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The Grand Falloon

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  1. This. "Incapacitated" and "Unconscious" are bad names for the conditions. I would have named them something more like "Shaken" and "Incapacitated" (to steal from Savage Worlds). "Incapacitated" implies that you're done. You're defeated. You can't do jack squat without a sudden heroic surge of energy. According to RAW, that's not the case at all. You're still in the fight, you're just in a very bad position. However, if you can manage a few seconds to take a breather, you're right back in there, no problem. So, shaken. Now, when you take that next hit while Shaken, now you're in trouble. Sure, Unconscious works, I guess, but it's so... undramatic. Besides, you can spend a Void point to throw off the condition. Kinda silly to be knocked out, then suddenly wake up and fight. To me, this works better as Incapacitated. You fought to exhaustion, and then took a nasty slice across the midsection. You're alive, but collapse to your knees. Now you're probably screwed, though if you're just barely over your Endurance, and have a Void Point, you might be able to lure in an overconfident enemy (good luck with that). Even if you're definitely out of the fight, you get to go out like a badass. Deliver your death poem, make a threat, or compliment your enemy before he takes your head. These are all much cooler than being run through while you lie "Unconscious."
  2. Warning: this is largely just some rambling thoughts about a very minor character. It doesn't really have much of a point. When we played the Beginner Game, our group took a liking to the NPC, Kitsu Tsubasa. Partly because one of the players was playing the Lion PC, so naturally wanted to help out his Clanmate. Unfortunately, things got a little out of hand during a duel, and our Phoenix Shugenja ended up blasting Tsubasa with a bit more fire than she intended. We had a bit of confusion about the exact results of that critical strike, as the Core Book hadn't released yet, the Beginner Box had very mild Crit results, and the Beta rules changed a few times. We eventually decided he basically got the Prince Zuko treatment, and now has a badly burned face. Well, this guy is now suddenly more interesting. Our Phoenix now has a nemesis who is mostly a decent fellow, so I need to flesh him out a bit. And every bit of thought I put into him makes his story seem more and more strange. First things first: it's stated that Tsubasa has failed his gempukku several times, and if he fails again, he'll have to commit seppuku. What what WHAT? I know the Lion are harsh, but the more I think about it, the more it blows my mind. If he hasn't passed his gempukku, Tsubasa is technically a child, right? He's not even allowed to wear the Daishō, so he sure as heck can't be ordered to kill himself with it. Second, if he were a Bushi, I could understand a little better. But no, he's a Kitsu Medium, the rarest form of Shugenja in the Empire. Even if he's a bit of a screw-up, you don't waste these guys. Third, how the heck did he get sent to the Topaz Championship if he's failed multiple times already? The way I figure, someone has it in for this poor kid, but I don't know who or why. Maybe his father believes his wife had an affair, and that Tsubasa is an illegitimate child? We're getting into PC levels of backstory now, and I almost want to play him as one (not that I ever get to be a player). So we have a black sheep Lion who's been kicked around his whole life, who can speak to ancestors, and has a messed up face. You know who would love to take this guy in? The Yogo. He would hate the idea at first (what Lion wouldn't?), but marrying this guy into the Yogo would be a sweet deal for both parties. As soon as he puts on the mask, people stop looking at his face. As a Kitsu, he has unique insight into ancestral magic, so he would be put to work straightaway researching ways to mitigate the Yogo curse. He'll likely get much more respect as a Scorpion than he ever did as a Lion. And let's face it, this is not the guy that you're going to use when you need some Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.
  3. This is why I'm making cards. Otherwise we'll have 6 people at a table fighting over the Core Book every round of combat.
  4. This is excellent! I will be directing my players to your articles. Also, what's the current status of the Hiruma School? I got the Core Book on release day, and I hadn't heard about this errata. Anyone wanna break it down for me?
  5. These are fantastic! I'm working on some of my own and I know how hard it is to make these things both legible and pleasing to the eye. Mine are much larger, with some basic stance and opportunity information, and not very artistic. I've tried to make them LCG-sized, and they just become too cramped. I will be including cards for any Techniques my players take, because they're gonna need them for reference. I'll try to remember to post up my finished results (and folks are welcome to the files themselves). I have to ask, what programs are you using to put these together? At what resolution are you working? And is there any chance you'd be willing to share the files for others to print up? Edit: Also, how are you printing to plastic? Is it a print-on-demand service, or do you just have sweet printers at your disposal?
