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ShermanS

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  1. Ok, so I screwed up my first tournament. I created a Chainbound event, and then somehow started a casual event. Can we fix this or is that a done deal? This seems to be an issue for a few people here. Maybe a little more clarity on the event creation?
  2. Ok, so my players have requested that I run them through In the Palace of the Emerald Champion so they can get a better feel for the world before creating their own characters. I kind of hate this adventure, but I want to make the most of it. I ran through Act I: The Journey, tonight and it was fine. I despise random encounters as a general rule, and these are more random than most. Three encounters that have zero to do with any plot is just painful, but I did it, and it was nice for us to see more of the combat rules... Though I imagine there could have been plot + combat somehow. Anyway, I find the entire premise baffling. Why does Sumiko want another investigation into the Emerald Champion's death if the only explanation she's willing to accept is that it was natural causes? In fact, she's only willing to officially announce it was natural causes. They had an internal investigation, they found that he died of natural causes, but she wants a group of novices to the castle to "prove" it and put everyone's minds at rest on the matter? This is frustratingly obtuse. Is there a good way to make this at all plausible and still give a feel for the world? It would be way more intriguing if she did something about it at least... Or was hoping they'd find out what was going on since she didn't trust the initial investigation and thought it was an inside job. Maybe I'll do that. I'm not impressed by the official adventures... Even in the starter box, I'm still not sure how a Major Clan sent their top aspirant to complete their gempuku at the Jade Championship with an order to commit seppuku if they failed. I don't see how failure should even be an option for the top samurai in the clans... The Crab clan drunkard I explained away as an insult by the Crab who don't have time for games while they're stopping the destruction of the world. Jun was everyone's favorite in the party, but I couldn't see the Crab taking him seriously as a contender for that year's Jade Champion...
  3. Hah! I wasn't trying to be a killjoy, sorry. I was actually more advocating for open rules, not no rules. I hate the idea that players can just make up whatever they want so it applies to their best rings and best skills. That's unreasonable. I do like that I can combine things based on their description of what they're trying to do though. I think the challenge will be keeping the players invested in taking actions that make sense for the scene, not ones that make sense because that's where their characters are Rock Stars. I think the answer is to adjust the TN based on what the situation is. Moving someone shouldn't always be a TN 2 or whatever. Glaring a group of yari armed ashigaru out of the way shouldn't be a gimme for the Fiery Command guy. Make it a TN 5 if they have no reason to be intimidated and their commanding samurai is standing there telling them to hold their ground. If you're taking five minutes to decide on a roll, maybe you just make an agreement with your players that you're going to make some fast calls, but things might change next game after you've had some time to think about it. You can always discuss them after the game... This is certainly my intention. I have no desire to be looking at rules all game, most games that I run I won't even crack a book. This game has a higher learning curve than I was led to believe, but I'm enjoying figuring it out!
  4. I don't think you need to add anything here... There are three actions (Guard, Maneuver, and Unique Action) already in existence that probably cover your needs. If you're trying to protect someone, use Guard. That can simply be thought of as interposing yourself. It's abstract, but it works. If they overcome your addition to the TN to hit your ally, then obviously they got past you. If you're guarding someone and have an obvious advantage (like a bottle-neck), that could either be represented with bonus successes or with an GM decision that the attack cannot be made so long as you're holding that position. Maneuver sounds like it only is for physically going from point a to point b at first glance, but I think you could easily extrapolate. Getting past people sounds like a Fitness test. If you're trying to move someone else, I really don't think any one rule is going to cover that and the "Unique Action" is best here. Sometimes you'll be shoving them physically. Sometimes you'll be tricking them to move. Sometimes you'll be threatening with a weapon to force them to react. A case could be made for glaring at someone as you intimidate them into moving, certainly skilled samurai facing down a group of ashigaru have done this in movies... These could be Earth (unarmed), Air (Fitness), Fire or Air (Melee), Fire (Command), and so on. Combats are not static typically, and actually games like D&D frustrate me to a degree with attacks of opportunity. It's a simple rule to allow board control, but in reality, trying to pay attention to more than one fighter is a challenge all its own. The thought that one person "controls" a 15' swath of anything is hard to imagine. If you're engaged, you don't get to stop someone else from slipping by. Also, stepping away from a fight is the easiest thing in the world and making that challenging doesn't make sense either. Now, trying to get past one person who wants to stop you is actually not that easy, especially if they're armed. So there's a lot to take into account. Even though it's tempting to add more to this, I'd rather leave it alone and just talk through what players are doing. Getting all the tests right is pretty hard as is.
