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FFG Max Brooke

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  1. Greetings L5R Open Beta testers! To start off, the development team would like to thank you for your enthusiasm, energy, and excellent contributions over the course of the Open Beta! We’ve been really impressed by your response and the excellent conversations you’ve fostered. This will be the final content update and survey of the Open Beta. After we receive the information here, we will be stepping back, assessing all of the feedback we have received, and weaving together the final version of the manuscript with all of the changes fully integrated. We have been making positive iterative changes throughout the Open Beta, and much of our time will be spent applying these changes and making sure that they are implemented across the board, with all of their ramifications fully considered. Some parts of the final manuscript might differ quite a bit from the current implementation as we make updates and revisions based on the iterative changes, but the concepts we have settled on with your help over the course of the Open Beta will be preserved. Character Advancement Playtesters have expressed a desire for more freeform character advancement, specifically with regards to the feeling that experience spent outside of curriculum is “wasted.” We do want players to be encouraged to invest in their curriculum, but consistent feedback is that receiving nothing for one’s other investments is frustrating. To address this, we will be making the following changes to character advancement: Any purchase outside of your current school rank now contributes half of its experience value to your current school rank. Rings are no longer included in school curriculums. Experience to complete school ranks is going to be increased significantly. Recommended experience rewards will be dropped to one per hour of play, with two per hour and/or discretionary bonuses for milestones offered as an option for GMs. Ninjō/Giri The development team sat down several weeks ago and asked: what do we want Ninjō and Giri to accomplish, and is it doing those things? Here’s what we came up with: Encourage players to think about the character motives fundamental to samurai drama. Give players a feeling of agency in the resolution of their characters’ inner turmoil. Give the GM a way to engage the specific samurai drama stories the players want to tell. We feel that objectives 1 and 3 are being met by the current system. However, we agree with player comments that objective 2 is not being satisfied: the current system offers guidance and light mechanical implications of pursuing/ignoring one’s duty or desires, but generally leaves it in the hands of the GM to dangle plot hooks before the players. As such, the following is our concept for Ninjō and Giri moving forward: “Once per game session, a player may call for a Pivotal Scene involving their character to occur. The player gives a brief overview of a scene they want to roleplay related to their Ninjō, Giri, or the friction between the two. This should be a dynamic moment for the character, in which their faith in Bushidō is tested (usually ninjō) or their reputation is cast into question (usually giri). In their overview, the player should focus on the goals they wish to accomplish and how they relate to their duty or desires, as well as what is standing in the way of them accomplishing those goals. This scene could even occur out of sequence, and may be presented as a flashback (especially if one or more of the characters in question are deceased or otherwise unable to participate). Next, the GM offers comments, suggested revisions, and guidance on situating this scene in the story—as well as the obstacle being described—along with the amount of honor, glory, or both that the player must stake on the outcome of the scene (see Staking Honor, Glory, and Status). If the player wishes to proceed with the scene, they stake the honor or glory and their character must spend one Void point. The scene proceeds as a normal scene, with the GM improvising the action while drawing on previously established facts where possible to help build the scene. If the scene does not involve all of the PCs (or other NPCs who the uninvolved players can temporarily portray), the GM should consider keeping its duration to five minutes or less. At the end of the scene, the player and GM must assess its consequences, as well as whether the character overcame or worked around the obstacles to their goal, or perhaps changed goals altogether. If the character’s faith in Bushidō is upheld, they do not lose any staked honor, and might even receive an honor award of the GM’s determination. If the character’s reputation is undamaged, they do not lose any staked glory, and might even receive a glory award if they did something worthy, at the GM’s determination. It should be very rare for a pivotal scene to occur without some change in a character’s honor, glory, or both—even a seemingly neutral outcome could gnaw at a character’s faith in the code by which they live their life or undermine their efficacy as a samurai in the eyes of others. As with all matters, the GM is the final arbiter over whether the scene is appropriate or not—but the GM should offer an alternative that deals with the same Ninjō or Giri if they truly think a suggestion won’t work as proposed. In the same vein, the GM should not hesitate to ask the player to furnish additional details if they get stuck in framing or resolving the scene, or even turn to the other players table and ask for suggestions.” Now that you’ve read over these options, head over to the survey here and give us your feedback on these ideas, as well as a number of other questions as we wrap up the Open Beta. Feel free to continue sending us your feedback for the next few weeks, and discussing this Beta on the forums. We sincerely appreciate all of the passion you have displayed for Legend of the Five Rings roleplaying, and all the time you have put into testing, analyzing, and commenting on the Open Beta. Your feedback has been very important to the development of the game, and will continue to influence it as we develop the final manuscript!