  6. I like this! I don't have any real comments on the school adjustments, but they seem well-considered. Regarding dueling: I like what you've done with Predict, probably because it's almost the exact same thing I've done. My only sticking point is the TN and opportunity cost. If you're facing an opponent of Vigilance 3, what was originally a free, automatic action suddenly becomes pretty difficult. If you're only keeping three dice, locking him out of a second ring becomes almost impossible. I think the basic effect should be pretty easy to achieve (mine is TN 1), and the second ring should be fairly difficult, but not impossible. Perhaps use Vigilance for the number of Opportunity to lock the second ring, as you have written, but keep the action at TN 1 or 2, so that Vigilance isn't doubly strong. Center is very interesting. I really want to get my nerds together and play test this. Prepare... Honestly, I don't like it. Characters without an Iaijutsu technique were already at a disadvantage, having to rely on Water to draw and strike in a single turn, and now they might get slammed with extra strife just for drawing? Ouch! The way I look at it, every samurai practices Iaijutsu, most of them just haven't mastered it. A character with a lousy Water ring is just plain bad at it (he can draw and Strike, but he ain't hitting jack squat). A character with a decent one is competent, but predictable (he can hit things). A character with an Iaijutsu technique understands it completely and can draw from any stance with no thought. Overall, this is excellent stuff!
  7. Actually, it might! Duels don't happen in a vaccuum, so it's very possible that one duelist starts with a fair bit of strife. If you Predict in Fire stance and roll enough Opportunity, you can hit him with 2 Strife, and have a decent chance of inflicting 4 more. If he bid on initiative at all, he's in trouble... Okay, clarifications and tweaks to my initial post. the Focus "Round" is basically there to introduce Predict and Center actions to my players, but I think I like having it there anyway. It doesn't actually count as a round, so you don't bid for initiative, and any Predict actions only count for the next round. In an Iaijutsu duel only, any attacks made in round 1 can't be defended. So duels to First Blood are probably solved right here. All other rules are essentially the same as in a standard duel, with the addition of Predict being a rolled action. I think the TN should be 1, otherwise it becomes too hard to hit and becomes even worse than the RAW. It's late and I've had some brandy, so I have no idea if this is good.
  8. The way it played out, that's what it was, and that's why it was such a drag. These were two samurai on patrol, so they were wearing armor, which meant that trying to win through fatigue was a slog. The only thing that saved it was the Lion hitting his composure, getting some broken ribs, and grudgingly admitting defeat. It was repetitive and boring. The thing is, I really like what they tried to do with Predict. A four-Strife hit is nasty in a duel, but it is much too easy to avoid. As you've pointed out, a duelist in Fire stance can swing wildly, not even bothering to keep successes (unless, of course, you make a really good roll), and just use Opportunity to inflict a much more reliable 2 Strife per round. You say the solution is not to use Predict, I say the solution is to tweak it, because I want it to be a valid strategy. Some folks seem to think that an Iaijutsu duel should always be "sudden draw and someone is dead." I don't quite agree, but I do think it should be a valid strategy, and that's pretty clearly what Predict and Center were intended to simulate. Basically, I'm tackling two separate but related problems here. I really think making Predict a rolled action might fix it completely, because there's so much you can do with Opportunity. That's my blanket "Fix RAW dueling." Of course, it doesn't fix the trouble at my table. I can't say they're not "gamers," because they enjoy games as much as anyone, but most of them don't enjoy poring over the rules, finding the tricks and the cracks in the system. Heck, out of my five players, maybe two have read most of the rulebook (and they're both playing shugenja instead of bushi, go figure). Honestly, the reason I disappeared from my own thread here is because I was seriously considering just digging up my old Savage Worlds conversion of L5R, because I don't know if they're gonna grok all the weird little nuances of the elemental stances, opportunities, and why they might willingly fail a check. Sooner or later, someone is going to get into a duel and die, and they player won't even understand what they did wrong. Even a duel to First Blood turns deadly really fast if nobody has managed a lucky roll by turn 4. So, I think my original post might work okay for a duel to First Blood. Needs some tweaks, obviously, but at the end of three rounds, someone is probably taking a less-than-lethal strike. But then, of course, with only one round of preparation, Predict is not going to Strife them out anyway, so what's the point? Arggh... my head hurts.
