Lynata

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  1. You kinda dodged my question there. Why would a minmaxer who wants to acquire stats and abilities that, by your own words, "give them the most impact in the game" bother with fluff skills in the first place? All they do is slow down progression in the areas that would allow them to "do more awesome things". When you talk about wishing to get something that has a big impact you are kind of dismantling your own argument. My position is that players who are on the fence and interested in well-rounded characters will feel incentivized to put XP into these "auxiliary advances" because it's cheaper than the alternative, thus preserving the feeling of progress as opposed to grudgingly holding out with all your XP just because one is saving for that one big rank-up. I agree that dedicated minmaxers who are focused on said big rank-up will still do the latter -- but as I said, this behavior is impossible to stop, so I don't think there is any way the rules can or even should bother to take this into account. There's nothing wrong with a group of minmaxers just wanting to have fun and kicking ***, but such a game should be prepared exclusively for them, in which case the issue with reservations about stalled progression is easy to resolve by simply handing out more XP. There is no reason to interfere with a more balance-focused progression that has things take longer the higher you go -- an aspect of progression that is both realistic as well as fairly standard for this type of game.
  2. To me, this seems like a self-defeating argument -- wouldn't players who assume they have to maximize specific stats to "make their core concept work" do so with static XP costs, too? Besides, a core concept is supposed to work right at the beginning of the game. If this isn't the case, either the rules did a bad job, or the player's expectations were too high. Rather, I actually see it from the other side: by making already-high stats more expensive to progress further, it becomes more attractive to raise fluff skills, previously neglected due to their comparatively trivial nature, simply because you get a lot more bang for your buck. If fluff skills cost the same as the stats you "need for your core concept" rather than being notably cheaper, what sort of minmaxer would ever buy them? It goes against the very definition of what minmaxing is about.
  3. It's not so much about a difference of a single ring, it's that this gap would keep growing if things don't get more expensive the higher you go. From how I understand the minmaxing philosophy, they aim to maximize the stats and abilities they consider crucial for a powerful portrayal of their character, made possible by minimizing anything that is considered redundant. Escalating costs thus serve as an artificial break on this process, slowing down ring or skill level-ups as other party members are free to invest XP into fluff skills. The smaller gap means it will be easier to catch up, or at the very least that the difference in capability should not be too big. And again, this would also not be intended to block minmaxing entirely, but rather to incentivize a more balanced dispersion of XP, particularly for narrative-minded players. When one can, say, raise one stat from great to perfect, or three others from normal to great, what would be the more likely choice? Point taken about the Void Ring cap, though! On this part I both agree and disagree, but this goes back to my earlier comment about groups ideally having no or all min-maxers, rather than a mix. Problems occur when you have one player constantly outshining others because of their mechanical advantage. Everyone has their own narrative, but if you have one character who prevents others from having their moment, other players are reduced to the role of extras. Over the years I've been in a few games like that, and it is not fun when you effectively get punished just for investing XP into representing your background. Some games are, of course, more susceptible to this than others. As for the narrative and personal success, I'd argue that 5th Edition L5R with its new die system is already geared towards achieving this better story, whilst at the same time cautioning that I'd deem it a mistake to expect your character to always perform as you want, as in this case we would not require a dice rolling mechanic in the first place and the entire game could be played as a collaborative storytelling experience (which I've also participated in some time ago, it can be quite fun with a good gamemaster). But this beta's mechanics, and I still have to study them more, do seem to take the sting out of failures by turning them into opportunities. The point of the game is not to have your character succeed at everything they try, it's about overcoming challenges you can actually lose (as otherwise they would not be a challenge), and dealing with the results of the things that inevitably do go wrong can turn into an important part of the story all by itself.
