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Shane

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  1. Actually, you know what? I think the conventions of an iai duel might have changed between editions. The iai duel bit in conflicts don’t mention one strike duels at all, just that the weapon(s) may not be drawn before the duel. So that implies that the old idea of staredown followed by one strike might not be the intent. It could be more a position change, react, draw, posture, strike thing. Perhaps duels in the new edition are meant to work this way, hence the mechanics?
  2. But as soon as you take out your weapon in an iai duel (assuming the Rokugani draw and strike convention) and you aren’t striking, you have stepped outside the conventions of an iai duel. Neither glorious, nor honourable.
  3. Y’know, I wonder if we (who are trying to fix this mechanically) are going at this a little wrong? @Avatar111 is absolutely right that there are mechanical issues to the iai duelling. However, I wonder if we haven’t considered the narrative enough. The intent of the iai duel is a one cut resolution. So perhaps the fact that you are better always striking is a mechanical issue, but not a story one. After all, how can you win an iai duel if you just wail at your opponent? Sure, they will be injured or dead, but anyone watching just saw you fail at iai. That’s got too be worth a glory penalty. Any if you go into an iai duel then deliberately don’t iai? Honour loss, for sure. Low or no honour characters can do what they want, sure. Or those away from view can do what they want if they are willing to forfeit honour. But that’s not necessarily a problem in character or in setting; walking the path of honour is supposed to be difficult (see ninja, Giri, strife, etc). Perhaps thinking like this this will push people towards trying for the one-hit unmask victory; which makes all the options much more useful. The one change I can see bing needed mechanically is to allow the free attack from unmasking to include readying 1 or 2 one-handed weapons. This is an exception-based rules, sure, but then so is the unmasking free attack. So I wonder if they way to fix this is with Rokugani social expectations, rather than mechanics?
  4. Well, the strife does tick up equally for each player each turn, and you can use Water opportunity to reduce strife, right? So you can control the pace a bit. But yeah, without a way to add strife to the enemy you won’t have a way to up it. Intimidate skills to incite strife, maybe?
  5. Ah, I see your point. That action finishing below does not automatically let you draw your weapon to do it. I would simply say that the finishing blow includes a prepare action for free. How you get round the fact that people without the right kata can’t draw and strike in the same action. Giving the free draw for the finishing blow also makes taking the duel to breakpoint more attractive in rules terms. Good catch.
  6. I suspect the design decision was to push to the point of a finishing blow in Iai duels. As you can't crit on an Iai kata use through opportunity this seems likely. Sure, there is a more mechanically valuable approach (strike spamming), but the in-setting expectation is the "one strike kill", so acting earlier and having to hack your opponent to death in a Iai duel is less glorious and likely to bring whispers and judgemental attitudes. So *how* you use the rules available as a player matters in the setting, I think. I do agree that Predict and Center are sub-par by the look of them, but the decision to not allow Iai kata to crit could be very deliberate.
  7. I would call it something else, perhaps Observe, and say that you get the benefit of Predict, but if you are in Void stance you also get the benefit of Center. Or simply say that anyone who Predicts can Center for free if they are in Void stance, or vice-versa.
  8. As written I can see how it might turn a duel, if someone did gain the 4 strife from choosing the predicted stance at the wrong time. Another idea that occurs to me is what if stances and actions were secretly chosen after initiative (so you know the initiative order before you decide)? Then the stances/actions are revealed and resolved in initiative order. This means you have to make your plans based on your opponent’s actions on previous rounds and can’t react to their decision this turn; but it does reflect the sudden flurry of action aspect of staredown duels in which you both react suddenly. This might lead to more finishing blow endings as people cannot consciously avoid predicts, perhaps? Thanks for the comments so far. Shane (oh, I’m a he, Avatar111 🙂 )
  9. A bit of thread-maho here... So, I haven’t got the game to the table yet, but an idea occurs to me: what happens if Center and Predict are combined into one action? Does this new action become inherently valuable enough to challenge the supremacy of strike-spamming in the RAW? The way I see it they could be combined in two ways (the first less powerful than the second): 1) Predict as normal with a Center action at the same time, or 2) Predict as normal then Center kicks in as a freebie when they have declared their stance and you know what stance they are in (allowing you to choose you boosted skill there and then before choosing your action for the turn). Would this make a difference? Be too much? I’m still internalising the RAW, so please pick this apart if I am wrong. Shane
  10. Whilst getting ready for my first L5R game in almost 15 years, I came across some older fiction on my harddisk I wrote almost 20 years ago when I first discovered L5R. I thought I would share it here. I tried to intertwine current and past narratives in one story, and I think it worked okay. The Space Between Two Heartbeats He stood, staring into dark, cold eyes. Memories, as clear as yesterday. The young man looked down the hill toward the castle where he would lodge for one year, to learn more of the honourable ways of his clan’s northern neighbours. He spurred his horse down the hill and into the outer courtyard of his host. As he passed over the sparkling blue moat he saw a woman as lovely as the mother of the Kami herself stood on a balcony high up in the main palace. Their eyes met briefly, and he knew then that he would love this woman, whoever she may be, forever. In his mind he could see her watching him from the crowd gathered at the courtyard’s edge, though he knew her to be far from him, and grieved that her heart could be closed to him by his own foolish actions. Memories, burned into his heart. An old man watched two young lovers walk by a stream in the large, perfect gardens of Shiro Shiba. They stopped for a time, beneath a tree