Donovan Morningfire

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  1. So what about having Ninja Courtiers? Had an actual play session yesterday (that could have gone a lot better), and the Shosuro Infiltrator (cover was that she was a traveling performer) was very much on track to being a capable social character (all she really needed was a rank in Sentiment and she'd have been as capable in social scenes as my Kakita Duelist was)
  2. Maybe it's just me, but it kind of sounds like Max and Katrina were trying to capture a bit of how 7th Sea 2nd edition handles a PC's main attributes and how they relate to skills. in 7thSea2e, a PC has 5 main Traits (Brawn, Finesse, Resolve, Wits, Panache) which largely do what they sound like they do. However, none of the skills are linked to a specific Trait, so one PC could use Finesse+Weaponry to make fast and precise cuts to their foes while another PC uses Resolve+Weaponry to simply wear down their opponents and a third uses Panache+Weaponry to go all Errol Flynn on the bad guys. The player can suggest Trait and Skill combinations, and the rules say that as long as they can provide a good justification for it, allow them to use that combo; Resolve+Scholarship is such a case of an oddity, but the PC is staying up into the wee hours and ignoring food and sleep as they try to find the legal records that will incriminate the Villain and thwart their scheme. It'd take a serious overhaul of the mechanics (which FFG may well not want to do), but they probably could streamline the whole "Rings as Approach" and just say that each of the Rings adds a specific slant to using a Skill, namely in the way that Opportunties are spent. So for instance, a Doji Courtier wants to spend their time at court schmoozing and making connections. Under the proposed revision, they could roll Air if they wanted instead of being forced to roll Water as their Ring, but if they wanted to post an interesting physical detail in the scene, they'd have to pay extra Opportunity to use choices from Water or Fire for that roll.
  3. SavageBob might have been exaggerating things a bit, but he does have a point. It may not look like it on paper, but Force Rating 2 makes a PC far more capable at doing Force things without being nearly as reliant upon using dark side pips to generate Force points, and they'll have the potential for much greater effects than PCs with only Force Rating 1. For instance, the Move power is one that with just Force Rating 1 is only moderately useful, as you need at least two Force points to get any noticeable effects by way of activating upgrades (Strength to move bigger things, Range to affect things further away, Magnitude to affect multiple things), to a point where it's been often recommended that a PC not invest a lot of XP into the power until they reach FR2. But, once a PC has FR2, they can now more reliably activate the base power and an upgrade, and have a decent chance of being able to either activate multiple upgrades or a single upgrade multiple times, with Strength being a favorite if the PC has the hurl objects Control Upgrade as they can dish out more damage. All they need is a single success on a Discipline check that's not going to be that difficult if they've got Willpower 3 and at a least a single rank in Discipline. Another element is that Force Rating 2 opens up access to additional powers, such as Bind which can be pretty amazing field control as you restrict enemies from moving, and with a single Control Upgrade can force them to suffer strain damage if they take their action. If you are dead set on giving this one PC the special snowflake treatment, then I strongly suggest the other PCs in the group get some kind of boost as well; at minimum it should be an extra 25XP that counts as character creation XP (as in it can be spent to increase characteristics) or equipment that they normally wouldn't be able to begin play with due to said equipment being far too expensive to purchase with a starting character's XP funds (I wouldn't include kyber crystals in that list, as those are something the PCs really should earn). From my own experience, I got more than a little stink-eye from a couple of the layers when my Shien Expert got his boost to Force Rating, even though it came with the drawback of being unable to hide his Force presence (same mechanics as sensing a mephite crystal through the Force; if within range detection is automatic), though said drawback really only came into play a few times while that Force Rating boost was constantly helpful.
  4. I think with the XP costs, given that in order to advance in one's school you need to spend XP in specific ways (such as a Kakita Duelist needing to buy ranks in Martial Skills as well as Striking as Air kata and a number of non-combat skills in order to reach Rank 2), I think they could probably do away with the escalating costs for Rings and Skills, or at least cut back on the escalating cost. I do still think there should be an escalating cost, but maybe drop the current values by 1 rather than waiving them altogether? Ring dice aren't nearly as helpful to a PC's chances of success as Skill dice, and while Ring dice are an easy 'wild card' to allow a PC to advance in their school, too much focus there means the PC will wind up becoming more of a generalist who can likely accomplish most TN3 or lower tasks no matter what Ring they use, as opposed to being a specialist that a PC who invested their XP into skills and techniques would be, who can probably do more with their dice results (especially Opportunities) as well as being able to succeed on higher TN tasks.