  4. I see what you mean, but if you do away with escalating costs, you're just incentivizing a minmaxer to divert their attention to a different area and use those XP to get a Ring to 4. Would the resulting 4/3/2/1/1 character truly make for a better table experience than a 3/3/2/2/2? In fact, using that suggested flat cost of 6 XP per ring level you might, after your hypothetical 12 XP adventure, end up with a 4/4/2/1/1 or even a 5/3/2/1/1. I'm not convinced this would go over well. You can't stop the minmaxing; the rules can only try to guide players who have not already been "corrupted" down a more balanced and narrative-focused path. The problem with the mentor choice is that you have to actively work it into your background, including a requirement to pick another Disadvantage. It's demanding a lot just to conform to the samurai stereotype all of us expect from the game, and it prevents the player from being able to use this step for something actually dramatic. The book also notes how Rank 0 at a skill represents a "lack of formal training" and "cursory understanding based on limited direct exposure". Only Rank 1 means you actually started to learn something about it, the "beginner or amateur level". Are we to believe a family would let one of their own go through gempuku without even basic calligraphy skills? Now, perhaps this is just a matter of wording and the book is biting itself in the foot here. As you say, it's not like in 40k, as whatever you do, you can still "craft" something even with Rank 0. I'm just miffed that there's little way to represent a character's background interest mechanically, and that as a result, this something is very likely going to turn out badly. I hadn't taken a look at the starter adventure yet, though, so I'm glad to see that it at least should not be an issue here. However, doesn't this seem kind of backwards? Is every single adventure supposed to start you off with a number of XP? Why not simply put this step into basic character generation?
  5. *nod* Well, I probably would not call it "bogging down" when it's pretty much a custom Skill that has zero relevance to anything or anyone save the player that picks it -- but I've just come from a rules-lite game (-> Dragon Age RPG) that explicitly allows and incentivizes you to make up Skills (or rather "Focuses", which is what passes as Skills in this system, adding a +2 to your attribute roll) on the fly, so I may be a bit jaded. But let's just proceed as-is, this isn't really all that important anyways. I just expected more general information from this Skill check, s'all.
  6. Whew. Matter of preferences, but personally I think clan and family, like school, are things that should somehow be represented by the character mechanically, as they are expected to have had an impact in their upbringing and training focus. That being said, I also think there is room for a compromise, and I like the idea of these packages allowing the player to pick from a selection of suitable stats/skills/abilities. The end result should be characters that can be more different from one another whilst still qualifying for what you'd expect from their upbringing. Yeah -- I actually like this step's concept, but it's a fairly important part of the character's life that has to be tied to and detailed in their background. With the bushi I made, I actually made use of this option, but ended up getting a +1 martial arts as the relationship was with another warrior as mentor that resulted in the Blackmail Disadvantage. Technically speaking, I suppose I could have also gained the calligraphy skill here, as I imagine the training to have involved more than just swordplay, but it would have felt odd to prioritize a fluff skill with the narrative I had in mind. In the end, I guess it'd be a viable workaround, but it would be so much nicer if you could just pick something for free with no strings attached. Like how Shadowrun's chargen allows you to pick a bunch of free "hobby" skills with limited use but a degree of importance for making the characters feel more unique. And in Rokugan in particular, the arts are one of the few ways samurai are permitted and even expected to express individuality, when elsewhere they all have to strive for some uniform, clan-dependent ideal. I still don't see what a lack of escalating costs should achieve in terms of balancing the playing field. Yes, lower cost would allow the other characters to more easily invest XP into an attempt at catching up to the minmaxer, but ... aren't we forgetting that the minmaxer themselves will also have it easier to buy advancements and maintain or even increase the gap? With escalating costs, the gap at least gets smaller, because it'll always be cheaper for the lower-ranked characters to catch up, than for one at the top to level up even more -- because for the latter, advancement will be more expensive than for the former.
