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Magnus Grendel

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  1. Magnus Grendel

    Rules for 3d??

    There was an 'altitude' element to Dungeons & Dragons: Attack Wing, but that was because the game also had elements not in X-wing; a specific 'ground level', ground-only units (and units which had a different dial on the ground to in the air - big ancient dragons basically had to land to turn around ), and a distinction between 'ranged' and 'melee' attacks. The game had 'landed' and 'low level' tokens for units capable of flight, which did more or less the same as is suggested. The main issues are: Having too many levels of height makes it easy to run away - because a faster ship can 'duck' or 'climb' to range 3 or beyond, it becomes a lot harder to 'pin' more elusive foes (like Dash Rendar) against a board edge or corner, and (in the specific case of @Azrapse's suggestion - which are creative but have a few issues - operating 1 altitude level clear of your opponent makes you functionally immune to bombs). Having trouble turning is one thing, but ships with poor turns will now be unable to match a climb or dive even if they take stress to turn, meaning they'll really struggle to engage an opponent. There's no real 'advantage' to high or low other than just increasing the space to run away into. In 'atmospheric dogfighting' games, like Aeronautica Imperialis (the old 40k one), altitude matters a lot, because you trade it for speed, but the ground targets which win you the mission are at the bottom of the altitude pile, and - as noted by @Arschbombe you get different ships having altitude limits - up to and including some fighters being able to disengage through the 'top' of the map.
  2. That's correct; the critical has to inflict the Bleeding condition once any increases (Way of the Crane) or decreases (Way of the Crab) to the severity are taken into account. If you can keep reducing it to severity 0 with fitness checks I don't think you even give away any 'points' if it does to the judges... Unless it changed from the Beta, Way of the Crab is only one-use-per-scene but even in ceremonial robes, taking 1 + school rank off the severity of a critical plus the effect of a fitness check is a huge deal, especially if they're fighting in earth stance so you have to either incapacitate them or pull something like Flowing Water Strike. Flowing Water Strike is basically the I Win At Duels To First Blood technique - it's water stance allowing you to ready your blade and strike in one turn and it's only TN3 with no opportunity spends required - it doesn't (if they pass a fitness check) even inflict fatigue, so it's rather honourably drawing juuuuust enough blood to win the duel and no more.
  3. Magnus Grendel

    Attribute ranks?

    If they're aware who the Daimyo is and are actively refusing to bow - rather than just "who's that guy with the stupid hairdo? What? Oh, bugger" - then it's either "Directly Insulting someone of Higher Status" or "Directly Insulting your Lord" (depending on whether they're sworn directly to the Daimyo or 'their lord' is some intervening noble). In the former case it's a Major Breach of Rei (Courtesy) - which would cost you about double your honour rank (so if you were honour 40 that's 8 points of honour - 16 for a Crane, 4 for a Crab or Unicorn), in the latter case it's a Massive Breach, worth triple your rank (24 honour for a Crane, 12 for most clans, 6 for Crab or Unicorn).
  4. Magnus Grendel

    Campaign Kernel Feedback

    Fair enough. If players aren't used to the setting, then showing the clans off in (moderately) bright primary colours helps introduce the settings. The scorpion will need a credible reason to be there other than just screwing up everyone else's lives, though, because his presence can only be at the invitation or at least sufferance of the Daimyo. Makes sense. Keeping potential points of argument out of sight and out of mind is a good idea. Depending on whether you plan on having the scorpion be a courtier or bushi, this might be a good place to introduce them; If the Ronin are either ex-scorpions or have been kicked off scorpion lands previously and this character has been sent to ensure they're not causing problems elsewhere. Depends whether you want to show the ronin as unemployed mercenaries, out-and-out bandits or just ex-samurai trying to survive. Depends. The Ronin aren't sworn servants of the Daimyo. This means that their presence is not 'approved' - it's not explicitely 'disapproved' unless the Daimyo choses to do so but any samurai, ronin, or frankly anyone else on her territory should have come to her or her representative, paid respects and asked permission to pass through, or else presented permission from someone above her in the social hierarchy (like an imperial letter of passage). That said, as long as they're not causing trouble, it's not inherently a problem. The issue is, they almost certainly are. At a basic level, she is obligated to see to the needs of the samurai sworn to serve her and the heimin who work her lands. If these are neither, then the issue isn't sitting by the fire, it's the fact that they're eating the villages' winter stores of food, which if it's a bad winter might lead to starvation - and it won't be the ones with swords and armour doing the starving. If they're prepared to pay for their food and shelter, it's probably not an issue, but that assumes the Ronin have money - and if they did they'd probably be staying somewhere more salubrious. The options boil down to: Kick them out - which probably means a fight and they freeze or starve or both. This probably means a fight, and depending how big the gang is, the Lion, their Crane Yojimbo and Nefarious Moustache-Twirling Scorpion #5,327 from Central Casting may have a nasty fight on their hands. The Magistrate can probably supply some spare hands - Budoka/Ashigaru (basically armed peasant militia) but if they were enough to kick the Ronin out by themselves most likely they'd have done so without sending a request for help up the hierarchy. Which is fine if they're out-and-out ruffians, but a bit more of a heart-string-puller if they're relatively good people Since this is an intro adventure I draw your attention to the peace treaty and local history you want to pass to the players without turning into Exposition Cat. Finding out that the ronin are in part former crane samurai dispossessed/demobilised after armies scaled down in the wake of the peace treaty and the shuffling of holdings that set the lion/crane border where it currently is might be one thought: They are or were honourable enough samurai that the Daimyo's subordinates basically dismissed because they were neither needed nor affordable once the fighting stopped. Allow them to stay unchallenged This makes the family look weak - always a bad thing if anyone important gets sight of it - although you can contain the area if you work at it. More immediately - this means the villagers will risk starvation Given the ronin's example, some of the sparkier peasants might well turn bandit to survive, spreading the problem to the rest of the magistrate's district - although a bunch of desperate peasants will be easier to contain than a bunch of well-armed, grizzled ronin. Ship food to the village. This is costly to do, especially in winter. It's tolerable if the Ronin can pay It's also tolerable if the clan 'owes' them subsistence - because they've been retained to perform some meaningful service for the magistrate or the Daimyo. This could be a case of some or all - retaining the more respectable ex-crane samurai to give you a 'posse' to run any other less ethical (or at least less attached to the region) ex-scorpion Ronin off your lands, for example.
  5. Magnus Grendel