  2. Greetings L5R Open Beta Testers! First off, we want to thank you for the great response on the survey last week. We got a lot of excellent feedback on duels, and we're in the midst of integrating that into an update to the conflict rules. While there's a more detailed breakdown in this week's email, here are the salient points: • Players put a high premium on agency, so choice points should be plentiful enough to be meaningful • Players want fewer dice rolls in general • Players are more amenable to additional choice points than additional dice rolls • Duels pull the spotlight onto only one player, which is a challenge for many groups In the coming weeks, we'll be rolling out an update to the duel rules to try to incorporate this feedback in a substantive way. This will likely involve actions that can be resolved very quickly, perhaps introducing a degree of randomness via means the than dice (blind choice, bidding, etc). Additionally, we want to include extra guidance on how to integrate duels into other scenes, such as intrigues, and how to build activities for there other characters around duels. For the discussion topic this week, feel free to weigh in on duels, but we'd also like to get feedback on techniques! Here are a couple of questions to get you started: • How do you feel about the different types of techniques? Which are your favorite? Are there any types you don't like? • How do you feel about the complexity of techniques? Are they overwhelming? Do they feel too limited? • What technique-like abilities from past editions would you really want to see represented in the future? Finally, we've got several minor corrections to the preview content, along with a new preview for the Tea Ceremony ritual, which can be found here.
  3. Greetings L5R Testers! This week, our discussion topic is School Abilities! You also have a new one to discuss based on last week's poll results: Way of the Dragon, the school ability of the Mirumoto Two Sword School, which can be found in the special preview here. A few questions to get you started: • How many school abilities have you tried at the table? Which ones have you found the most fun to use? • Are there any school abilities you have had trouble making use of at the table? What do you think stood in the way of their usability? • Are there any school abilities you feel are so strong they crowd out other options (or so weak they get crowded out by better alternatives)? If so, why? • Finally, if you have any other feedback on schools (skills and techniques at various ranks, starting equipment, ring allocations, names, etc), feel free to bring it up here!
  4. If you mean the mechanics and theme, I'd be very curious to hear you expand on why, and the problems you're having with it. If you mean the name, your feedback has already been noted, and will certainly be taken into account as part of the discussion during which school names are finalized!
  5. Greetings L5R Beta Testers, Beta Rules Update v3.0 and the Mirumoto Two Sword School preview are up! You can find both here.
  6. Greeting L5R Open Beta Testers, Thank you for all of your hard work so far. We’re really excited about the direction the game is moving based on your feedback, and we’re looking forward to making some further refinements in the near future! Updates We’ve got a survey for you this week, so we aren’t adding anything to the updates document this week. However, we are in the midst of working on a few topics for the next update, including: Optional rules for skirmishes on a tactical grid Significant update to the damage/fatigue system to better unify theme and mechanics Various refinements of becoming Compromised and the rules around Outbursts Designer Diary This week's newsletter designer diary delves into mass battles and the roll of PCs in large conflicts. For other insights into our development process, sign up for the newsletter! Preview Vote Additionally, after you give us your feedback on conflicts in this week's survey, please take the time to weigh in on which of seven classic schools you’d like to see previewed in next week’s update!
  7. Greetings L5R Testers! This week, our discussion topic is Intrigues and Duels! These are major ways of settling disputes in L5R, and thus we want to hear about your experiences with them! •Have you run an intrigue or duel? If so, who were the participants? •How long did the intrigue/duel take to resolve (how many rounds and how many minutes)? •In your ideal L5R campaign, how often would you want to be undertaking either of these activities? •Have you run into any points of confusion in intrigues/duels?
  8. Greetings once again, Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game Open Beta Testers! Last week covered a great deal of “housekeeping”—we addressed individual issues, alongside some larger adjustments we wanted to make to the overall system early on so we can see how they play out (in case we want to make future course corrections to these systems). Thus, this week, our focus will once again be a survey, focused this time on Chapter 2: Creating a Character! You can find the survey here. Additionally, this week, you’ll have the chance to vote on a rare and potent item you’d like to see previewed in the Beta! For those curious, this week's newsletter designer diary delves into the logic behind advantages and disadvantage, as well as a bit of their development over the course of the alpha test. We'll continue to explore topics like this in future weeks, so if you want these additional insights into the development of L5R and you haven't signed up already, definitely sign up for the newsletter here. As always, we appreciate your continued enthusiasm and interest!
  9. Greetings L5R Testers! This week, our discussion topic is Skills, Advantages, and Disadvantages. Here are a couple of questions to get you started: •Are there any activities you have wanted to pursue during a session that are not clearly covered by one or more skills? •Are there any skills that have confused you in their implementation? •Does your group generally apply advantages and disadvantages narratively, or only to the specific listed checks and rings? •Are there any advantages or disadvantages from prior iterations of the game you would want to see return? •Are there any advantages or disadvantages you have had trouble using at the table?