  9. Before diving in, I think the RAW Dueling rules are pretty good. I wouldn't tweak much about them myself. However, my group is never going to understand them. It's just not gonna happen. Out of 5 players, we have one, maybe two players with a sharp enough understanding of game mechanics to understand why a katana is much better than a tetsubo for a Finishing Blow. When our Hida Defender threw down with the leader of a Lion patrol, he was lucky, and I was generous. Despite some broken ribs, the Lion was not Bleeding, and had I allowed the duel to continue, he would have struck a Finishing Blow the next round. However, my group's eyes were beginning to glaze over, so I called it there. Obviously, the full Dueling rules aren't for us. At least not most of us, not yet. One-roll duels, on the other hand, are just a bit too swingy. I hate to have Life and Death come down to a single die roll. Also, near as I can tell, the One-Roll Duels don't account for the Iaijutsu techniques, which is just... boooo! With that in mind, I've been trying to break down a Duel into three steps, hopefully keeping them simple enough. I think I've got a decent framework, but it will need some tweaking to get the numbers to work. Challenge: This is an Initiative roll, pretty much standard. TN 1 Meditation. Focus: This is basically an initial Staredown. You can't attack yet, but you can Center or Predict. Predict is now a rolled action (Not sure what the TN should be. 1? 2? Vigilance?), and 2 Opp can be spent to predict an extra stance. This also allows you to spend Opps on the roll, whether successful or not. Characters without an Iaijutsu technique should probably draw their sword, and unless they take a Water stance, won't be able to take another action (assuming it's an Iaijutsu duel). Strike: You may act as usual at this phase, and the target cannot defend against any attacks. So as long as you hit, you inflict a Critical Strike. So them's the basics. In a duel to First Blood, things will probably be over after the first strike. After that, I think it should come down to a skirmish, probably keeping the rules for Final Blow and bidding Strife to increase initiative. There are a lot of little details I haven’t worked out, but overall, what do you think? I realize that basically what I’m doing is removing options, but those options were causing confusion and slowing the game down.
  10. Considering that the first post is deleted, we have no context for the second. Which makes this a heck of a thread!
  11. Okay, so maybe not "unintelligent," but they certainly don't perceive the world the way we do. So our Tsukai might be able to return to the idol and question the kansen within, but he probably won't get straight answers. Bandits discussing how to get out of their predicament wouldn't be understood by the spirit. However, bandits being slaughtered by PCs (or each other) would probably delight the kansen and it would take note of it, though interpreting its perception of the events would be tricky at the least. Sound about right? Likewise, a PC attempting to bind and interrogate the kansen would face similar troubles. It wouldn't be able to identify "Isawa Jimmy, the Phoenix Shugenja" as the Tsukai, but might know him by a character traits that would appeal to the spirit. Perhaps by an advantage or disadvantage that shares the same element... Well, it looks like I need to come up with some epithets for a lot of the advantages and disadvantages. How about the act of binding a spirit or forcing it into physical form? Would that be an ad hoc Invocation? A ritual? I'm figuring it would be some sort of "momentum points" challenge.
  12. First off, how smart are most kansen? Are they basically smart little demons, like imps in D&D? Or are they more like raw emotions, like intangible spirits of hate and anger? Let's say a Maho-Tsukai wanted to bind a kansen to an idol, telling his henchmen, "This spirit will watch all you do!" Could that spirit leave and report back to the Tsukai? Could the Tsukai return to the idol and interrogate the kansen? Or would the idol just exude an aura of darkness and fear, and the henchmen (not knowing any better) would assume the Tsukai was watching their every move? Moving on, let's say a group of samurai storms the hideout, and finds the idol. Assuming they can detect the presence of the evil spirit, what can they do about it? Does it work to smash the idol? A Rite of Cleansing ought to drive it away. What if they want to bind it, forcing it into physical form so that they can kick its butt? Maybe even interrogate it to find out who controls it? That seems like crossing the Maho line, but I can imagine a lot of situations where you would want to bind a spirit (even an elemental kami) into physical form.
  13. Heh, we'll find out. I've played a bit with a few of my more regular "gamer" friends, and we all really liked it, despite a few hiccups. We'll soon be starting in earnest with the addition of some much more casual folks, and I really hope the fiddly bits don't drive them nuts. Ah, well. I'm used to hand-holding.
  14. This is very good, but I'm also noticing a few things. Franwax already pointed out the limitations of Earth Stance. It's very useful, but it does not negate as many Opp spends as it first appears. Things like Iron Forest and Striking as Water are still completely valid, as are Kata that require a Resistance roll, such as Crashing Wave Style. Also, you wrote that "'Way of the Lion' is a very strong ability that both reduces risk (from bleeding)..." Way of the Lion does NOT help you with Bleeding, nor does Void Stance, or any other ability that helps prevent Strife. If you keep those symbols, you take that Fatigue, even if you're able to mitigate the Strife. Actually, later in the fight, you write that "She turns one of the strife into a bonus success (the Way of the Lion ability) making a total of five success and one received strife." Not how Way of the Lion works, but close. Way of the Lion has no effect on the Strife received from the roll. It removes it from your character. This actually makes it better, because you don't need to roll any Strife symbols to make use of it (pretty handy at Rank 6). Now, I'm pretty sure that, even if you start the roll with zero Strife, you can gain it on the roll, then remove it. But BE CAREFUL! If you're in a duel, close to your Composure, accepting that Strife can trigger a Finishing Blow before you can remove it! Nitpicking aside, though, this is some very helpful work. This system is not always intuitive, and has some pretty weird ways to manipulate die results. In-depth examples like this are really handy to new folks trying to wrap their heads around these things. And here's hoping it's also helpful every time one of us pushes our taped glasses up and jumps in with an "Ackshually!"
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