    What do you prioritize in games: positioning or coordination?

    Well, that's very much a balancing act and depends on the two ships' relative firepower and toughness. The ideal is always I shoot and you don't, but to me one of the defining traits of arc dodgers is that given a choice between both ships getting a shot and neither ship getting a shot, arc dodgers tend to prefer the latter.
  6. Magnus Grendel

    Can Real-Life Formation Tactics Work?

    The Khiraxz is an interesting ship to fly as a mob - it's one of the only medium-weight ships (3 attacks and enough health to be functionally immune to one-hit-kills from any attacker) you can field in a mob of 5. Its dial isn't amazing for flying in a swarm, but it's not bad. Ultimately, your 'threat zone' is the arc-of-fire 'cones', and your tactics need to cover a balance between: covering as big an area as possible 'double-covering' or 'triple covering' the key areas (because a second or third shot after a target spends tokens is worth proportionately more than the first) using as 'gentle' manoeuvres as possible to ensure everyone has tokens to modify their attacks. Echelon is a good case in point. IF you have a big enough 'gap' then it's a worthwhile formation to consider a heavy swarm dropping into. You have to deploy in a box or line abreast, or some sort of 'starter formation' because your deployment zone isn't very 'deep' Imagine deploying 5 Khiraxz against your left board edge: K_K_K __K_K A sequential acceleration - outer ship doing [á4], then the next two [á3] and finally, the last [á2] gives a formation: K __K __K_K _____K which gives a nice 'leading edge' at a 45' angle for you to bank in and engage with everyone more or less at the same range of a target. Choosing to split into two groups - the Thatch Weave as mentioned is a thing, but it's best with stuff like wookie gunships, which lack 180' "end-around" moves, because they must have a plan for one wingman shooting a trailer off a second; someone on your tail for any prolonged period of time is a death sentence. It's not bad with less manoeuvrable ships too. I'd agree range 1-2 is about the right distance (rather than being within range 1 or range 3) - spread out too much and it risks someone coming into range of one unit and not the others. Splitting up is especially useful against manoeuvrable opponents. The key there tends to be in coming in at different angles. My striker swarm tends to try and do this - spread out and come in not in a line but in a firing 'arc', such that the centre of the 'pocket' is covered from multiple different directions, and boosting or rolling out of arc on one side tends to put you into range 1 on another. One last thing is 'dragnet' deployment. When you're facing someone fast and squirrelly (Dash, Miranda, etc) it's often worth breaking up your formation outside mutual support range. This is relevant to ensure that when your formation closes on the target, someone is coming in from ahead and someone from behind. If your squad ends up entirely chasing an opponent where they can take potshots backward with a turret and keep the range open, it's going to end badly for you, because heavy swarms thrive on massed close range fire where 5 ships generate 5 bonus red dice for their separate offensive bonuses
  7. Magnus Grendel