  10. Greetings L5R Open Beta testers! As many of you know, this week's email blast contained a deep-dive into some of the matters in the content update, as well as a designer diary into our take on the venerable and beloved 20 Questions! Beyond the designer diary, here's an overview of what we covered in the newsletter: Strife and Unmasking “Unmasking” is the new term for “outbursts,” and it functions in a slightly different way. We want people who were enjoying the outburst system to be able to play it almost exactly the same way—but we also want people who feel their samurai should be able to remain stoic to have that flexibility. As such, when a character’s strife exceeds their composure, they become compromised. While compromised, a character cannot keep dice with strife symbols. By unmasking, a character can rid themself of this strife, and their player can roleplay how the scene transpires. We hope that this system will have greater flexibility, helping to underscore player agency while still offering all the roleplaying cues and interesting mechanical interactions around emotions that others like about the previous outburst system! Wounds become Fatigue Based on the poll and a lengthy internal discussion, wounds are being re-themed as fatigue—reflecting exertion as a character grows more vulnerable to a hit that causes a serious injury (still represented by critical strikes). Duels Duel objectives have been reframed and reworked to better fit into the lore of the setting, including a variety of iconic duel types (formal Iaijutsu duels, open duels between combatants, and Taryu-Jiai between shugenja) Stances Several stances have received a bit of a retuning (Water and Air). Iaijutsu Technique Instead of being represented with a single technqiue, Iaijutsu has been split into two techniques, with a few more to come in the future. Action Economy Revisions During a conflict, movement (beyond one range band) and weapon manipulation are more restricted, often requiring an action. However, the Water stance now grants the ability to perform an action without a check. Further, certain abilities help to mitigate these restrictions (such as Iaijutsu Cuts). Finally, per the earlier announcement post on the topic, the content update itself (and the preview for a certain popular Minor Clan) can be found here.
  11. Greetings testers! Our focus topic for this week is creating a character! People have already been doing an excellent job discussing it in various places, but here's a tread with some conversation-starter questions! •How is the process of character creation working overall? •If you or members of your group have been getting stuck, where has this been happening? •How are school abilities performing at the table? •Are there any questions you have found yourself struggling to answer? We look forward to reading your discussion, especially in light of some of the information in this week's content update!
  12. Greetings L5R Open Beta testers, We’re still gathering items for a substantial rules update, so we’re going to make our first big set of revisions a matter for next week. For today, here a summary of the areas for which you should expect major review and likely revisions next week! • Duels • Iaijutsu • Outbursts (terminology, theme, and presentation)—and you can weigh in on this directly in the survey this week! • Wounds (terminology, theme, and presentation)—and you can weigh in on this directly in the survey this week! • Readying weapons • Numerous small corrections A more detailed breakdown of this list (and the thought process behind it) can be found in our newsletter. We also include some discussion of the things we're not changing just yet (stances, strife as a general concept, outbursts as a general concept, "always-on" passive defense bonuses). If you're not signed up for email updates, you can do so here. Additionally, if you haven't already done so, you can fill out our Week 3 survey to give us your feedback on some of the ideas here and weigh in on which minor clan you’d like to see previewed in the next content update. Thanks for all of your feedback so far, and we look forward to continuing to improve the system with you in the weeks to come!
  13. Greetings L5R Open Beta Testers! Here is the thread for this week's focus topic, Chapter 1: Playing the Game. Use this thread to share your thoughts on the core mechanics of the game. We're especially interested in hearing where people are tripping up or might be confused, what aspects people are enjoying (and aren't), and how things are going at the table. Some questions to consider based on your time at the table: • How much strife are characters accruing in a given session? • How common are outbursts? • How often are characters succeeding or failing on their checks? • How frequently characters are spending and acquiring Void points? • How often are the GM and players struggling to find the right approach (skill and ring) for checks? One thing to note: just because Chapter 1 is this week's focus topic doesn't mean we can't discuss it and make revisions in later weeks—it's just where we'd like to center the discussion in a general sense. If a fundamental problem with dice probabilities is revealed while testing conflicts, for instance, we can always come back to this topic. And, as one final reminder: please keep the discussion civil. We know people are really excited about L5R, and want it to be the best it can be (and we do, too!). Try to view your fellow testers as collaborators rather than adversaries. While there will unquestionably be many differences of opinion, strive to keep in mind that there are people behind the posts you see, and the more we can learn from each other, the better this will be! So, discuss away!
