cparadis10

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About cparadis10

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  • Birthday 07/29/1981

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  1. I’ve got one game going this Thursday that is full, but I am going to try to run one next Thursday 11/2 at 8 PM ET
  2. The notion that the players control their characters and the GM controls the world is a somewhat antiquated notion in some ways, and the truth of the matter, when a game is really clicking, is somewhere in between. However, I think it provides some insight to the issue of mono no aware, which really speaks to the state of the world, that it is ever changing. Mono no aware, the idea of impermanence and transience, is something the GM should try to infuse into the world. It is the image of the first cherry blossom falling to the ground, heralding the future of those left on the tree; or the last gasp of a samurai cut down by a katana; or the brief glance back at a samurai's family when going to join another clan in marriage. These are things a GM (or player) can add to the story that require no mechanical effect, but are important to make the narrative feel authentic to the genre. The players as primary arbiters of their characters should keep this theme in mind when playing and creating their characters. This is most explicitly done in question 20 of the game of questions - the very last thing a player decides according to the character generation rules. Question 20 asks how the player would like to see the character die. This should key into the player's mind that the character's death is a part of the narrative. Like everything else in the setting, the PCs are impermanent. In sum, mono no aware is important to the genre and should probably be a part of most L5R games. It should primarily be driven by the GM, with the players responsible for how their character's feel about the transience of things, including the character herself. However, these are narrative aspects of the game probably driven best by guide GM/Player guidance and setting material, not mechanics.
  3. @shosuko a lot of good points in there! A lot for me to keep thinking about when we play. I would say there is some overlap with ninjo/giri and strife since not following your ninjo or giri can cause strife (see Ninjo and Strife p. 22 and Giri and Strife p. 24), but maybe I'd like the system more if it didn't overlap so much. Again, you are give me a lot to think about. Thank you.
  4. If Strife and Outbursts are no big deal, not that detrimental, just sort of "meh" or can be ignored then that actually makes the system worse in my opinion for at least two reasons: 1) if it's no big deal, then why are there so many mechanics and rules that we have to keep track of? and 2) this devalues ninjo and giri. I want ninjo and giri to matter. I want going against them to be big story moments that have detrimental effects on the characters. I want a samurai's decision to leave the secluded mountaintop temple where she is seaking enlightenment after years of warfare to go back to war on the orders of her Lord to mean something. I want this to matter. To take an example from some other L5R material, I want a samurai's decision of whether to return the corpse of his best friend in a timely fashion or to continue on with his mission to be a heartbreaking decision. I want the table to stop and think, "wow, that's tough," not "ok I disclose my blind disadvantage, and I'll cut my Strife in half at the end of the scene." I think about Wong Kar-wai's movie In The Mood For Love. For me, that film is the epitome of a narrative driven by the conflict of duty and passion. (Shameless plug - everyone should watch it; it is great). That's what I want from a strife-like system and ninjo and giri mechanics, and that's not what I'm getting from them currently. I know these moments are possible because I've had them before in L5R games, and my fear is implementing this strife system will actively undermine that. For my next couple of games, I'll actively look at what happens with outbursts that have big effects and ones that have little effects and report back what I find out.
  5. Anyone want to play in an online game of A Ronin's Path? I'll probably run it over discord. Want to run this at least a few more times and need new players.