alive with the colourful riot of spring. The man, dressed in his fine blue and white, reached up and plucked a blossom from the lowest branch and cast it onto the bubbling waters. Although the old gardener could not hear the words the handsome samurai spoke, the lovely maiden raised her fan to hide the blush that followed them, her pale face lit as crimson red as the mon on her golden kimono at the eloquence of his praise. They looked briefly into each other’s eyes and for a moment time stood still as a perfect love was shared. The crisp wind began to stir and slowly, the first few flakes of the day’s snow began to fall around him, and the other who stood near him. The news had arrived at his father’s court earlier that day. From the north a rider had come, through the cold depths of winter, a rider with wrath in his voice and vengeance in his heart. The evening breeze cooled the young monk as he knelt in silent supplication at the shrine consecrated to the Lady of the Sun. Breathing deeply, he immersed himself in the scents of the summer. A strange, sweet perfume hung at the edges of the young man’s perception amid the scents of the flowers and sweet grass and returned his mind to the mundane around him. His ears, previously hearing only the glory of Ammeratsu, caught the soft tread of a sandal as a woman passed, walking quickly but gracefully toward the quarters used by the guests of the master of this pious house. His eyes opened slowly and he saw her, alone, enveloped in an aura of beauty, entering a door almost lost to sight in the shadows of the dusk. In his hand he felt the solid hilt of his grandfather’s sword. He sought for the usual reassuring strength it imparted but in his mind he could only see the crumpled body, dark, rich blood staining the bright red hue of its kimono. A kimono raggedly torn by his dishonourable, anger-fuelled action, using the very blade whose spirit now shunned him. The daimyo looked across the small table at the elderly woman knelt on the cushion opposite him. She had come from the south, travelling a long road through the beginning of autumn’s chill, to present him with a request of marriage, for his own daughter’s hand. The request came from a fine family, with a long tradition of honour and glory. Though it pleased him, and he knew his daughter’s heart on this, it could not be so. His precious flower was promised to another. Slowly the chill of the air bit into his muscles, and he felt numb, isolated from those who once had stood beside him, who now stood sheltered in the eves, waiting to condemn him. Even his father had turned away, awaiting his son’s proof by arms that he told no lie. The lie that he knew weighed down his very soul. He stood in her visiting room, waiting to present himself to her, to take her from here before the first snows of winter fell on the castle of her lord. How could it happen? How could her father dare to belittle their love like this? The door opened. Instead of the tall slender beauty of the daughter of Shiba, he saw her brother. In his eyes he held a look of hatred and contempt, and in his voice the fury of the elements. Before the screen behind the warrior closed, he saw the shape of his beloved, altered by belly that held new life. His opponent stood impassive, unmoving, like a statue carved only to face him in this yard. He forced down his fear and vowed that he would stand true, like all those who had learned in his school, the very school that had trained the Son of Heaven himself. Slowly he concentrated on the beating of his heart. His eyes settled on the man standing between him and his love. The blade sang as it rushed from the saya and the arrogant, blustering fool fell, victim to the sword’s deadly song. The warm blood sprayed across his kimono and splashed hot crimson on to the cold white screens. The anger in his heart slowly drained away and he realised what he had done, that he must flee this place. Something in his silent opposite’s eyes changed and the young man knew that soon he would be facing more than just a steely stare, but instead a fine steel blade that meant to take his life. His grip tightened on his own sword. His heart beat strongly in his breast. A rider came, through the cold winter, riding when no sane man would. Thunder on his lips, a blood feud guiding his words. He knew he was trapped by his lies. A challenge. Live or die by his choices. He sought the clarity of the Void, the certainty of action and purpose of spirit. It eluded him. His opponent stood serene and pure. His heart beat strongly in his breast. A young peasant boy, hidden in the bushes in the cold, snowy courtyard saw the two men facing each other, their hands on their swords. In the blink of an eye a blade was drawn and a man fell, his life taken from him by the lightning strike of his enemy. As blood slowly ran into the snow, colouring its pure white like paint on a canvas, the boy turned his head away. And his heart beat no more. He looked around and saw that he stood in an ephemeral countryside, one almost lost to his sight whenever he looked upon it. All around him faceless figures walked past, headed to some unseen destination, following a path that called to them from within their souls. He looked around again. He could see no path.
  11. Mine arrived here on Wednesday (sent from FRPGames on the 2nd), so allowing for FPO being that bit slower they made quite good time. We've just finished the beginner box adventure, so next time we play it's on to character generation. Happy me.
  12. Whether it is a dirty move or not would depend solely on your gorup's opinion. Each group to their own. When I GM I like to use DS destiny points are regularly as I can. I like the players ot have LS destiny points available to enocurage them to be heroic so I have to spend the DS ones, and I also like the extra potential for failures and threats to complicate their actions because failure and threat can be just as interesting as success and advantage if it's done right. Regards, Shane
  13. I think if we see other eras or the like it'll come after the three planned and announced games in the way that stuff like Black Crusade followed the other 40K games. Shane
  14. My copy (plus GM kit and two lots of dice) left FRPGames late on July 1st, but I'm not expecting to see it here in Afghanistan for a while; depends on USPS/FPO. Got some folks on base here playing the beginner game tomorrow, so hopefully we should be moving onto the full game soon, FPO and workload permitting. Shane
  15. From talking on the phone to a fair number of retailers I reckon the average store price here int he UK will hover around £60-£65. Shane
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