    Black Crusade Campaign Thread

    Haarlock, being Haarlock, decided to head straight off into the altar chamber to talk to the 'Cardinal', leaving Catarina and Adjo Gahiji behind He was rather surprised to find on rounding the corner that he was no longer able to move or speak (failed willpower test). Catarina followed, passing the willpower test but failing a perception test, to find the Cardinal stood in the middle of the room, and engaging her in polite conversation. Several ecclesiarchal relics were sat on the floor around him. The Lord Corruptor, on Adjo Gahiji's suggestion, proceeded to the Navigator's chambers. These proved to be empty, but also surprisingly dishevelled - MIU data jack cables and nutrient feeds lying uncoiled on the floor as if the navigator had stood up mid-trance, unplugged himself and simply walked off. The fact that the nearby artwork and luxurious fur rugs showed a great deal of frost damage did nothing to reassure him. Adjo Gahiji decided to take a direct approach, using mind probe to poke one of the priests in the entrance hall. Catarina asked the 'Cardinal' why his crew seemed so welcoming. The response was "what...is a crew?". With an 'a-ha!' she kicked the nearest ecclesiarchal relic away. ....And instantly partly regretted doing so. Haarlock, stood there like a lemon for this whole exchange, had passed the perception test (heightened sense all) and as such had been seeing the same thing Catarina now saw all along the whole time but wasn't able to do anything about it. The Cardinal was still there but was a skeleton, wrapped around with tentacles which were protruding from a rippling gateway where the altar was. The gateway was an arch made of inside-out people. The keystone of the arch had a human face - or at least the underlayers of one - but with three eyes. A half-dozen foot-thick tentacles swirled out of the shimmering wall of the gateway, twisting the cardinal's skeleton to simulate movement. The relics were placed at the cardinal points of a now-broken binding circle, which had not been visible under the illusion. The scorched corpse of someone bearing the sigil of a senior inquisitorial agent lay crushed against one wall. At the same time, the priests in the entrance hall all turned to face Adjo Gahiji. Finger-sized warp kraken larvae started to pour out of their eye sockets and mouths by the dozen, forming a buzzing, screaming swarm attacking the sorcerer. Larger kraken started to screech up the corridors towards the Lord Corruptor, who hefted his combi-bolters and opened fire down the passageway at the oncoming horde. The fight was nasty. The Lord Purgator - finally breaking free - did a credible job with his pistols at fending the tentacles off himself and the Lord Ravager - he was briefly dominated and shot her in the back of the head but fortunately with a bolt pistol as his plasma pistols were both recharging at the time. The Lord Corruptor managed to wipe out the oncoming horde, but not before one combi-bolter ran dry. At least he didn't manage to jam either of them this time. The Lord Deceiver flung a couple of Bolts of change to cut holes in the swarm - one unfettered and then a second one pushed. The latter was a real problem as he suffered the Grand Possession perils of the warp. It would take a few turns to come to fruition, though. In the meantime he grabbed the Crusade Banner and - aside from suffering some non-trivial burns from the sanctified relic - used it almost as a flyswatter to keep the kraken larvae off him. Haarlocks's minstrels were all killed by the swarm, and swiftly started spawning kraken larvae themselves. The Lord Ravager was the star of the show, triggering Taste of Home, Frenzy, and Barrage, and grabbing up another of the relics - a crozius which given its nature and history (a Cardinal's Blessed weapon which had been stuck in the warp for millennia) had both the sanctified and tainted qualities - and started smashing at the gate with her faintly ridiculous strength bonus, warning Haarlock that she was going to pass out shortly. Cracking open the gate forced the kraken on the far side of it to withdraw temporarily. The Lord Corruptor - investigating the Engineerium - found the servitors likewise infested and the warp engine core starting to buckle from blows being inflicted from the inside as the beast tried to force its way out a different way. Rather than fighting, he ran for the nearest airgate, and jumped, using his jump pack to aim himself at the Insatiable. Haarlock and Gahiji managed to drag Catarina's unconscious form clear, and got her halfway back to the hangar before triggering her armour's stimmshot to wake her up. There were no small amount of kraken spawn to fight past, ripping their way out of the corpses of her bezerker bodyguards and Haarlocks' minstrels, but at least the bay was comparatively safe - the Rubricae not having any flesh to infest, had kept the bay secure. The Lords Purgator, Ravager, and Deceiver made their way back to the Insatiable by one of the landers. It should have been an easy trip had the Lord Of Change which had been trying to force its way into Adjo Gahiji's brain not won its possession contest and got to a 5-degree-of-success advantage shortly after lift-off. Daemon-in-Gahiji started pumping bolts of change into Haarlock. The first caused his refractor field to short out and explode (but stop the damage) whilst the second left him critically damaged and on fire - rather an issue, he noted, as he was piloting the ship.. Catarina responsed by grabbing the crozius and using Takedown in what can best be described as a 40k version of Avengers: Age Of Ultron's "gotosleepgotosleepgotosleep" sequence. In this case, it worked (eventually) but not without Haalock and Catarina both emptying their remaining infamy points recovering wounds. Nevertheless, the odd life-threatening injury and possession aside, the Chosen have the relics they need for the ritual on Polydorus.
  8. Magnus Grendel

    "establishing" when spending opportunities.

    To be fair, it was even worse in the Beta; you had 'draw a weapon' as a * generic opportunity or as a ** opportunity attached to the Iaijutsu technique (allowing you to draw a second, weapon, obviously - the basic 'draw a blade' was included) This. We've always used 'change the environment' spends not to spontaneously turn things into woodland or to have a guy's arm disappear but so that 'plot-critical' details can be added during a fight - the equivalent of an Errol Flynn-esque "look, a chandelier rope!" (dramatically swings across to opposite balcony). The one that springs to mind was in a fight in a teahouse; a Crane courtier who was not exactly very gifted with a sword and trying to protect the family who ran the place from pirates used an opportunity to notice a big jug of water and the fire for heating the water - neither is exactly out of character for being in a tea house's kitchen but neither had been described at that point - and lobbed the one into the other, producing a big cloud of smoke and steam he used as cover to get the kitchen staff out the back. It's for anything that could and should realistically be there that can be useful with a bit of creativity. Like you say, it's not a great option for powergamers, but for narrative games it saves having to have a lot of book-keeping; if you try and be ludicrously strict with a game then what is listed is all that is ever in the environment, which means you need to go to nth degree of detail on the off chance something is relevant several sessions down the line. The Earth opportunity - where you happened to 'retroactively pack something in advance' - is a good example. If you've explicitely stated that you don't have item X, then you don't have it. The opportunity spend isn't magic. But if it's not been said one way or another, there's no reason a samurai on the road shouldn't have a flint and some firelighters about their person somewhere.
  9. Magnus Grendel