  5. So regarding Honor, I wonder if a way to make Honor more useful to a PC is to take a note from the prior L5R games, where Honor could be used to avoid being made to do dishonorable things, such as resisting seduction attempts or standing your ground rather than running in fear. One possible method would be to allow a PC to add their Honor Rank to their Composure, as an honorable samurai would be better able to maintain their "face" during stressful situations. Granted, as things stand that's about a +5 to Composure (most PCs that I've seen tend to hover around the 50's for starting Honor). Naturally, this would entail removing the additional Advantages/Disadvantages that the system currently offers for high/low Honor scores, making the character less mechanically complicated while still providing a tangible benefit for having a high Honor, and a drawback that's semi-difficult to completely metagame away if a PC has low Honor. Glory was kind of an odd duck in the L5R games I played, and generally wasn't used for much of anything, so I wouldn't be upset to see it go. Or, instead of the free advantage/disadvantage for high or low ranks, have a PC's Glory score instead provide the player a once per scene reroll of a single die (high Glory) or the GM can force a re-roll of a success/explosion die (low glory) to social-based rolls where the character's reputation is a factor, and that as they go higher or lower on the scale, the more dice can be rerolled (max of 3 dice in any one given roll).
  6. The most recent episode of the Order 66 podcast discusses just this notion, listing resources you can pull from as well as suggestions on how campaigns might shake out in this era and how to make use of Obligation and Duty. It's certainly worth a listen.
  7. Just speculating here, but I wonder if part of the design theory for the writers was to have Samurai PCs be inherently flawed individuals that you see more often in Eastern-themed stories as opposed to more-emotionally stable Western-themed hero. A part of the Eastern-themed hero's journey is overcoming their personal, internal flaws (especially the psychological ones) as well as external challenges; it's not unlike the contrast between Luke Skywalker who started as a nobody and grew to become a famous hero and Han Solo who started out pretty awesome and was largely static within the context of the original trilogy. I do agree that I think they overdid it, especially with the Anxieties. Though I do think that PCs should have at least some form of Disadvantage to account that the leads in Samurai stories tend to have some manner of flaw in their character.
  8. By RAW, the only method is to purchase the Force Rating talent, as the game is designed to more closely replicate Luke's slow rise in Force ability rather than have characters like Anakin and Kylo Run strutting around. That being said, if the GM is fully on board with it and prepared for the consequences, there's nothing stopping the GM from just simply handing out a +1 bump to Force Rating to said PC. I was in a recently-concluded campaign where the PCs were caught in the center of a destructing Force vergence (moral of the story, don't let the PC with the huge rifle take potshots at the ancient sarcophagus that's binding an equally ancient Force spirit), with two of the PCs being forcibly awakened to the Force (one of which wind up going slightly mad and falling to the dark side) while my PC (Sentinel/Shien Expert) got his Force Rating bumped from 1 to 2. And to be honest, that simple increase made my character a far more effective Force user, as I could have a die committed to Sense and still have a Force die free for Move. But, depending on what spec your PC has, it can cause a bit of unbalance to the game, as part of the balance of five of the Lightsaber Form specs is that while they provide a bevy of lightsaber talents (including the very useful Improved Parry and Improved Reflect), the PC doesn't get to increase their Force Rating any, and has to get a second spec in order to grow beyond Force Rating 1. Simply handing off a boost to Force Rating (or even using the method that Absol used for an NPC) gives the PC a substantial leg up compared to any other Force user PCs in the party, especially since they didn't have to spend any XP on additional specs or talents leading up to a Force Rating talent.
