Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, and Donnie Yen. My favorite type of video games is fighting games: Street Fighter, Killer Instinct, and Mortal Kombat.
My first really long thought about playing the game happened in a small shop in Antioch, TN in the Hickory Hollow Mall. I had seen several magazine ads about the game. When l visited this game store, I remember them having Time of the Void starter decks, booster packs, and t-shirts.
To this day, I regret not purchasing any product during that trip.
It was just under two years later that I decide to try the game. Our store, Video Station, had a rather large player base for a small town. Regular events had about 16 players. Most of the players began playing during the Clan Wars era. The TO for the store was Doug Wimberly who had played Crab since Imperial Edition. He had even represented Crab as a Warlord. During the early days of the game, players could qualify for Worlds based on things like events played and wins with your clan. Doug has just returned from Gen*Con, which was still in Milwaukee, Wisconsin back then. Doug was taking pre-orders for Pearl Edition. We had a conversation about the events that transpired at that Gen*Con:
Me: So what won?
Doug Wimberly: Monks
Doug Wimberly: Military
Me: You have me intrigued…
Doug Wimberly: So which starters do you want?
I ended up buying a Brotherhood of Shinsei starter deck. I was enthralled with being able to beat down with some Kung Fu style monks or attempt Enlightenment.
Two months later, I began to dig into the stories.
The first story I feel in love with was one of the earliest stories in the game’s history: Private Lessons.
Private Lessons was a story involving the character Kakita Toshimoko (Illus. by Quinton Hoover, right) and the son of the Crane Clan champion, Doji Hoturi. This was a story very early in the game’s history but it certain displays the power of great story telling. Two samurai duel and only one walks away. The power of a character like Kakita Toshimoko sucked me into the world that I’ve been enthralled with for 18 years.
While Private Lessons sucked me in, the second story affirmed my clan affiliation to this day. The Son of Storms was a story found on the back of a Stronghold card in a set called Time of the Void. This story was a meeting between the members of several clans before the final battle that culminated on the Second Day of Thunder. The leader of the alliance was a man named Yoritomo (Illus. by Jason Behnke, left), whose nickname was the Son of Storms. His brashness, strength, bluntness, and his willingness to never give in made him legendary in my eyes.
While I have occasionally picked up other clans, from that moment forward, I am forever Mantis.
I’ve been honored to be player of the CCG, the RPG, a local tournament organizer, a two-time Kotei organizer, a two-time playtester for the CCG, and had the pleasure of covering both a North American Championship and a World Championship with The 6th Ring.
The one thing that has brought me the most joy, beyond the friendships, has been running the Kolat Information Network. While I can take credit for being the only Kolat affiliated site, I must give credit to the websites / blogs that came before me that inspired me to pick up the torch 6 years ago:
- Andy Heckt’s Writings of a Deathseeker
- The Stronghold
- Todd Rowland’s Save the Ogres
- Dr. Zen Faulkes’s Steel and Iron
- The Jade Hand
Each of these pages brought a unique view of L5R. They brought information, strategy, spoilers, tournament results, links, resources, history, and a bit of fun. While my blog has been controversial, especially with the Kolat as the theme, I’m still quite happy with the outcome. I plan on continuing the site for as long as possible because L5R fans want the best information. Whom better to bring it to them than the master of information?
To members of the Wasp, the Centipede, and the Fox, we anxiously await the day we join forces once more.
To members of the Sparrow, we missed your political strength and swordsmanship the last time. Hopefully, you will join us when the time comes to be our political wing.
I stand here before you ready to serve once more. While I was not lucky enough to join your cause leading up to our birth as a Great Clan before, I stand ready to help lead us toward victory! While my name has changed since the end of the CCG, my fervor for this clan has not nor shall it ever waiver. Until which time our clan returns to the field of battle, my ship and my crew will continue to be mercenaries whom bear the mon of the Mantis. My ship may be docked among the great Islands of Spice and Silk but it is poised to launch at a moment’s notice.
Only one clan had the courage stand against the waves.
Only one clan had a man become a Kami.
Only a fool stands in the path of the storm.