  14. Greetings, L5R Open Beta testers! First of all, the design team would like to express its gratitude and awe at the volume of response we’ve gotten so far. From posts on these and other forums to direct emails, we’ve been really impressed with how enthusiastic people are about Legend of the Five Rings roleplaying! Overview of the Beta We want to give people time to digest the content before we make any big changes—so keep those test reports coming in! In lieu of a large content update this first week, we’ll instead take the opportunity to explain some of the things we want to accomplish with this Open Beta, how you can help to guide its course, and the general shape of things to come in the Beta process. Update Format The Beta will run into the New Year (with a few unscheduled weeks around the December holidays because we assume people will be busy). Usually, updates will be sent out via the mailing list on Wednesdays, and then posted to the forum Thursday mornings. Additionally, the mailing list update will include insights like designer diaries, internal testing anecdotes, and other glimpses behind the scenes of Legends of the Five Rings roleplaying! Focal Issues From the third week forward, each week will have one or two focal topics, which we’d like to center the discussion around. Of course, feel free to bring up other issues, but we’ll be making a stickied thread for these topics each week. Surveys We will also include a survey every odd-numbered week to help compile your feedback on key issues we’re examining. Sometimes, these surveys will also contain questions that relate to the next week’s focal issues! Previews L5R has always been very community-driven, and we want to keep you involved! In addition to using the surveys to gather feedback on the parts of the game that are already present, some weeks, we’ll be using them to get your input on one or two specific elements you want to see in the Open Beta. These previews may include content such as families, schools, and weapons not in the Beta! Each time we include one of these questions about preview content, the top-voted response will be added to the Beta as a sneak preview of content that will be in the final game! Open Beta Timeline Week 1 (Oct 2nd) Launch The Open Beta is released. You’ve already started to give great feedback, so we’re off to a great start! Week 2 (Oct 9th) Reading Period Another week for people to keep absorbing the material in the Beta (plus this update about plans for the test). If you can, try to get the game on the table this week, or at least build characters, so that you can start to give feedback on the sorts of experiences that only occur in play. Week 3 (Oct 16th) Core Mechanics This week’s focal discussion will be on Chapter I: Playing the Game. Week 4 (Oct 23) Character Creation This week’s focal discussion will be on the 20 Questions and related parts of the book. Week 5 (Oct 30) Skills, Advantages, and Disadvantages This week, we’ll be focusing on Skill, Advantages, and Disadvantages. Week 6 (Nov 6) Conflicts Part 1 This week will be focused on testing and discussing Intrigues and Duels. Week 7 (Nov 13) Conflicts Part 2 This week will focus on testing and discussing Skirmishes and Mass Battles, as well as weapons, armor, and other equipment. Week 8 (Nov 20) School Abilities This week will home in on school abilities, and how they have functioned in actual play, along with school advancement tables. Week 9 (Nov 27) Techniques Part 1 This week will focus on Kata, Shūji, and more secretive arts. Week 10 (Dec 4) Techniques Part 2 This week will focus on Invocations, Kihō, Mahō, and Rituals. Week 11 (Dec 11) GM Guidance This week will focus on the GM’s chapter, with special consideration for the sort of guidance people want to see in the final book! Week 12 (Dec 18) NPCs This week will focus on NPCs, assessing the encounter rating system, and related issues. After this point, the winter holidays will be upon us, and we’ll take that time to evaluate the course of the Beta. After that, we’ll return with more information about the final issues to be researched and addressed in the Beta. Additional Notes Before we wrap up this update, there are a few issues that people have isolated that seem to be especially important to people. So that we don’t leave you completely in suspense, here’s a short, far-from-complete list of matters we’re currently reviewing based on your feedback so far: Certain nomenclature has been a sticking point for people, particularly “Outbursts.” We have some ideas we want to put in front of the community to see what people think, so prepare to discuss this soon! Stances are under close evaluation—please try them out on the table in their current form and report back, but also know that we have some potential adjustments in mind if needed. The Medicine skill has been noted to be missing some fairly core functionality! Good job on that diagnosis—we expect to see it stitched up and back on its feet soon. Pending some consultation, Iaijutsu is getting a fairly substantial update. This might not come into effect until a few weeks down the road, but we know it’s a matter of great concern to many proud Crane duelists, and we want people to know it’s being treated with the gravity it deserves. Some samurai are concerned about not having their favorite armaments from previous editions. Fear not, the Open Beta list is not necessarily a full list of everything that will be in the final book. You’ll be able to slice down shuriken-wielding ninja with your nodachi in the final book, if not sooner! Due to the scale of the Open Beta, we will not be responding directly to individual queries on these forums. However, we are keeping track of all of it, so the questions and concerns you raise here are not being overlooked!
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