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  1. Invisible Sun is a pretentious tire fire of a game. The primary gameplay loop isn't supported by the mechanics, everything is spread out over four books with deliberately poor layout, the mechanics are a balance mess where two stats out of eight are The Best, and the setting is a sophomoric mashup of Planescape and Magic: the Gathering. It's basically a Monte Cook work without any constraints or filters.
  2. They aren't? It's another subsystem to learn, but it's not lengthy and is a lot better than having to make something up each time without guidelines. If you still want something that's more loose then there are some results for that. I've heard better things about the mechanics side of SW Deadlands than the old one but watch out for cultural appropriation and/or Confereate apologia in the setting.
  3. TRPG streams aren't quite the same medium as your average table, of course. They're known to punch things up, do some mild scripting, and jettison otherwise serviceable rules for the sake of the show. And that's fine on its own, but people do need to keep in mind that your table (or whoever's) isn't going to be broadcasting like Matt Mercer's. In fact a common criticism of Critical Role et al. is that people try out D&D 5E for generalized fantasy adventure, and then end up being disappointed/having to implement kludgy hacks/switching to a lighter system because the actual system is and has always been focused on the resource management skills of fantasy actuaries. And to generalize this, the point of mechanics is to encourage a particular kind of play. As an example from L5R, acting within the purview of one Ring or another is supposed to be meaningful to show things about the setting and to offer that choice of "how does your character approach problems". We've always had the five Rings, and they were all supposed to do things, but in practice they were just some extra math ala D&D 3+ ability scores or Storyteller Abilities because the skills only went with one Ring or substat each. Hence 5E wanted to change things up so that you could choose any of the Rings for a situation, and that that was a meaningful choice (as opposed to only using Fire/Agility for an attack roll). So they took a notable cue here from Fate Accelerated, in which your Approach (one out of six) gave a bonus between +0 and +3 at chargen to do something. But the issue there is that you can end up with perverse outcomes, where players are encouraged to haggle their way into constantly using their best Approach. 5E's approach to dealing with this was to add more mechanical heft, implementing various choices for each stance between passives/opportunity spending/exclusive techniques. That's why we have the tables on pages 328-329, to show how each Ring is distinct and useful in its own way and to encourage players to toy with them depending on the situation.
  4. How does Earth stance influence intrigue encounters much? It blocks receiving conditions or critical strikes from spent opportunities, but there are very few things that would actually trigger this in an intrigue without escalating that to something else. ("Condition" is a defined game term.) Earth as a ring is still useful for boosting Composure, though the other stances have more substantial effects when you don't have to care about weapons. And in any case there's a lot of choice in both shuji and other ways to spend opportunity that will make selecting a stance quite meaningful. Or in a duel you can usually flush someone out of an uncomfortable stance by putting down the Predict action (unless it's Void). It's basically a rare counter but it's not unheard of to be used. As for crit effects, I don't see how they're "chosen by the acting player". Sure, you suffer an effect that changes based on your current stance, but that's uniformly a disadvantage (with the usual "reroll 2 dice with a success" effect) or a Wounded condition. By absorbing that crit on whatever ring, you're getting hit with penalties on that ring down the line. Or if the target is in Earth stance, well...they're not getting some of the more offensive kata/opportunity options from other stances. It's a tradeoff - Earth is the most defensive but certainly not the most offensive. More generally, I'm fine with players and PCs knowing the consequences of their actions by default. Just because those choices are transparent, doesn't mean that they can't be hard to choose between. (Context: If you have Monk in the FF5 Four Job Fiesta, how much grinding are you willing to put up with as opposed to cutting your losses and starting a new run/Job Fairing it away?)
  5. That's about it in this edition. In that sense it's similar to being Slowed in D&D 4E or knocked down in Blood Bowl. It's primarily there to limit additional movement through the Maneuver action, the 2 Opp Water ability to move a range band, or some techniques with the Movement tag. (The majority don't actually move you, but it is still there to limit interaction with the Water stance or provide a link for mounts and some other tags.) Edit: Even if there aren't many techniques that take Prone as an input, each becomes a lot better if your target is actually Prone. And they're available starting at Rank 1 or 2 (depending on school), so that Earth-focused shugenja with a Tetsubo of Earth will be violent as soon as they can find victims to smash with their digging bar.