    Campaign Kernel Feedback

    Looks workable as a starting point. Fair enough. Probably not a city; just because this is a provincial/vassal family daimyo (assuming you don't want it to be the Crane Clan champion), so she'd only be handing over something that's part of 'her' territory (on the bit of border secured by the hostage treaty) that she won't have to defend surrendering to someone above her in the Clan hierarchy. A village, or bridge, or at most a small town or something like that is probably more like the scale we'd be looking at here. Fair enough; if it was his mother's final order as daimyo, he can't honourably overrule it or ignore it, but he also feels he can't honourably obey it. Seppuku is the 'cannot resolve conflict, exit problem sideways' option. If you really want chaos, the next in line should ideally be several someones. if you really want to throw the cat amonst the pigeons (or Lion amongst the Cranes), the same local peace treaty which produced the hostage might well have been secured the other way by a diplomatic marriage (Lion hostaged to the Crane in Crane lands, their same-gender sibling marries the Crane daimyo's child in Lion lands)......supposing that child (who the court's hard-liners probably now think of as a Lion or at least 'tainted' by association) is now the heir? Because if in doubt have a scorpion to screw everything else up.... Could just as easily be that Imperial family....Otomo, I think? Whose role is to poke the great clans with a stick and stop them getting along nicely with one another. It's arguably easier to have an Imperial representative as a local ambassador of the imperial court without everyone going 'scorpion! it's all their fault!' and accusing them of everything up to and including murdering the Daimyo, secretly changing the text of her final decree, blackmailing the heir into suicide, littering, and secretly being Fu Leng in a false nose and moustache. I mean, the Otomo are just as much a bunch of smug manipulative jerks as the Scorpion clan but for some reason they don't get the same level as bad press. They look after the flow of trade to and from Imperial territories, so if there's an Imperial Highway passing through the region, it's perfectly reasonable their might be an Otomo diplomat there to ensure it's respected and issue licenses to trade and that sort of thing. If they tried to murder the hostage, quite possibly the peace treaty comes unstuck very quickly. Especially if the court comes down on the side of "we never heard the Daimyo's command" as when they hear the story, you can pretty much guarantee that the lion's militants will decide that that makes the town 'theirs' and advocate to move to reclaim it and eject any crane occupants. A big part of the story's focus there will be how strong the two families are relative to one another, and whether the rest of the clan is likely to be dragged in by any war, and how long this treaty has been in force. Ultimately, if they get the hostage to safety, and the town is handed over to the lion, the lion will (probably) be happy. If they get the hostage back but don't get the town when they think they should....that's more of an issue. If it's an old promise, I'd like to think she'd have laid the groundwork for it a bit better. An old debt, maybe, especially if called in unexpectedly. A classic in this situation is her receiving a letter or a visitor prior to making the decree. Sounds interesting. Plus, if using a Crane/Lion marriage as the 'other end' of the treaty bond, you've effectively reversed the situation - you've now got a Crane stuck in Lion lands, with the lion getting riled up....but this Hostage doesn't have the option to run away as they're married - perhaps even to someone they've grown to love, or with children, if the treaty's been around long enough. So you need to defuse a burgeoning war. If using the 'decision made after receiving letter on deathbed' then the person sending the letter was presumably either from the lion province or previously from there (if, for example, they were someone made ronin after the war - a samurai accepting being unjustly 'disavowed' by their clan as part of the peace treaty so that no-one remaining on either side could be blamed for some particularly nasty atrocity in the fight) - finding them might give the PCs the leverage they need.
  10. Magnus Grendel

    Magistrates: Forget it Jake, it's Rokugan

    That makes sense; "making sure it was totally impartial" is a reason to pull in a neutral 'arbiter', especially when you have no intention of being impartial and think you can pull an end-run around them. Agreed. It's a very good story, and one with a couple of interesting hooks for the future campaign; firstly you've got the twins now 'floating around' as dispossessed-and-probably-angry-about-it ronin in the same magistrature district as the PCs, who might at some point smell a rat - even if they don't figure out their armour was snatched, the fact that 'there are no guards in that part of town' is a red flag to someone looking at the events with suspicious hindsight and plenty of time on their hands. If they're encountered again later in the campaign, especially if they're in dire straits or involved in something borderline criminal and just trying to survive, you'll have an interesting bit of tension because the players (at least) and Kitsuki Yakumo in particular will know they put them there for no better reason than it was politically inconvenient not to. The fact that they're twins opens up all sorts of potential for confusion, too, if one brother were to turn nasty and the other not. secondly you've got the question that apparently never came up - that's a clever plan but requires a reasonable amount of preparation (because whilst no-one cares about peasants you've got to find the 'Ronin' somewhere); how quickly did Akodo Kazu come up with the plan? Most importantly, did he know in advance that this was planned - and did he have anything to do with the father's death? thirdly, just why does Akodo Kazu hate that family so much? 'I want your lands back' is a reason to come up with a pretext to take them. 'I don't like your family' is a reason to get rid of their surviving heirs. To deface multiple dead generations family armour as well as the above requires a really big reason - at least in Akodo Kazu's brain - sufficient to justify either defacing the family armours and (presumably) ordering the servants not to clean or fix them. That strikes me as the sort of nasty bit of history that's likely to get ploughed up if Seppun Gen'Ichi's band of merry minons are poking around in the region for any other reason.
  11. Magnus Grendel