  6. A lot of this may be repetitive of what others have said, it is just hard to find sometimes. I also think it is important for as many people as possible to give feedback so FFG gets the best possible picture. We all want the new edition of L5R to be the best ever, so we all need to participate. I was VERY excited when I first read the Beta rules about Strife and Outburts. It seemed like a way to integrate the internal conflict drama into the mechanics of the system. The more I play with it though, the less enamored I am with it. While the system presents itself as a way to drive interesting narrative, much of the system is driven by dice rolls not the narrative. I have no real complaints about ninjo and giri so my feedback is directed more at the strife dice symbol. When it comes to generating strife from dice rolls, you are just as likely to generate strife from striking down your beloved spouse on the unjust orders of your lord as you are for climbing over a fence. So to me, it just totally fails as a mechanism for promoting narrative at that point. Instead of promoting interesting narrative, the dice mechanic merely creates a subsytem begging for gamification, with immense potential to ruin immersion or to take the players out of the story. The problem of dice generating strife then leads to the next issue, a need for a mechanism to shed strife regularly, otherwise, players will gain strife too quickly and too randomly. While a character's ninjo or giri may came into play once or twice a session, the player could roll dice many many times a session, and mere randomness of the dice could generate high levels of discordant strife, which then need to be removed or the weight and impact of the ninjo and giri decisions become meaningless in comparison to the randomness of the dice. Consider instead something like insanity from any Cthulhu-esque game (CoC, Trail of Cthulhu, etc.) or corruption from Warhammer games or other similar mechanics. These usually are the slow accumulation style, which are much harder to shed. So while the geisha discussion highlights narrative ways to relieve strife, the dice-based strife mechanics necessitate a mechanical relief (i.e. water stance) that once again does not support the narrative. I think back to my most recent L5R 4e campaign, which involved one of the most fantastic moments of samurai drama I've experienced at the table, and the dice mechanics around Strife would not have supported that moment at all. The ninjo and giri systems would have for sure, but not the dice symbols. Another issue with the dice mechanic, and I'm still trying to figure out if this might be a feature or a flaw, is that as characters gain experience and advance their rings and skills, the dice mechanics of strife matter less and less. Higher skills and rings allow the player to roll more dice, thus increasing the chances of rolling more successes without strife. On the one hand, this generates stories where begining characters are more likely to have outburts, which may or may not be in keeping with the genre and the goals of the design team, but on the other hand, but after awhile the chances of a roll adding strife to the character, who by the way also likely has higher composure now, are reduced. This combination creates a weird dynamic of characters growing, but facing less strife, which seems like a flaw. Proposed solutions: Make strife something that is not easily shed and not gained randomly. Increase the ways in which the narrative generates strife for characters. Provide good advice for GMs on how to generate internal and external drama (advice on PC-NPC-PC triangles - your sensei taught you to do X, but your gunso says Y). Provide advice for GMs on how to read character sheets with an eye toward fueling internal drama. Character sheets are the way players tell the PC what is important to them, by providing GMs advice on how to read these character sheets to find things that are important but opposed, will guide the player to identify internal drama herself. A character sheet for a Phoenix with high Martial Arts [Melee] skill or one with the Bitter Betrothal disadvantage and the Paragon of Chugi advantage. Provide good setting materials and prepublished adventures which emphasize this aspect of the genre.
  7. I've used Tavern Keeper before for PBP, and it has worked pretty well.
  8. Yeah, I'm hoping to keep integrating story content as they dole it out. Katrina just needs to keep feeding us story information.
  9. So, I don't know about everyone else, but the announcement has made me super hyped to get back to Rokugan. I figured a good way to celebrate would be a very short series of RPG sessions playing in this new sandbox. I'll be running a four-session mini campaign on Roll20/Google Hangouts. Why four? Because three is too short, and five is too long for an internet game. The sessions will be at 8 pm ET on Thursday evenings four consecutive weeks. I'll play with as few as three and as many as five. Link to the campaign guide here. Comment below or PM if you want to play. I hope everyone is getting as excited as I am!
  10. It has been like this for a very long time, and I believe has to do with Hasbro having the SW board game rights. Nothing sinister and no cause for concern. You just can't buy IA directly from FFG.
  11. Should be awesome, and I'm glad they are adding Akachi Onyele, my favorite of their characters in the Arkham Files line.