  6. Any version of D&D is some degree of crunchy, even 5E. It attempts to scale things down (and ended up as the "ask your GM" edition), but when people can dig deeply into the combat math as expected by the Adventuring Day and reverse-engineer the monster stats I wouldn't call it anything but rules-heavy. Inversely much of what L5R 5E is doing is scaling up from rules-light foundations and adding crunch. The core mechanic starts with you figuring out an approach based on your intention; depending on that you might use any of the rings. But going on more with that will just get us stuck in the weeds. From what I've seen from you on these forums your design goals for this game are notably different from what the designers have. And that's not a problem on its own - everyone has preferences - but you're viewing everything through this lens and using that to say that "[thing I don't like] is bad!" when maybe this just isn't the game for you. Sometimes I've seen you misunderstanding or misinterpreting some rule just so you can call it out. Edit: Compare this edition to 4E, where the rules were more complex and yet they mostly served to push numbers around. Courtiers were a tossup between useful/niche and useless/niche, bushi varied between useful autoattacking and weird gimmicks, and shugenja were amazing knockoff wizards.
  7. Incapacitated: Yes, you still go unconscious on a Close Call result. Most likely it's a glancing blow. Poison + Jurojin's Blessing: Keep in mind that all advantages and disadvantages have a narrative effect, and a mechanical effect distinct from that. That bit about the recovery time is narrative, so it applies whenever the group thinks it's relevant for enabling something on the PC's end or disabling something on the other side of the table. Compare this with the custom "Born Sailor" distinction on page 138, whose narrative effect is to guard against seasickness. Does the game have any rules for being seasick? No. But if the player says that they want it on their sheet then it should probably come up occasionally. (And if you still need a mechanical relation keep in mind that one already exists - the second effect of Jurojin's Blessing gives you the usual "reroll up to 2 dice" business.) NPC advantages/disadvantages: There's a line on page 309 that talks about this: Just use them when they would seem relevant, based on their name and various tags. In that sense they're not unlike Aspects from Fate. More generally, by default this game is not intended to have the mechanical heft of D&D or Shadowrun (for instance) where almost every interaction is mechanically scrutinized. Some of it will be (it reads like a crunchier version of Fate Accelerated), but some of it won't be as the situation merits. You can push the game to be heftier if you like (check page 289 for a sidebar that briefly outlines this), but the game doesn't regard it as necessary.
  8. They'd have to write a significant amount of new lore to make it work well. Previously the whole business of having the Second City was derived in part as fallout from the metaplot, since the setting swung wildly from changes in the CCG tournaments/Winter Courts/etc. FFG doesn't seem like they're going to repeat that soon, since hoo boy did we get some messes before like what happened to the Lying Darkness/Fu Leng coming back to life and then dying again/the entire Mary Sue mess that was Daigetsu/someone throwing a major decision after being bribed >$1000 to fix their car. Additionally they would need to get around the problem of inserting colonialism into the setting as the single biggest point of interaction with the outside world. 😒 It was thankfully less odious (eg, Japanese-controlled Manchukuo) and instead more naive, but it was still something that warrants a lot of examination before it shows up again in this day and age. If it did show up, the ideal way to do it would instead be to present various foreign locations as independent from the Emerald Empire itself. Not only would it get around the minefield of colonialism, but it would also allow for more description of the wider world in brief that campaigns could use for short adventures. Making an entire campaign setting in microcosm would be a bit much, though. The whole point of this game is dealing with samurai drama, and it's almost impossible to do that entirely outside the empire without dealing with colonialism. At best you'd probably want the PCs to be a group of merchants/diplomats who have an excuse to travel all over.
  9. I wouldn't houserule it at all? If the players are prepared to invest both XP and time (in the form of downtime or conflict actions) into these...why do I need to yell at them for wanting competence in a very specific field and being honest about that? Like I said above, in prior editions Taint used to only proceed in one direction and was something you ended up being super cautious about. Because of this it was always and invariably a high-profile mechanic. There was no lesser setting on that dial that you could live with as PCs. Now with the Cleansing Rite and other options the question isn't about how much irreparable damage that oni is going to do on behalf of the Shadowlands, because of course it was an agent of the Shadowlands in prior editions, or whatever. Now it might be about how the locals will react to news of a stampeding monster in the area. Or about what public response the regional government will have, likely centered around keeping out more monsters. Or about how the damage is going to be repaired. Or about how much repairing that damage will cost in time and resources. And if the PCs happen to be nearby then they can factor into all of those newly available plot threads. More generally, Avatar111, you've got a very particular idea of how this game should work. And a lot of these issues you're bringing up...I would not characterize as failures of the product itself. Rather, they're just disconnects between what the designers intended and what you're looking for out of your own game. Everyone has preferences; no one person's should be final on its own.