  5. I run games almost every week and still want advice on L5R. The world is nothing like anything I normally run, and I find myself overwhelmed trying to think about everything that's supposed to be going on at any given moment. The willingness of people to help on this stuff is fantastic. I do the same for stuff I'm comfortable with, and I think it's just a desire to see other people enjoy the hobby as much as I do. So don't feel bad!
  6. I was six when I played my first game of D&D and died in the first hour of play. Far from frustrating me, it made me feel like I had a lot to learn and want to come back and do better. I've always been of the opinion that a "Role-Playing Game" is both an opportunity to engage in some collaborative story-telling and play acting, and play a game. The game part has always meant that there are going to be challenges, and sometimes failure means death. I can't imagine running a combat and not having there be a chance of death. I ran a game for some folks the other day and had a kid run off to kill a goblin that was fleeing their party. The rest of the party sat there and waited for him to return. He never did and they went to find his body. First encounter of the game. I handed him a new character with a half-way decent reason for being there, then got to listen to his dad taunt him for the next three hours for being reckless. It was magical, and the kid never did anything else reckless for the rest of the game literally saying, "No, I learned..." In the space of a few minutes, I took a kid from being a crazed murder-hobo who thought he was invulnerable, to a thoughtful role-player who wanted to think through things and actually figure out what he was doing and what the repercussions might be before doing them. YMMV, but the vast majority of people really enjoy being challenged. I kill characters regularly, stories go in new directions, players get to come up with new ideas and learn to handle tough challenges, etc. Gary Gygax was really clear from the beginning that the story is developed by the DM, the players, and the dice.
  7. The former. There is a theory that some abilities might trigger off "kept dice" in the future so they didn't write it as "get a bonus opportunity" or something... Also, kill characters. Been running games for nearly 40 years and it's fun to keep them on their toes. Many players consider making characters to be the best part of a game, so, give them lots to opportunities to do so!
  8. Great examples! Blow by blow on the kidnapping is pretty fun. I particularly like the Fitness example, that's great. Blow by blow on my example scenes is super helpful too. I think I have a pretty solid idea of how I'll run things now, just recalling everything at once is going to be a challenge <Earth (L5R Rules) - TN 3> to get right in any given moment. I avoid rolls when I'm running a game as much as possible, but when I call for them I like them to matter and be appropriate. Definitely going to take practice. Thanks guys!
  9. I'm struggling to figure out the differences between a couple Rings when it comes to investigation, primarily Air (analyze) and Fire (theorize). By those words alone, one is figuring it out and the other is guessing, but the descriptions get a bit muddy and really what's the line between the two? How would you adjudicate these two "investigations"? Scene 1 - The party comes across a meditating samurai in their travels. The samurai is distant and contemplative, and asks them what they believe it means to live a good life. The samurai has been tasked by his lord to murder a bastard child whose mother has been overly gossipy on the matter. He currently weighs his duty vs. compassion. His line of questioning would allow the players to decode the reason for his contemplative state if they cared to ask. They may also recall some of these salacious rumors (Earth>Culture) regarding the Samurai's Daimyo. Is reading this guy and his figuring out what's going on with him Air or Fire + Sentiment? (No plot here, really I just want the players to get into character and start thinking about how they balance their bushido ideals). Scene 2 - The party find themselves attempting to requisition aid from an elderly magistrate who really should have retired at this point. He spends his days working on his garden and gaming with friends. It should be possible to decipher the nature of the fellow simply by observing the care and intensity of his garden. Is this Air>Aesthetics to simply look at the garden and put two and two together? Fire>Aesthetics to guess the magistrate's motivation? Water>Aesthetics to just look at the garden and realize this is someone who's spending all their time here? I love the Art of Investigation stuff on page 170 in theory. In reality, I really want that page to be much closer to the Rings descriptions where they talk about what investigation looks like, and the list of skills. Plus about another two dozen examples. Really if every skill had an example of Investigation, I don't think that would be overkill, and it still wouldn't address every possibility. It's a lot to take in compared to every other game that's "roll to notice".
  10. On your issues with composure being a major hit to Courtier builds, I have a thought. Instead of trying to rewrite everything, do something simple. Maybe just courtiers get to ignore the first strife on any social skill roll. That way they're still a bit wussy on the battlefield, but can hold their own at court.
  11. I keep seeing notes on rules being different between full rules and the starter set, but I haven't seen anyone mention that the starter set characters are not actually real "by the book" characters. Trying to compare the two doesn't seem super useful. One is intended to ease new players in, and the other is the full game. If you're not running starter scenarios with the starter game rules, I think you can pretty well ignore everything there. The Emerald Magistrate rules variation seem pretty innocuous compared to lack of lethality on weapons, characters that do not have advantages/disadvantages fleshed out, and no starting techniques. I would assume the faster rate of progression is to make up for the lack of some of this...