  7. Ah, I guess it's interpretation; to me this would read what the most important worlds are, more than their specific details. It'd seem to be too much to remember otherwise? But this also comes down to just how important Desoleum is for the Imperium as a whole, and how famous this holy site is. There are some places I would most certainly consider known throughout the Emperor's realm, after all, like Ophelia VII or Gathalamor. It may be I'm mis-remembering from other games like Shadowrun, but I thought that at least DH1 had something (might've been in the Inquisitor's Handbook) where you could make up your own locally limited Lores to represent deeper knowledge of a specific area. My memory is a little hazy on this, though, so don't quote me on that. DH1 in particular was rather "rigid" and did not allow for much customization, after all. Ah shoot, I wouldn't want to copy something too much. Well, not like there aren't so many other things I could put XP in, especially as I wanted to balance combat capability with religious skills!
  8. Minor criticism: I'm not sure the novices would have actually had a chance learning about this specific place of worship, considering they're not even from the same sector -- and would this kind of knowledge check not be more location-focused rather than the more general Imperial Lore? I was just hoping for Ariel to recall that there may be things like tourist maps. Not a big deal, of course, it just felt a little odd. The 03 was quite a surprising result! Makes me think that perhaps I should push Ariel a little more towards being a walking memory bank, especially after Estelia's comment earlier. There is no Talent for an unusually good memory in DH2, is there? I seem to recall DH1 had something like it ...
  9. Well, I already hypothesized earlier that minmaxing will still occur; I firmly believe that this is not something you can just "get rid off". As long as players can affect anything, you always have potential for abuse. Plenty of evidence for that in videogames. It probably has something to do with humans' competitive nature, which for many people shines through even in a cooperative environment like P&P RPGs. This is why I said that this mechanic is there to discourage normal players from becoming minmaxers. Yes, this guideline does not exist during character generation, which may lead to the situation that you mentioned, but I would hope that - assuming the aforementioned group of likeminded, non-minmaxing players - everyone would be focused more on building an interesting character personality than building an efficient character sheet. In Rokugan, where you're pretty much regarded as a backwater barbarian if you don't know how to properly write a haiku or the lords snicker with derision when they read your crappy calligraphy? L5R is probably the most prominent setting where even combat characters are expected to know some artistry. Well, unless you're playing a ronin, I suppose. I've just created a bushi and was quite annoyed that I had no options for simply buying an artistic skill, when it is not offered as part of one of the packages. It's why I would like to see a hybrid model for character generation where you pick clan, family and school, but also have a few XP to buy whatever skills you deem appropriate before beginning play. This is one of the instances where I liked the 4th edition of L5R more. You could create an elaborate character and work with the system to represent everything you came up with. In the 5E beta, on the other hand, the "classes" are way more shoehorned into their respective roles, missing the overlap that you'd expect from this society.
  10. Placing both hands on the table to support her forward-leaning posture, one leg angled so the foot is resting below the table, the dusk-skinned novice ponders their options, recalling a holy site from their lectures in the convent. "What about the Grand Shrine of Oath? It is, I believe, located in the Upper Hive, and given our appearances it would seem natural that we visit it." She pauses, then adds, pointing at the map: "I'm not exactly sure about the distance to the safe house, but it is certainly closer than our current whereabouts."
  11. Ah! My apologies. As to the "why", I believe that you cannot write a game for every type of player and please everyone; there will always be a focus on a certain playstyle -- and with L5R, due to the setting's emphasis on story and samurai drama, I firmly believe this focus to lie with well-rounded characters, where things like Disadvantages are not worked around as a nuisance, but rather form an integral part of the dramatis personae, driving the game not only mechanically but also narratively. Why don't you think escalating costs hit the right people? Are there even "right people"? I think they make sense to have for everyone, as a guideline of sorts softly pushing the players onto a more balanced, realistic path, and steering them away from the pitfalls of alluring minmaxing. And for those that still want to minmax, at least they won't be able to do it quite as excessively. Perhaps our experiences differ, but whenever I had players focus on the mechanical side of the game, it always came at a cost, such as not taking skills that would otherwise be expected of their character -- not to mention that their mechanical advantage allows them to outshine other players who opted for a more representative build, thus indirectly punishing them for building balanced characters. I think this has a negative effect on enjoyment of the game. Ideally, groups should not mix -- either everyone min-maxes, or no-one does. And if everyone wants to compete for the most efficient build, you can just work around escalating costs by awarding more XP.
