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Thaliak

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Everything posted by Thaliak

  1. Gelanin, RLogue177 has posted PDFs with all of the universal talent trees, including Ship Captain and the five others from Dawn of Rebellion.
  2. To my understanding, Genesys uses a "talent pyramid" system. Each talent has a rank between one and five, with rank one talents costing five experience, rank two talents costing 10 experience, rank three talents costing 15 experience, and so on. To acquire a talent above rank one, the character must have more talents in the previous rank. For example, if I wanted to buy a second rank three talent, I would need at least three rank two talents. As in Star Wars, some talents are ranked and can be taken multiple times. However, each time they are acquired, their rank increases by one. To compensate for the higher cost, a few talents provide extra benefits when they are purchased a second time, such as applying to two skills instead of one. Even so, this system should discourage players from investing too heavily in a single ranked talent. I haven't played Genesys or read the book, but from what I've read on forums and seen in online character builders, I suspect I'd like the system if it had more support. I find Star Wars' talent trees unnecessarily restrictive. I grew up with Pathfinder, where it is easy to build characters who can play a supporting role in every theater, from combat to social interaction and exploration. Because Star Wars advancement is based on individual purchases rather than universal increases in power, it is much harder to do that here, especially given how focused many of the specializations are. For example, with the exception of Teacher, which has access to Well Rounded, I can't find a Force and Destiny career that has access to both Ranged (Light) and Negotiation. However, if I favored Lightsabers rather than pistols, I'd be set, because FFG has given us the Arbiter. You might reply, "Just suck it up, Thaliak! Buy a negotiation specialization and a gun specialization if you want to excel in both fields." To which I'd reply, "That would be ideal, but almost every game I've been in has ended before the third or fourth session. I'm hopeful this one will be an exception, but I'd have more fun if the system were flexible enough to let me realize the character concept quickly, even if that meant my character ended up less powerful than he would with a more focused build." Specializations also interact in odd ways with the skill system. For example, if I know I want to be a Teacher/Arbiter with at least two ranks in Lore and two ranks in Education, the optimal move is to start as a Teacher, because unlike the Arbiter, they can use their free skills to get two skills to rank 2 for a 10 experience bonus. Similarly, if I want to eventually acquire a specialization with Ranged (Light) as a career skill, I should wait until I'm ready to do that before buying any ranks in the skill, even if it makes sense for the character to pick up the skills immediately. As frustrating as I find specializations, I'll admit that they reinforce the setting, encourage characters to focus on one or two areas rather than stepping on each others' toes, and occasionally allow players to discover the upside of talents they would otherwise never take. They're also thematic, so I can understand why others like them. But I've had far too many times where I look at a tree only to discover that the talents I'd be interested in are buried behind talents I'd never use–or ones that I'd be tempted to use even though doing so would step on other players' toes–not to think that a more open system would be more fun.
  3. Thanks. To be honest, I don't know if I want to restrict the GM's options to that degree. Running out of ammo might be frustrating, and it's not exactly exciting, but it's a good default choice when nothing else comes to mind.
  4. I'm playing a character who uses a single blaster, and it's early enough in the campaign that the GM will let me change character creation decisions. Assuming the cost and long order fulfillment time of the H-7 "Equalizer" blaster pistol from Suns of Fortune aren't issues, is there a mechanical or narrative reason to go with the PB08 heavy blaster pistol? If so, I'll plan on picking up the book before some of the others on my wish list.
  5. No. I too thought that high honor made the technique worse, but it makes it better. Remember, you heal fatigue until your total fatigue is equal to your endurance minus your honor rank. Your endurance is your "maximum hit points," so if you have an honor rank of zero, you wouldn't heal anything. With an honor rank of five, you'd be able to take six fatigue before becoming incapacitated again. With an honor rank of 10, you'd be able to take 11 fatigue before becoming incapacitated again. The wording is awkward. The benefit of honor would be easier to understand if the technique said something like "heal fatigue equal to your honor rank," but then it would be less effective when your fatigue exceeds your endurance by a considerable margin, especially for characters with average honor.