    Black Crusade Campaign Thread

    Session 13 (Also a slight anniversary - last game night was 5 years to the week since I first met the wonderful person who is now my Wife. She joined us during a game night and was confused - if intrigued - by the whole 'RPG' concept, but came round to it very rapidly; especially after being introduced to the concept of the chainsword and the Dark Heresy critical tables when working out some anger after a very bad day) We had a full turnout this time - the Lord Corruptor slightly annoyed he'd missed the fireworks the last time and increasingly bemused and concerned at recent turns of events: "You're planning to what now?" "The ship is where now?" He - and, to be fair, the other Chosen - took the immediate, not-entirely-unjustified assumption that the Righteous Wrath's message was either a trap or deadly in some other way, but since they'd come all this way to board the ship, they couldn't exactly ignore it. They decided to move in relatively close - a few kilometres - to the Carrack, such that if the Imperial ship's turrets started shooting at their transports they wouldn't have far to go to either reach their target or fall back to the cruiser. As an ace in the hole, they decided for the Night Lord to use his jump pack to void-jump to the hull of the other ship (his armour has mag-boots and the Mark of Nurgle means he doesn't need to breathe) This took an operate (aeronautica) and stealth check to make the jump discretely whilst the other chosen crossed in halo barges The chosen arrived at the docking bay of the Wrath un-shot, and their paranoia was further ratcheted up to find a side party waiting for them, wearing Imperial Merchant Fleet and Ecclesiarchy heraldry, standing to attention. "They do know who we are, right?" "We've come on shuttles from a cruiser covered in chaos iconography and we've disembarked from the shuttles in the company of traitor astartes. We've not exactly been coy about our allegiance here." "Then why are they saluting instead of screaming 'burn the heretics' and trying to kill us?" "Would it make you feel better if they were?" "Actually, yes, I think it probably would..." Meanwhile the Lord Corruptor magboot clambered his way over the hull to the bridge tower. He found an access port and tried to override the access controls to get inside the bridge, which appeared undamaged but powered down. In the hangar bay, a lieutenant saluted the Lord Purgator and welcomed them aboard. The Lord Deceiver passed a Psynicience check, sensing an annoying whispering sound right on the edge of his psychic 'hearing'. The Lord Purgator also has the Psynicience ability, but failed the check - dismissing the 'sound', if he heard it at all, as the effects of a drug-induced hangover. Haarlock confirmed that these were the original crew, and that they believed that they had been there for some time but that they had no idea exactly how long. Given that the Righteous Wrath was lost some time in mid M.38, the Chosen were pretty sure they hadn't experienced anything like real time He confirmed thathe captain had not survived the warp transit. When asked who was in charge, he told them that they should probably speak to the Cardinal, who was in the temple-shrine decks forward. "The...Cardinal?" "Yes, sir. Follow me." The pair of Catarina's Bezerkers and Haarlock's minstrels accompanied them, whilst Adjo Gahiji ordered the two rubricae he'd bought with him to guard the landers. Adjo Gahiji used Thought Sending to pass an update on what had happened to the Lord Corruptor. Meanwhile, the Lord Corruptor failed his tech-use test. He managed to force the airgate open, but a security system was triggered in the process. In the main companionway, the Lieutenant handed off the Chosen to an ensign, apologising for leaving but citing an "unexpected development" which "required his attention" and leaving them heading aftwards and upwards, presumably towards the bridge. Gahiji once again used Thought Sending to warn the Lord Corruptor, who used stealth and his abilities as a former Night Lord to hide in the darkness of the powered-down bridge. Relatively soon afterwards, a pair of crewmen entered the bridge and searched it. They checked the airgate he had entered by and reset the security system, but failed to find him. He noted after they had left that they hadn't been armed, and that at no point had either of them spoken to the other. The minstrels were left to secure the companionway, whilst the Chosen arrived at the vast Aquila-carved double doors of the shrine decks. Within was a grand entrance hall, full of finely-dressed ecclesiarchy priests. The chosen had to pass fear tests, but passed and entered, noting that the priests seemed to be completely ignoring them, concentrating on the various devotional artworks on the walls. The Lord Deceiver noticed a banner - arguably the banner, the Crusade Banner of the Truvian War of Faith, on the bulkhead. This was the battle-flag of the Cardinal's forces and certainly a suitable relic for their purposes (although they found more the better). The Lord Ravager noticed at this point that the priests really hadn't reacted to them, even to the point of turning round. More importantly, there was no chanting For that matter there was no talking of any kind Or, in fact, the sound of breathing.
  12. If you take a critical strike then you are 'hit', even if the strike doesn't do anything. One thing which helps get people's mind in the right place is the duelling rules: A severity 0 critical, as @The Grand Falloon says, can still damage armour (although if you don't have any armour it doesn't do anything else). But it still qualifies as "you are hit by the weapon" so you can, for example, win a Duel-to-first-strike with it (but not a duel-to-first-blood, which, special qualities and techniques aside, requires a critical strike of a certain minimum severity to cause the Bleeding condition). By comparison, a successful strike action is not a 'hit' if the target is able to defend (takes fatigue to dodge/deflect/whatever) and that won't win a duel to first strike, even if it inflicts a shed-tonne of fatigue. It can win a duel-to-incapacitation, like an all-out sparring bout with bokken where one side basically backs off, bruised, out of breath, exhausted, and goes "okay, okay, enough already...." Try and avoid using the word 'hit' with your players on attack actions if that's going to promote confusion. Armour reduces the fatigue you take from a successful strike (or other attack) - because if you've got armour protecting you, you don't need to bother so much about a minor impact, you basically just let your armour soak it and "defend" by essentially doing nothing. It doesn't reduce critical severity. To qualify as 'a critical strike' it already assumes it's penetrating or otherwise bypassing your armour - note that L5R doesn't roll to hit locations and any type of armour gives a blanket protection to the whole body, rather than any given strike being resolved against arm/torso/face whatever like it would in Dark Heresy. Basics of 'stabby conflict' - Duels and Skirmishes: Initiative: You have two initiative values - focus and vigilance. Basically, the former is when you know conflict is about to start (say, a formal duel) whereas the latter is for 'surprise' conflicts (like an ambush) - you'll notice it's generally lower. Assessment checks are a roll which let the players boost their initiative with successes. The nature of the assessment check varies with the type of conflict (meditation for duels, tactics for skirmish) They also give you bonuses for passing (like noticing key details of the environment) and as checks you can use opportunities for other stuff The ring you use for assessment also sets the stance you're in before your first turn if you're not going first. Rings In non-conflict scenes, the ring used for a check is a debate with the GM based on the approach you're using, but by and large it's fixed depending on what you're doing - if you're doing "awareness"-ey stuff (do I notice XYZ that I'm not aware of) it's water, whilst deceiving, tricking and misleading people is air, and so on. In conflict scenes, you can use whatever ring you like (okay, there are a couple of special cases which can force you to use or not use a given ring but they're very much the exception), but once you pick a stance you're locked into it until the next turn, and you have to use it for everything - martial arts checks to attack, fitness checks to mitigate critical strikes, the ring to suffer wounds to, etc. Plus, you get a passive bonus from the stance (like Void's ability to ignore strife results) - note that these abilities are conflict scenes only Actions You get a free move and one action per turn (water's passive benefit gives you a second action, provided it doesn't require a check, so stuff like calming breath to recover fatigue or an extra move are fair game). Actions have 'types' like attack, support, scheme, move or several of the above. Some abilities trigger off a given action type, and they're not all limited to a specific conflict scene type. A lot of the 'battlefield command' techniques are schemes, for example. Also, strike is a 'generic' attack action - not all attack actions are strikes. Spending ** for a critical strike is specific to a strike action - other attack actions don't inflict critical strikes unless they say they do. Ditto for using the range of the weapon, inflicting fatigue, whatever. As an example, Heartpiercing strike doesn't use either the standard TN of a strike action or the standard effect - it inflicts an automatic critical strike instead. Other techniques which are 'an attack action' may use ranges different to the 'printed' range of the weapon, or substitute the deadliness value for the damage, or other changes. By comparison, some abilities let you use a strike action "when XYZ" (crescent moon style is a good example, letting you counterattack after someone attacks you). Because this specifically uses the strike action, just out-of-sequence, this does follow all the standard rules for a strike action - meaning you might be entitled to a free strike but unable to do anything with it because of the range of the weapon you have equipped. As an aside, remember you always have 'punch', 'kick' and 'bite' unarmed attacks 'equipped' - although expect to risk loosing the odd point of honour and several million style points if you pick up a reputation for settling formal duels in front of high-status nobility by hoofing your opponent in the groin. 'Damage' You essentially have two 'hit point tracks' which don't necessarily represent actually being hit with your opponent's weapon; Strife (Composure) and Fatigue (Endurance). Losing fatigue could represent a hit - it could be tiredness, it could be bruises, or minor 'shaving cuts', or anything else which basically hurts, slows you down and generally makes the rest of the fight awkward. This is why 'blunt force trauma' weapons generally inflict a lot of fatigue, but have low deadliness Armour reduces it, allowing you to take minor hits without using up fatigue. your fatigue counts 'up' to your endurance, and doesn't stop when it hits it. When your fatigue is over your endurance, you're incapacitated - basically unable to act (you can do actions which don't require checks, so it's basically run away or do calming breaths to recover) but not 'dead' Note that 'incapacitated' and 'unconscious' are not one and the same (although the one often leads to the other). Strife is also a combination of fear, anger, exhaustion and any other emotion which is bad for your self-control. That's not to say it can't be useful (letting go your rage on the battlefield as an unmasking is potentially advantageous), but it's certainly limiting your ability to keep precise control of yourself - which is why when you're compromised in a duel, it's assumed to represent a blink or a wobble in your guard, and your opponent gets a potentially extremity-removing Finishing Blow immediately. Strife again counts up to your composure When strife is over your composure, you're compromised, which means you can't keep any further strife results on dice - which is bad generally but really bad for anyone relying on ring dice rather than skill dice. You can one-time-zero your strife by unmasking (the exact way you lose it to be agreed between player and GM based on the situation and your personality) but you are not forced to unmask, nor are you forced to accept a particular means of unmasking proposed by the GM, but sometimes the consequences for the unmasking can be as bad as just toughing it out with hobbled dice or spending a few turns calming yourself (especially in a formal setting like an intrigue) Critical strikes represent actual serious cuts and shattered limbs. The severity depends on the deadliness of the weapon inflicting the strike, the fitness roll of the victim, and the reroll for parrying (at a cost of damage to whatever you're parrying with). Blunt force trauma weapons often have low deadliness, which is why you'd spend a void point to not defend - defend, and you'd take a load of fatigue, be incapacitated and unable to fight back, and then they'd hit you again and render you unconscious. By comparison, don't defend, and you'll take a low-deadliness critical that you can probably reduce to nothing more than armour damage, and you can keep fighting with no penalty. Critical strikes are how you deliver the archetypical samurai one-blow-kill: razor-edged weapons give you the ability to increase the deadliness of a weapon by spending * results. To kill someone with a single strike, you need to: Make a successful strike action Spend ** to inflict a critical strike Spend sufficient * on the Razor-edged quality to increase the deadliness of the weapon to the point the resulting critical inflicts the Dying condition. Spend sufficient * on the Razor-edged quality to further counteract any reduction in deadliness from the target's fitness check to resist the critical Or, if your opponent is a minion, pretty much any serious damage will kill them. Minion opponents (unless in big groups) are basically there to make samurai look awesome.
  13. Magnus Grendel