  10. How do you "spam" this during narrative scenes? Downtime scenes are already a defined concept, with some strict boundaries and some loose ones, but if nothing else they're distinct from the freeform intent of narrative scenes. And the game offers guidance on how to work these in various ways (page 248), like limiting what someone can do ("What Can Be Accomplished in a Downtime Scene?") to adjudicating how much free time PCs might actually have or not have ("Long Downtime Scenes") to discussing how to deal with lengthy timeskips ("Extremely Long Narrative Gaps"). There's also a sidebar (page 247) on how to pace scenes so the narrative structure doesn't get disjointed, but regardless there's enough in the text to keep things from getting out of hand. And like I said before, if someone is performing the Cleansing Rite then they aren't doing a different downtime action. Or on the other hand, if you're in a narrative scene then you shouldn't be doing a series of rolls in the first place. If you're making a bunch of rolls then you can move it to a conflict scene (page 247). If the action only merits one roll, if any, then you can instead move it to a narrative scene (page 249). The whole point of this business is that you should escalate or deescalate the complexity of play as the situation demands. If the PCs are in a position to "spam" whatever then the group doesn't need to deal with a lot of structure by making a lot of rolls. Maybe they need one roll. Or maybe they don't need any, instead getting a result based on their known abilities and group consensus. (Eg, "you can clearly talk circles around the local magistrates and get them to agree to a tax exemption".) All that said, going back to the original quandary of "why don't all the Hida have this" the real answer is that you needn't treat the rules as the "physics" of the game world. ("Rules-as-physics" for short.) Instead the rules are around as a lens for interacting with the game world. Sure, maybe a lot of the Hida do have this ritual and thus feel like they can risk further exploration into the Shadowlands. Or maybe another group doesn't and consequently they don't pass more than a hundred feet into such blighted territory. Either way, if they're NPCs they don't need any kind of stats if they're not doing things onscreen.
  11. It's a Void (Theology) TN 3 downtime activity. "Spamming" it is already not a problem since that's harder for starting characters to reach and it presents an opportunity cost for not performing some other downtime activity. Other rituals? Treatment with Medicine? Preparing an invocation? A handful of other things like Lady Shinjo's Speed or Just as Predicted? Pursuing your ninjo to remove strife? Various narrative effects like searching a building for clues (page 170) or jury-rigging a trap (an application of page 148)? Those are all precluded if you choose to attempt a Cleansing Rite. Also I'm fine with this way of doing things. Before Taint used to be a progress bar that only went in one direction and made characters functionally unplayable by Rank 2 or sometimes even Rank 1. Not only were there visible effects (which invariably got the Kuni and others to either kill you or ship you off into NPC territory), but you also had to deal with constant checks against an escalating infection. Nowadays? You can at least deal with it as a PC. It's not like it doesn't still have risks but at least you're not a ticking time bomb of a character. It means that the entire conflict with the Shadowlands isn't just this sprawling overwrought Forever War that always has the highest of stakes. With these kinds of options and tradeoffs there's more narrative room to work with.
  12. You can buy them at any time so long as you have XP. The point of curriculum skills is that they grant full value (1 XP spent <-> 1 XP toward next rank) towards school progression, as opposed to other XP expenditures that only count half towards school progression. Notably buying up rings always counts for half, so there's a tradeoff in bumping up skills/techniques for rank vs. buying up rings for dice pools. Check pages 97-98 if you want more detail on this.
  13. Fgdsfg was banned a while ago, so the project is pretty much dead. So far as I've heard they shot their mouth off one too many times, though since the relevant threads have been purged in all likelihood I have no idea of the details of the situation.
  14. GW does not inspire me with confidence on this front, however. FFG will make something interesting out of this because that's What They Do when a license runs out and they have to repurpose design work, but GW will likely just tweak their same old stuff with little critical analysis.
  15. What does the character even get out of possession? Most of the effects seem marginal compared to the player's probable desire to just blast stuff with powers, and even Invoking the Demon won't do him much good if his power stat (WP) is better than its. Gotcha. Any particular reason why? I'm mostly just curious here. Pretty much. The printed Culexus Assassin "only" has a mere 51 Agility and thus can "only" Dodge six times per round. Though at least they don't also have Harlequin flip-belts, which give a free reroll to Dodge tests.
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