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MonCalamariAgainstDrunkDriving

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  1. Maybe title abilities should just be techniques with an RP requirement (that can never be waived), adjusting cost as needed for their power level? Edit: One possible issue here is that sometimes the curriculum feels like more of a reward than the title ability, if you get access to techniques you don't otherwise have access to.
  2. I've been considering tweaking the Game of Twenty Questions for my campaign. I like that it encourages players to think more deeply about their characters, but I might want to guide some of those thoughts towards concepts more relevant to either the specific campaign I'm running or my GMing style in general. For instance, in the game I'm running now, most samurai belong to vassal families. I thought it might be cool to have a question something like "Are you an heir in the main line of the family or are you one of their vassals?" If you belong to the main line of the family, you get a status bonus. If you choose a vassal family, you get a free rank in a relevant skill. I ran a game in 4th edition set in the 5th century, during the Gozoku Alliance. I changed some of the questions to be things like, "Do you believe in the divinity of the Hantei line?" or "Are you sympathetic to the Gozoku Alliance?" There weren't mechanical implications in 4th, and maybe these questions wouldn't require them now, but I think it helped set up characters to be involved in the kinds of themes I wanted to set up during the game. Have other people tweaked the questions, either for general use or for a specific campaign? What did you ask? Did choices affect the mechanics? Did players seem to care? Do you feel like it helped steer the game in a good direction?
  3. Oh, I like it. Not super powerful or anything, but it seems flavorful. Based on the shuji, the class seems geared towards Games though. Weird that it's not a starting skill.
  4. My assumption is that low Endurance characters become Incapacitated more often.
  5. Oh, that's interesting! I like that it means you're killing people on their feet. I also like that it allows for the cinematic kinds of scenes where someone is beaten near to death but manages to eek out a victory anyhow. A tradeoff might be that it makes combat even less lethal though (since you can run away faster or potentially take actions better than Calming Breath to remove fatigue). But actually maybe that's a perk, if it makes it easier to save important NPCs you'd like to use again. What if being Incapacitated meant the character was automatically Dazed and Disoriented? Still increases TNs by 2, but also allows for techniques that use those conditions to trigger? This seems like it would slightly favor low Endurance characters, which I think I'm okay with.
  6. Voted! It's been such an incredible aid in running my game. Looking forward to the update!
  7. I'd still only let it work once per Enrage, but I'd let the player use it if something already made her Enraged. For example, if she was targeted by Unholy Fervor or something. It already requires a kind of harsh trigger, and I wouldn't want to have to tell a player, "Sorry, you can't tap into Matsu's Fury right now. You're already experiencing the normal kind of anger."
  8. Can you share anything about the Shiba Artist? I'm especially curious what the school ability is like. Edit: I heard through the grapevine what the normal school ability is like. I'm now personally more curious about the Rank 6 ability (and what their rank 1 curriculum is like, but that seems like more of a pain to describe).
  9. I'm with you, @Avatar111. Especially for a setting where ancestral weapons and other inheritances are so important, it does seem a little too easy to destroy things.
  10. Here are a few ideas I've been throwing around. Some are definitely better than others. Knock a target prone with Iron in the Mountains Style and then do bonus damage with Rushing Avalanche Style. Use Breath of Wind Style to Disorient a target and then critical strike with Veiled Menace Style. Use Disappearing World Style to Daze a target and then do bonus damage with Spinning Blades Style. Open Hand Style can pair with any technique that cares about the opponent's stance because you can force the target into a stance with a higher Resist check. Similarly, Coiling Serpent Style lets you immobilize a target, which prevents them from switching stances, which could matter for Resist checks. Thunderclap Strike might encourage your opponent to enter Water stance (so they can move back in range and still attack), which means it might pair well with Crimson Leaves Strike or Iron in the Mountains Style. Iron Forest Style makes it hard for opponents to approach you. This could pair with Thunderclap Strike, so you can push back the opponents who do reach you. This might encourage opponents to switch to ranged attacks, but you're using Air stance (because of Thunderclap Strike), which lets you spend opportunity to bump up your TN vs. Martial Arts [Ranged] attacks. Alternatively, you could pair Iron Forest Style (which makes it harder for opponents to attack you) with Stonewall Tactics (which makes it harder for them to attack anyone else).