  12. That's the thing -- I believe that if you have this sort of player in the group, it doesn't actually matter whether the game "officially" makes them the leader, or if they continuously attempt to assert the authority they crave. This reminds me a little of the "Commissar Conundrum" in Only War, where you hear horror stories from some groups where some people keep killing other player characters for fun. But it's not the role that is the mistake here, it's that they let this sort of player remain at the table.
  13. Well, open "pointbuy" systems, especially those that do not have an escalating cost, are arguably even more susceptible to minmaxing, as they (a) do not require the player to work around existing limitations and (b) do not punish them by requiring a higher cost for pouring all their resources into a single stat. Minmaxing is something you cannot prevent if a player is truly committed to it. You can only disincentivize it (as the current rule does), but in the end it is up to the players to agree on what sort of game they want to have.
  14. I kind of like the skill/ring increases as they make sense as a framework for things a character from these institutions ought to know -- but I also think it should not result in "clones". I think I'd like a hybrid system where you have clans/families/schools start you off with a set of things you may expect from characters with the respective origin, but also give you a couple XP to represent individual interests. Like, it's a bit weird how everyone can take Advantages to represent an interest in a certain hobby, but you have no way to actually take the accompanying Skill unless you learned it as part of your dojo pack, which in the beta isn't even an option for some clans. Considering Rokugan is a world where every samurai, even warriors, are expected to show appreciation of at least one or two arts, it ends up undermining the setting a little.
  15. This may be a matter of background exposition. Inquisitors have ultimate authority ... on paper. In practice, the Inquisition has no established chain of access to Imperial authorities and the war machinery, so if they need something, individual Inquisitors have to go somewhere and requisition it. Since resources are finite and Inquisitors all have their own ideas on which priorities to pursue or how to tackle a given problem, not to mention secret agendas, this creates significant potential for internal strife. You end up with Inquisitors blocking or even arresting/killing other Inquisitors, which ends up serving as a sort of "soft" barrier to abuse of power. The more outrageous a demand an Inquisitor makes, the more likely it is they will attract the attention of rival (or simply overzealous) Inquisitors who have it out for them or their allies. Blow up a planet? Better make sure to have a good reason, otherwise you may be indicted for high treason. Requisitioned a Titan Legion and a naval battlegroup? Better make sure to have a good reason, again, otherwise you may get called out as a saboteur as those military resources are needed elsewhere, too. Trying to requisition a bunch of Space Marines or Battle Sisters? Well, turns out the Marines/Sisters are already honor-bound to or friendly with another Inquisitor, who's not too happy about someone else interfering with their resources or allies' activities. It's a great, secret game of internal politics and rivalry, overlapping jurisdictions and even extrajudicial assassinations. Ever had a Dark Heresy game where it turned out that two parties of acolytes were operating against one another, firmly believing the others to be heretics to be killed, only because their respective Inquisitors had a disagreement? Well, they are similar in that they are a person of authority around whom the party can gather. I have had some experience with "leaderless" games where the characters decide democratically on how to proceed, but in my experience this always comes with a big risk to result in a significant waste of time debating pros and cons, or nobody being willing to make a call when the group is stuck between two options out of (understandable) fear they'd piss someone off. The best games are those where you have one character be the accepted and, for narrative/story purposes permanent, leader, but who is still willing to listen to suggestions and have an ear for the other characters' input and concerns. The Motoko Kusanagi of RPGs, if you will. And in terms of background, to me it would simply fulfill a certain expectation that a game about the Inquisition has an Inquisitor, or a game about the Imperial Guard or the Space Marines has a Sergeant, Captain, or whatever higher rank puts them in command.