  9. It sounds like, at least for the beta, that Iaijutsu duels are no longer the cultural "default" for duels of honor, and that duels in this version are more aligned with the notion of western duels (back and forth until your foe is defeated) rather than the single-round competition that they generally were in prior editions. I don't recall who it was, but in another thread someone posted what I think would be a good correction to bring iaijutsu duels more in line with what they generally should be (a single stroke contest vs. whaling away at one another) Duel to First Strike - first participant to make a successful combat check to strike the target is the victor. Duel to First Blood - first participant to inflict wounds or a critical strike to the target is the victor, though critical strike is still going to hamper the target if it comes from a finishing blow. Duel to the Death - probably good as is, since a finishing blow and opportunities for critical strikes can result in death, and most of those tend to go into a skirmish after the initial exchange of blows. And with the Kakita Duelist technique (at least if I'm reading it right), a finishing blow can be pushed up from Maiming Blow to an Agonizing Death, so the single-stroke kill battle can still be accomplished in the rules as they exist. The Iaijutsu kata is pretty lacking in terms of dueling, since in its current state it only provides a +1 bonus to damage if using the traditional katana, but at least the devs are aware that it needs work.
  10. Well, the last answer was that defense was "under review," probably as they were doing testing for what would become Genesys and testing out different means and methods to address the issue. Now that Genesys is pretty much done and finalized, hopefully we'll see an updated FAQ for Star Wars that uses the Genesys guideline of capping defense at 4.
  11. Not really, or at least it's no worse than starting with one of the combat-heavy specs from EotE or AoR. Shii-Cho Knight and Soresu Defender are really the only ones that don't offer much outside of combat, but that's due in no small part to them being attached to Careers (Warrior and Guardian respectively) that are already focused on combat. It's not different than a PC starting as a Bounty Hunter/Assassin, a Hired Gun/Marauder, a Soldier/Commando, or Soldier/Sharpshooter. I've played a couple of Sentinel/Shien Experts that had plenty to do outside of combat, thanks to having ranks in skills such as Computers, Deception, Skulduggery, and Stealth, with one of them not even drawing his lightsaber until several sessions into the campaign. A Consular/Niman Disciple has plenty to do outside of combat due to the Consular's career skills, and are probably closest to being the archetypal Jedi in terms of their skill set.
  12. The talent makes no distinction about the targets beyond "minion group," so I'd say that yes, it can affect droids even though it's a Force talent. Most Force talents that are restricted in who they effect (namely, excluding targets that are immune to the Force) or that the target needs to meet certain criteria, such as being 'living sentient beings.' As Fear the Shadows has none of that, then I'd say droids are fair game, as a non-sentient beasts.
  13. Well, I think what might be deemed an issue with bonus XP in this system is that a player could use that XP to buy things that allow them to fill out their School Rank 1 requirements and so put them that much closer to being Rank 2, depending on how much bonus XP is provided. For instance, the "add 24XP" for the sample adventure pretty much suggests the PCs should be Rank 2 in their schools with a little left over for other things that might strike the player's fancy.
  14. Maybe that's intentional with the First Order to reflect the group's mindset? After all, they're really just a scaled down version of the Galactic Empire, lacking the vast resources that Palpatine had his disposal. So in turn, the First Order winds up overcompensating for their smaller size by using bigger and ostensibly "better" versions of what the Empire had. Starkiller Base being a prime example of this, as well as the new walker designs and their new Star Destroyers. We don't really know the story behind Starkiler Base, namely how long it took to construct; for all we know it took most of that 30 years between RotJ and ANH to get it operational. Of course, prior to the EU becoming a thing nobody really knew the full story of what it took the construct the Death Star, which in and of itself is just as much a gimmicky plot device as Starkiller Base, with fan-wankery concocted to explain why the DS1 had to orbit around Yavin Prime in order to have a clear shot at Yavin IV, instead of just blasting the first planet to rubble and then blasting the second soon after.
  15. Honestly I think the entire dueling system as written needs to just be completely scrapped and they need to start over. What's currently written feels like a badly designed method to replicate western-styled fencing duels as opposed to the "one strike" duels of classic samurai lore, upon which L5R was based. Instead, handle it a bit more like how 4e L5R did, in that you've got one set of fairly streamlined rules for iaijutsu dueling (which is the standard for such matters), a set of similarly streamlined rules for shugenja dueling, and then treat non-conventional duels as opposed skill checks, and that whichever PC scores the most successes wins the "duel" Since most duels are only going to involve one PC at a given time, there's no need for an overly complicated system that leaves the rest of the group sitting around twiddling their thumbs while the PC that's involved in the duel goes back and forth in resolving the duel.