  11. I had a pretty similar situation come up in my game, actually. A player wanted to essentially Bull Rush someone off a boat. I'm new enough to the system that I'm not real comfortable coming up with rules for stuff like this on the fly yet. How would you personally have ruled it? Keep opportunity equal to their Earth ring or something? Up the TN but allow for a Resist roll? If someone was willing to list a few examples of how they'd rule stuff like this (knocking someone prone or inflicting other minor conditions, bull rushing, maybe disarming), I'd be grateful.
  12. I just concluded the first arc of my first game using the 5e rules, and the Eyes of Nanashi were a huge part of the plot. The players seemed to really like them. One of them asked if she could takeover a specific NPC member of the Eyes if her character dies (which at the time seemed very likely). One of them wants to replace his old character with a ronin (who I'm guessing will be a member of the Eyes). I'm going to play off this interest and keep Nanashi Mura as a focus. There are other ronin in the city (and elsewhere) who I will continue to use the normal rules for, but ideally the Eyes would be a little distinct, which I'd like to represent with some tweaks to the World Ronin school. I plan on there being just one school for the Eyes of Nanashi and the Voice of Nanashi/Master of Games. Broad concept-wise, I want the school to: 1. Be good at games and capable of leveraging games socially, 2. Have above average non-lethal combat options (as per their techniques in previous editions and so as to not have to kill clan samurai), 3. Have at least decent access to dueling techniques (previous editions had a Nanashi Duelist path), and 4. Not be radically different enough that I should be playtesting it first. Here are some more specific thoughts on mechanics: 1. Keep the same school ability. 2. Games needs to be a starting skill, but I'm not sure what to swap out. 3. Swap out the starting shuji options for different 1st level ones that use Games (Courts of Stone seems like it has a ton of good choices). 4. Swap out Pelting Hail as a starting technique (since they're not known for archery) for Coiling Serpent Strike (because it's a good non-lethal option). 5. Swap out Open Hand Style at rank 1 for Artisan's Appraisal (to represent them learning about people over Games), and 6. Swap out Iron Forest Style at rank 2 (since they're not known for using polearms) for one of the Iaijutsu Cuts (so they get a dueling tech and the normal level). Also, if they choose the Peasant families as their family, they can swap out one of the Trade skills for Games (and probably get a small boost to glory and wealth). How does this strike you?
  13. Exactly. But your suggestion adds to the degree to which the mechanics are pushing the narrative rather than supporting it. To have my players involved in the scene, I'm not just coming up with a reason for them to be leading troops in general, but reasons why a specialized troop is there and why they would get to lead it. For instance, it's one thing to say the party's shugenja is leading ashigaru or a peasant levy. It's more of a stretch to come up with a reason why someone with no experience commanding is leading a unit of shugenja. It also means a ton of shugenja are around during the non-mass battle scenes, which may not work for the story. And even if you get lucky and it does all work for your story, it still isn't making their choices any more interesting mechanically. They're still just choosing Rally every turn (with maybe a situational Reinforce). This doesn't feel like good game design to me. For the record, I like your suggestion. I just don't think it solves the core problem. It also explicitly isn't how cohorts work by the book (pg. 280: "The sample armies provided here are for entire armies, not single cohorts, which do not have individualized profiles."). My initial comment about Fortifications was that it takes Assault off the table for players without good Command/Tactics. If you have one of the specialized samurai armies that has a 'if you succeed' type bonus for Assault in a skill you have, maybe you conditionally reconsider, but I still think that generally holds true. Okay, but note that you can't get momentum points for any of the Strategic Objectives without causing attrition (or sometimes dueling). None of the SOs measure momentum in panic. So if you're hoping to win via panic, you might not be supporting the strategy of the rest of the army. I guess this is what our differences really boil down to. Perhaps we just have to agree to disagree on this? If the characters are fighting in a battle, I want them to have fun, meaningful choices that they can make, even if they're not the commanders. My experience so far has been that Intrigues don't play out in the limited way Mass Battles do. The nature of the conflict type means mechanically simple actions like Persuade lend themselves very easily to lots of different kinds of play. I haven't yet had the issue of one player just being broody and not doing anything.