  12. 11 Akodo 1200 IC Week 1: The last governor of the Naishou Province died leaving no heir. Further complicating the matter, the ruling clan at the time had neglected the province to some degree, which opened a window for the other great clans to claim that the province was not being properly cared for. Several clans have laid a claim to the province, and two, the Crane and Scorpion, are prepared to wage war on one another for the right to protect this land in the name of the Empress Iweko I. The empress has dispatched one of her trusted advisors to oversee the province and to determine who shall be named stewards of Naishou. Governor Miya Ansho recently arrived in the Naishou Province, bringing with him his daughter Miya Iaimiko. After several weeks of settling into the governor’s palace, Ansho hosted a welcome reception. He invited all the samurai in the province and all those delegates dispatched on behalf of their clans to lobby for stewardship. Of note, the following samurai all appeared to present gifts to the governor. First up, Seppun Midori, a shugenja (priest) who recently completed her gempukku (coming of age ceremony in Rokugan, where a child becomes an adult, typically chooses a new name, and is recognized as a samurai in their own right having mastered their school’s first technique). Midori, is favored by the Fortune Benten (the spirit of romantic love - dangerous concept in a feudalistic society where one’s lord is responsible for choosing one’s spouse) - (this is also our first PC with the concept of love/marriage in their advantages/disadvantages, we will see more of this soon.) Upon being presented to the governor, Midori offers him the gift of a diary by Seppun Hanako on proper government. After the three ceremonial refusals of the gift, the governor happily accepts the book, and Midori moves out of the welcoming line to mingle with the other samurai in the palace. Next, a young samurai named Susumu Takashi presents himself before the governor. Takashi is a study in contrast. His family name, Susumu, marks him as one of the Spider clan, but his ascetic appearance and two-sword style suggest he studied niten with the Dragon clan. The simple man of two worlds offers the governor an amulet to the Fortune Jurojin (the spirit of longevity). The governor accepts the amulet saying, “I hope your time here affords you many opportunities for reflection and self improvement.” Takashi is left to wonder if this is a dig at his Spider roots? An acknowledgement of his Dragon training? Both in one statement? Takashi then sees his cousin Susumu Oiji talking to a Scorpion samurai in a small room and moves to introduce himself. Third, Hiruma Kenshin of the Crab clan presents himself to the governor. The Hiruma family have suffered much at the hands of the Shadowlands, from whence the Spider clan have arisen, and Kenshin is no different. He is: 1) the last of his immediate family, 2) commanded by his daimyo to marry and continue his family line, and 3) haunted by his grandmother to get married and have children. (Here again we have another PC with love/marriage in his background). Kenshin presents the governor with an exquisite jewelled fan. A wonderful gift that shows that not only are the Crab defenders of the Great Carpenter wall against the horrors of the shadowlands, but they are accomplished builders who can create magnificent things when given the opportunity - i.e. maybe the governor should let the Crab rule the Naishou Province. After presenting his gift and stepping aside, Kenshin is stopped by a servant of the governor who tells him, “It truly is wonderful to have such an esteemed member of the Crab clan here in the province with us. The Governor once enjoyed the pleasure of meeting Kuni Shiyoda (another Crab samurai) soon after arriving in the province. Sadly he has not had the opportunity to see her since then. I am sure she is doing well.” (This statement and the gift Kenshin presented the governor are meant to exemplify one of the most interesting things about society in L5R. Everything a samurai does sends a message and messages often have to be delivered obliquely. Most people can’t just walk up to the governor and demand their family be made stewards of the province at a formal welcome reception, and the governor can’t say that he is worried about Kuni Shiyoda without embarrassing her or the Crab. Instead, Kenshin gives a gift that shows the Crab would be great stewards, and the governor has a servant deliver a message that on its face conveys no worry or disparagement of Shiyoda, but clearly indicates to Kenshin that he should look into what is going on with her.) After that, Shiba Souma, a Phoenix samurai apparently trained by Kenku (magical bird creatures who are expert swordsmen and clever tricksters) presents the gift of a shogi set (a chess-like game) to the governor. The governor happily accepts the set and hints that he would greatly enjoy meeting Souma’s