  12. Liking this. So, if the Mysterious Visitor did something horrible in the most recent fighting that initiated the hostage exchange, what would something like that be? I'm thinking the wintering ronin are part of his original retinue, all of whom were "pardoned" for their crimes, but also cast out from the clan. Taking the blame for something that was not entirely their fault, thus keeping the Daimyo's honor intact. Grumpy and disillusioned ex-Crane ronin sound fantastic. Would a threat of revealing the truth be a good reason to give up the town? Would the debt be enough? I'm not sure how to tie a Scorpion into this initial story, and maybe I don't. I'm not even looking at families or anything because I want to see what the players want to do. Once they start filling in details for me, I'll start filling out the rest. Thanks so much!
  13. So good! Exactly the kind of guidance I was hoping for, thank you. So a ghost from the Daimyo's past arrives, and after a private audience, the Daimyo seeks to surrender a small town surrounding a strategic bridge along the border, sending their hostage to deliver the news and dissolve the pact that sent them there to begin with. The clan members in attendance resolve not to let the matter become common knowledge until they can agree what is to be done, possibly locking up the Lion hostage in the interim. The Daimyo dies. The Daimyo's son commits seppeku, leaving their sibling that was traded to the Lion as the next in line. Before that day, the line was more obvious, but since the Daimyo is making an attempt to dissolve the pact that forced the heir into Lion hands, they may well have the rightful claim and everything is thrown into chaos as the next in line desires to keep the Lion and their town, while the Crane General threatens a coup to follow through with the Daimyo's last command. The PCs include the Lion and Crane minder, as well as those sympathetic to their cause or who have been commanded to be so. I still like the idea of the Scorpion, mainly to give the players another clan option, but also because everyone playing is brand new to the world so nothing is cliche to them and showing a classic Scorpion move seems appropriate. The Otomo is a great option to throw in though! I'll start seriously working on it once I have characters made and have a sense for what they want to see. I have a "starter" scenario to let them gel into their roles and give me time for a heavier intrigue game. My thought is that the Daimyo sends away the Lion and Minder to help an elderly magistrate in a remote area deal with a gang of ronin who've been wintering in a nearby village. Really she doesn't want the Lion around while members of the Imperial Family spend the winter at her court. Disreputable ronin who just want a place to spend the winter seem like a totally bizarre conflict though. I'm really not sure how it will play out. Hopefully with blood in the snow. But maybe they just huddle around the fire and glare at eachother for a couple months, I dunno!
  14. I've seen some terrific feedback on these forums and was hoping to get a little for the campaign idea I've been mulling over! The concept is simple, it centers around a Lion Clan hostage to the Crane Clan. They've been a hostage for years, as assurance against further transgression against the Crane in one particular part of their shared border. The Lion is a PC, and another PC is the Crane "minder" who has been assigned to this character to protect, guide, and educate the Lion in the ways of the Crane. The story I'm thinking of centers around these characters being called the Crane Daimyo's audience as she lies on her deathbed. Her final decree is that the Lion character should be returned to their family, and that a significant holding (Castle, City) be gifted to the Lion to end years of bad blood between the two. With that, the Crane Daimyo dies. The Daimyo's son, and next in line to take the title, chooses death before the dishonor of giving up a holding that so many Crane have fought to keep for generations, and commits seppeku. From there I'm invisioning chaos. Some members of the court wish to honor their dead Daimyo's final wish, others only desire to kill the Lion and silence rumors of that wish. Plus there is a power vacuum as the obvious heir is now also dead with the next in line being someone who was not prepared, desirous, or capable of being Daimyo. A third PC is likely a Scorpion agent who has been tasked with weakening the Crane where possible, and sees an obvious opportunity to cause a little havoc while assisting the Lion. Play-wise, I see lots of discussion with important Crane to gather their assistance/avoid murder, possible subfertuge to escape the Crane, a cross-country chase avoiding Crane assassins while possibly being guarded by Crane soldiers, and then I'm less sure what happens when they do reach Lion lands. Plus a mystery of why the Daimyo did what she did (realization of the value of life over land? senility? spiritual guidance? an old promise?) Maybe it's just four or five sessions, but I'd like to think I could make the Lion side of the border equally interesting and full of intrigue and danger. Any thoughts on this? Plausible campaign? Serious setting issues (I don't know Rokugan super well, though I'm not new to it)? Sweet details I could drop in here? Thanks!
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