  14. I'd agree with @UnitOmega here; if they're not the commanders, it's not a mass battle. Yeah, that's what I'm saying too. The biggest problem I'm having with this is in the text you quoted. Obviously your mileage may vary, but I don't expect there to be many parties where it makes logical sense for every character to be commanding troops. This feels like a step back from previous editions where everyone in the battle had interesting choices to make, even if they couldn't single-handedly turn the tide. I appreciate that some scenes within a battle I might want to resolve with an Intrigue or Skirmish type conflict. Right now, I'm leaning towards resolving all of them with Intrigue or Skirmish type conflicts because it doesn't make logical sense for all of my players to be Leaders. That makes me feel like there's probably a better design for Mass Battle rules. Well....no. As noted, for it to qualify as a mass battle, it means there are a huge number of soldiers on the field - more than you can make a difference to with Martial Arts and a sword or Theology and a fireball. As it stands, Assault, Challenge, Rally and Reinforce are it, and Assault and Reinforce (both of which use Tactics) are the only ones which really move chunks of the army round the battlefield. Four options doesn't seem like terribly many to me to start with, and again ymmv, but from what I've seen so far, the degree of choice is partially an illusion. Fortified terrain, your unit type, the current Strategic Objective, and your personal skill set could mean that only one choice is practical/useful. Some example limitations: There might only be one member of the party for whom Challenge is a genuine option. There are a handful of reasons why Reinforce might be good (to claim open Fortification, because your Commander is trying to Draw Them In, or because you're leading Ashigaru or Archers), but generally, for most players most of the time, there isn't a reason to choose this. Fortification can take Assault off the table for characters without sufficiently high Command/Tactics. Even without fortifications, you need some Command (or a very high Tactics) for this to be productive. In most groups, I would expect at least one character is going to be stuck just choosing Rally every turn. But I get how a lot of this comes down to personal preference. If you think the options are sufficient, awesome. There is potential for this. Firstly, the checks for a mass battle may involve skills the PCs don't have, but whilst TN2 Tactics checks implies a competent general, TN1 Command is....pretty easy, let's be honest, even without the Command skill, and a pretty wide selection of schools (and not just Bushi) get access to a rank of Command at character creation. Challenge lets duellists be duellists (I strongly recommend using one-roll-duels to resolve the fight during the mass battle round, given that it represents an hour or more of the fighting) Remember that cohorts and armies should almost always have some sort of special rule; Rally lets you fend off rising panic against shadowlands monsters and lets shujenga play healer if you give them a 'Mystics' cohort. If you want a particular character archetype to be useful, then maybe follow the rulebooks suggestion of creating a cohort type that uses their particular special skills - Shinobi, for example, who use Skulduggery or Stealth checks instead of Tactics for Assault actions, or at least add bonus successes equal to said skill rank to the check. I'm going to respond to each of your arguments here as I understand them. Let me know if you feel like I've misrepresented any of them. 1. The TNs are low enough that players without relevant skills can still contribute. I agree with you for Rally, but I think that just further makes it some players' only option. For instance, if you don't have Command, you need three successes on a Tactics check to do a single point of attrition to an unfortified army in an Assault. 2. Some characters who aren't built to be Leaders will still have some ranks in the relevant skills. No disagreement here. 3. With some creativity, you can make other skills important too. I would definitely explore this if I were to run another Mass Battle, but I don't think it solves the problem. For starters, I'm not sure it's always going to make sense narratively. To use one of your examples, what is this cohort that the Shinobi character is leading? Where did they come from? Why is the character leading them? Why don't they lead them outside of Mass Battle? What implications should their tactics have on the narrative? I'm sure there's a way to justify it all and maybe you'll be lucky and it will lead to a good story, but to me it feels like trying to force the narrative to make up for bad mechanics. Narrative concerns aside, I think this is very likely to just lead to switching which action is the only logical option for the character.
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