    Black Crusade Campaign Thread

    Session 12 So.... blowing up a star system. How did we get to the point where this was the best option, again? Both this session - and the next few - are all considered part of the PCs key events for this turn (and possibly the next turn, as well, given how earthshaking the effects are going to be...) The Insatiable, with a small cadre of troops aboard, set course for Briseis. Once again, this session was played without the Lord Corruptor's player, who was stuck working. It took only a week to arrive, plus a few days to find a clan noble with an appropriate library of histories and legends they could use to research what happened to the Tyrant Cardinal (run as an investigation, end result 24 hours). Unfortunately the noble in question was Canamor Gelt, of the same bloodline as Ferias Gelt, the captain Haarlock publicly humiliated during the clanfleet conclave in the first session. This resulted in an opposed infamy check to get access to the library using the 'using infamy subtly' rules (Inf -20 to avoid having your fingerprints on it) as the Gelt bloodline would probably have rather burned the entire thing than turned it over to Haarlock or the other Chosen. The records showed how the remains of the Truvian War of Faith - those hardliners who refused the call to demobilise after the Imperium's capture of Briseis, had launched their assault into the Antenor Deeps. They followed the same warp routes which now provided Briseis' trading links to the deeper clanfleet enclaves in the warp storm The fleet became increasingly fractured as chunks - too ill-managed to be called 'detachments' - threw themselves at each enclave as they passed Finally the only ship left was the Righteous Wrath, Cantorini's flagship - a carrack-class trade ship refitted with shrines and reliquaries as a suitable vessel for a Cardinal-Astral's mobile palace. Moving to attack a fleet of clanfleet refugee ships, it was caught in a warp riptide and dragged into the Perdition Shoals, the 'eye' at the very heart of the Tyrant's Pyre. Forearmed with knowledge, the Insatiable set course deeper into the Pyre - avoiding the warp phenomena en route due to some efficient navigate (warp) rolls from the Lord Deceiver and some handy operate (voidship) rolls from the Lord Purgator. The journey did take a fair amount of time, though - over three weeks passing and a further two weeks at sublight as the Insatiable broke the edge of the storm rather impressively off course. This deep in the Tyrant's Pyre, the surviving human enclaves - well, largely mutant enclaves - are comprised of scavenger clans, who (in response to infamy checks) were able to provide (crude) charts of the Shoals, helping with the final stages of the warp navigation. The Shoal is a vast derelict graveyard - thousands of hulks, some from the region around Ilium, others dragged into the tides of the storm from elsewhere in the warp. Most are broken into fragments mere hundreds or even tens of metres across or even just gravel and dust, by the vast gravity riptides that twist across the region and caused no small amount of concern on the part of the Chosen - the Insatiable's repulsor shields and defence turrets working overtime to keep the hull from being damaged. Finding the Righteous Wrath in such a morass of debris - assuming it was still intact - could take years. The Chosen began a patrol through the edges of the debris field, active auspex pinging away. It took several hours before the Lord Ravager spotted a disturbance in the nearby debris field......something moving out from behind the cover of a nearby piece of wreckage a few hundred kilometres to port. Several somethings. The entities were a nightmarish mix of squid and scorpion, 'swimming' through the warp in a rapidly swelling hunting pack, as more and more of the things proved to be hibernating in nearby chunks of derelict ship. The beasts were roughly human sized, but there were dozens of them in the swarm. Insatiable ran out its macrobatteries, but the salvo of weapons designed to engage kilometre-long targets several VU away didn't achieve much against the warp-kraken, which were too close, too fast and too numerous. Defence turrets cut down a sizeable number, before they landed on the hull. Following the rules for the Hollow Men from Lure of the Expanse, they began scrabbling at the hull trying to cut their way in. The number attached to the hull represented the percentage chance of the ship suffering damage to a component. The first roll indicated damage, and the randomly selected component was the bridge. Fortunately for the Chosen, the Insatiable's Armoured Command Bridge passed its 'save' to ignore the damage, but I took the hint and rather than leaving the initiative with the Chosen, several hordes of Warp Kraken poured in through the bridge airgates and access hatches, and the Chosen were forced to try and fight them off. The fight was pretty nasty - the Lord Ravager and Lord Deceiver were badly injured, spending infamy to recover wounds, whilst the Lord Purgator huddled behind his minstrels, attempting to keep control of the Insatiable's manoeuvring to avoid any more swarms getting to the ship and at the same time avoid striking any large pieces of debris now the defence turrets were no longer fending them off. It was a brutal fight but was going fairly well until inevitably (off-screen) one of the Lord Corruptor's combi-bolters jammed and then (on-screen) the Lord Deceiver managed Perils of the Warp, managing Vice-Versa again. Whilst technically Vice-Versa only swaps two people, for the sake of keeping it interesting, I ruled it moved all three of the Chosen present that evening 'round one body' - the Lord Deceiver stuck in the Lord Ravager's body (one arm of which was engulfed in flame as the Skull Totem of Khorne reacted badly to the proximity of a psyker's soul), The Lord Purgator stuck in the Lord Deceiver's body (and now armed with astartes weaponry he didn't really know how to use), and perhaps most significantly, the Lord Ravager stuck in the body of the Lord Purgator, and flying the ship without the benefit of the Operate (Voidship) skill. Much fun was had by all - especially the Minstrels, who proved unexpectedly competent, and succeeded in shooting several kraken off the Lord-Purgator-In-Lord-Deceiver with some surprisingly accurate fire (now in a power-armoured astartes body that wasn't his - at least not for long - the Lord Purgator had no hesitation ordering them to fire into the melee, figuring that if they hit him by accident, it wasn't his problem in the long term...) and the Lord Ravager, who may have ruined the gilded hull of the Insatiable a little bit by sideswiping the remains of a freighter at full burn (admittedly scraping quite a few kraken off the side of the ship in the process), but the chosen eventually prevailed. And ended up back in the correct physical forms. Not long after the kraken were repelled, the Chosen encountered a weak distress call from a more intact derelict. They had to fend off another marauding swarm, but with the turrets forewarned this time, they did a lot better and none of the beasts made it to the Insatiable's hull. The derelict turned out to be a scavenger clan ship which had gotten unlucky during a salvage run - trying to harpoon and drag out of the debris cloud useful wreckage that could be traded to the clanfleet enclaves further out of the storm - and drifted deep into the shoals after a kraken pack had disabled its plasma drive. The crew had fought off the kraken but the bulk of the crew had been killed in the process, and the survivors had hunkered down and fortified the wreck as best they could, hoping another scavenger clan vessel would come within vox range before their supplies ran out or they were overrun. Haarlock took the opportunity to draft the survivors on the spot to bulk out the Insatiable's crew - something they would probably have been happy to do out of gratitude for being rescued, even if he wasn't the Clanfleet's Navarch. Having drifted through the Shoals for nearly half a year, the surviving scavengers were also able to provide the Insatiable with their augury records - which, towards the exact centre of the debris field, showed a remarkably intact auspex contact which matched a Carrack-class transport with a signature too close to the records they had for the Righteous Wrath for it to be a coincidence. Reaching the resting place of the Wrath took another two weeks of travel - the equivalent of crossing a solar zone - before the Clanfleet flagship emerged from the debris field into the heart of the Shoals. Whatever the Chosen had been privately expecting, the result wasn't it. Righteous Wrath appeared completely intact, and powered. As they approached cautiously, someone on the ship hailed the Insatiable by Vox..... inviting them aboard.
  14. Magnus Grendel