master some day. Souma is particularly interesting because he is the only character who grew up in Naishou Province. The rest are all transplants here to represent their clan’s interests. For Souma, this is not a coming out party as it is for the younger samurai seeking to make their mark, but more of a coming home party. It also means that he is more likely to run into someone from his past than the others, and that happens almost immediately. He hears a voice calling his name and turns to find a childhood acquaintance, Moshi Tsuko. (In L5R the standards expected of children and adults are similar, but different. By having two characters that knew each other as children, and then were separated by a period of time and now are getting to know each other again as adults, we can play with some of these things that would have been acceptable as kids, that they cannot do now as adults.) Meanwhile, Midori, our young shugenja, has wandered through the governor’s palace looking for someone interesting to talk to, or hoping someone interesting would talk to her. She wonders why her clan would send her to Naishou as she is a shugenja and not a courtier. (Her Touched by Benten and Voice advantages tell me why, so I try to play that up at any opportunity. She is a naturally gifted diplomat, though untrained in courtly ways. What do we do? Match her up against the most trained of courtiers). Kakita Seisho, a Crane clan courtier trained in the Doji school, approaches Midori while she admires a statut in the garden. Midori and Seisho do a little bit of verbal sparring feeling each other out, when he acknowledges her potential and, again obliquely, offers to help her saying, "You appear to me to be a woman of great potential. I once knew a young woman such as yourself, but she doubted herself too much. She was young and curious and lacked only a teacher to show her the world. Sometimes I think of her, and wonder where she would be if she had taken my advice ..." (ok, this isn’t really that oblique.) At that moment, Kasuga Hitsuko and her yojimbo (bodyguard) arrive on the scene. Hitsuko says, "If she had you for a teacher, I'm sure she would have attained the same level of notoriety as you have. I have heard it said that Kakita Seisho is known in every sake house in the province. I wonder if even our heavenly Empress is so well known." (Here we have the brash, somewhat offensive young courtier of a family associated with smuggling insulting in a backhanded way the polished courtier. This gives Midori a choice, who to side with?) Midori deftly defuses their conflict, but in doing so exposes herself as a player in the game and someone who could be a very useful ally or tool. (Seisho in particular has taken a keen interest in Midori and is already making plans to turn her to his cause.) Meanwhile, cousins Susumu Takashi and Susumu Oiji are in a deep discussion with a Scorpion Taisa (military leader of a legion) named Bayushi Itaru. (I notice that Takashi has taken the Contrary disadvantage which requires him to make a willpower roll to avoid butting into any conversation with the opinions he holds.) Itaru politely asks Takashi who should rule in the province. Takashi fails his roll and begins to wax on about why the Spider should be placed as rulers in Naishou. He does this all the while Hiruma Kenshin has snuck in to overhear their conversation. (Kenshin and virtually all Crab hate the Spider and don’t think they should be allowed to live much less be a clan and have holdings. We now have a very interesting PC-PC conflict brewing.) At that point, the PCs were summoned to dinner, and the first week of play by post ended.
  13. I decided to start my own play by post campaign for L5R to scratch the RPG itch in preparation for the LCG's release next year (and hopefully word of an RPG release at some point). I also saw a thread about what makes L5R cool. I thought I'd provide a campaign log of our game to: 1) show people what I think is cool in L5R and 2) to get any advice/feedback from other GMs/players about ways to keep the PC's lives interesting. This campaign is structured around the Naishou Province supplement released at GenCon 2013. I will try to not only include a summary of events, but also what I'm thinking as a GM to highlight how an L5R game may differ from a traditional fantasy game.
  14. For some reason, I keep thinking about what it would take to retheme the recently announced Runewars miniatures game to L5R. So maybe I paint my humans yellow, add some lion banners, maybe some weapon modifications, and the undead guys get the shadowlands treatment. Obviously, it would be great if they'd just release an L5R version of the game, but this will have to hold me over until that happens.
  15. Great to get some more L5R content! But man, to be honest, Onyx sounded kind of like a mess and had a really high potential of being bad story wise. Maybe they would have pulled it off, but I don't know.