    Flaw Disadvantage...

    The problem there is that she probably thinks she is loyal - she certainly sees herself as loyal to the Scorpion (after all, trying to ensure the Scorpion's primacy is what fixing the Emerald Championship was all about). Her loyalty to the Empire as a whole....is more a matter of perspective. I put it in another thread as a perception that "what's good for Bayushi Kachiko & the Scorpion Clan is good for the Empire." - how she'd react if put in a situation where the two were clearly and unambiguously opposed to one another will be a test of that particular tenet, and it's a situation she's yet to be placed in (in the new L5R, anyway). Watch this space around Shoju's regency. By comparison, messing around with Hotaru isn't technically violating loyalty. It's improper, it's scandalous, and lots of other things like that and a violation of a whole swathe of tenets (I'd say Rei, Meiyo and Gi?). But unless her duty is compromised (as in 'you complete all the tasks you are set by the clan and the empire without regard to the impact on your lover') it's not a violation of Chugi. Of course, some senior scorpion are starting to think her judgement and loyalty is compromised by the relationship.... and if that becomes a majority opinion, then yes, she's basically a dead woman.
  15. Magnus Grendel

    Flaw Disadvantage...

    This. Scorpion don't care about Honour. They do care about honour. That is....honour - as an overall score of how well you follow all the bushido tenets - is still important, because Duty (Chugi) is one of those, and Scorpions are expected to place Duty above everything else. By comparison Honour (Meiyo) the specific bushido tenet called Honour - the one about not touching dead flesh or not persuading someone else to act dishonourably, can get knotted. "Persuading someone to act in a dishonourable fashion to further your own goals" is pretty much "you did see the Bayushi heraldry on my Kimono, right?" That distinction between honour (bushido overall) and Honour (that one tenet of Bushido) is something people (including in-story Scorpions - Bayushi Aramoro and Bayushi Kachiko look to be prime examples) often lose sight of. Because of those double award/half penalty, it means the Scorpion can be honourable - but can do so by being "scorpion honourable" which doesn't look a lot like "crane honourable" or "dragon honourable" or whatever. Take a ninja assassin shinobi totally legitimate courtier with a climbing hobby with honour 20 or so, who's been ordered to frame a close friend by withholding the testimony they've promised to provide so they are disgraced rather than the person who's actually responsible: Refusing to commit an act of disloyalty to your lord despite your significant personal feelings for the people involved - Chugi +3 (+6 for this Scorpion) Abetting or covering for a comrade’s massive breach of honour - Gi -Honour Rank x 2 (-2 for this scorpion) Breaking your word to someone of equal or higher status - Makoto -Honour Rank (-2 for this scorpion) For a Scorpion, therefore, that act is a net +2 honour, where for other clans it would be the reverse - for a Dragon, for example who revere Sincerity over Duty, the same act in the same circumstances would be a -4 honour shift. That and your ability to influence people. Low honour means you pick up an appropriate number of flaw disadvantages - which, as noted, are (at the moment) all generally going to be Disdain For [tenet] flaws unless the GM chooses to create a custom disadvantage which they define as a flaw. Generally - aside from Warrior's and Courtier's Resolve (don't ignore the latter; being able to dump off a load of strife as a support action is a nice ability, especially in a water stance free action), it's more significant in intrigues and non-conflict scenes than skirmishes or duels. Essentially, it's a negative reinforcement loop for 'bad behaviour'. If - for example - your Scorpion keeps lying to and manipulating people and losing honour for violating Makoto (Sincerity), the GM is likely to stick you with the 'Disdain For Sincerity' flaw. Which means that after that point you start getting hit with negative rerolls on courtesy checks in court when trying to get people to believe you because you have a 'naturally untrustworthy air' and people start to assume you're lying until proven otherwise (and sometimes not even then). By comparison, a 'Paragon Of Sincerity' Dragon would get positive rerolls to the same check, because people are predisposed to believe they are telling the truth. They probably won't understand what the unnecessarily cryptic northerner means, but they're more likely to accept that it would be true, if they did.