  6. So far, we've had three proposals in the thread that eliminate the need to plan characters and allow organic development: Retaining advancement tables but allowing skills and technique categories from previous ranks to count toward advancement; Replacing advancement tables with a list of skills and techniques or technique categories that count toward advancement; and Replacing advancement tables with a list of prerequisites for each rank and allowing any experience expenditure to count toward advancement as long as those prerequisites are met. I'd be fine with any of these approaches as long as the advancement tables, skill lists, or prerequisites are broad enough for players to build diverse characters within each school. As a player, I'd probably enjoy the prerequisite approach the most. It's simple, and it'd give me the freedom to build almost any character as long as I invest in the prerequisites. However, it might have the side effect of making schools too similar and barring unusual character concepts, such as as a Kakita Duelist who is more archer than swordsman or who is notable as much for his political savvy as his skill with a blade. It's hard for me to put too much weight into the concern that allowing all experience expenditures to count toward advancement will prohibit certain concepts. I'm used to abstracting mechanics enough that I'd be comfortable playing a character with a mechanical school rank that is higher than the one their fluff dictates. Since a low school rank blocks access to the most powerful techniques, I'd prefer all characters gain rank at a similar rate. That will help ensure every player can shine in their character's area of expertise. But I can understand why other players would prefer school rank fit with their character's fluff. Furthermore, almost freeform character advancement would leave little to distinguish the schools other than their techniques, which might have the side effect of marginalizing the ones with weaker techniques. It'd also give new players fewer indications of how a typical member of each school behaves. Personally, advancement that is too freeform might also make it harder for me to explore new areas of the mechanics with different characters. Even with characters who won't advance from learning Earth or Fire invocations at the ranks I expect to play, I have a hard time resisting the temptation to focus on them, for they seem far more universally applicable and effective than the ones for Air or Water. If I had to drop near-freeform advancement in favor of lists or retaining advancement tables but allowing entries from any previous rank to count toward advancement in the current rank, I'd go with the latter. Although this approach is more complicated, it has the advantage of allowing higher-rank characters to be recognized for skills their less experienced peers have not had the need to develop. I can't imagine any designer putting Culture and Courtesy on a static skill list for the Kuni Purifiers, but I like the idea that even the unrefined Crab encourage or at least acknowledge their veteran members' efforts to understand other clans' cultures and the finer points of etiquette. After all, it is easier to hunt those who have succumbed to the taint if you're capable of moving within every sphere where they might hide. Similarly, I like the idea that even the generally pacifistic Isawa allow their most experienced shugenja to study tactics and the martial arts. By the time the school will acknowledge such pursuits, the students should have the wisdom to know when violence is the only answer, as well as enough power that their clan will want them on the battlefield if war breaks out. To me, gradually expanding the list of skills that count toward advancement is a middle ground between freeform advancement with prerequisites and a static skill list. Done well, an advancement table will encourage players to focus on the areas their school emphasizes, especially early on. However, as their characters gain prestige within the school, they'll be able to diversify. For players who have trouble spending experience if it doesn't count toward advancement, this is important to allowing a wide variety of character concepts.
  7. I can see two benefits to extracurricular skills contributing nothing to rank advancement: It's realistic. It encourages players to create characters that fit the setting and their likely role in the party. Is that why you like extracurriculars being ignored when determining school rank? If not, what am I missing?
  8. I'm glad the idea makes sense. This fits conceptually and would work mechanically as long as the list of tax-free skills and techniques for each school is broad enough to allow a range of character concepts. However, it has the downside of making characters who go against type less powerful or versatile than others with equivalent experience. It might be better to keep the experience costs for learning unusual skills the same but only count half the cost toward school advancement. That would still reduce atypical characters' power, but only by slowing their rank advancement, which I'm hoping is less significant than reducing their total skill and technique count.
  9. While characters with 46 experience, I've noticed that the character advancement tables encourage players to plan their characters' advancement paths rather than spending experience on the areas they find most entertaining. For example, a Kuni Purifier that wants to be good using melee or ranged weapons needs to raise those skills at Rank 1 or Rank 4 if he wants the experience to count toward advancing in rank. Furthermore, any Earth Invocations he gets past Rank 1 won't count toward advancement until Rank 4. This is true even if that invocation is Bind the Shadow, one I suspect almost all Kuni Purifiers would encourage their peers to learn,, or Courage of the Seven Thunders, a thematically appropriate invocation for a school that specializes in fighting creatures so horrible they're rarely discussed by other clans. Although I'm only creating characters for fun, I find it frustrating that I need to constantly ask myself if I'm raising skills at the right time. As a player, I'm sure I would be even more frustrated realizing that my Rank 2 Kuni Purifier who has just spent an entire session studying people in court for signs of the Taint should wait until Rank 3 to raise Sentiment, because he wants to be good at Performance and Government, skills that won't count toward advancement again until Rank 5. In addition to forcing character advancement to be out of sync with the story, the need to plan characters in advance makes experience itself less rewarding. With a more open advancement system, I would say to myself, "I want my Kuni Purifier to be great at dealing with Shadowlands creatures but still useful in other situations, so I'm going to raise my Earth and pick up Earth Becomes Sky." Instead, I'm finding myself thinking, "Wait. I can't raise my Earth yet because I want the the skills and techniques available at this rank to count toward advancement. I'll have to wait to be great at using Jade Strike, Armor of Earth, and Bind the Shadow, even though they're techniques that are central to my school's theme." In some cases, I also find myself thinking, "I want to raise a skill from Rank 1 to Rank 2, but I only have 2 experience left to advance to the next rank, and that would cost 4. I'd better learn a new skill that still counts so none of my experience goes to waste." The easiest way to eliminate the need to plan characters would be to allow any experience expenditure to count toward advancement. However, that would make the only distinction between schools their school techniques and which technique categories they have access to. I may not like the advancement table, but I'm glad they encourage the Kakita Duelist to master art as well as swordsmanship, the Shiba Guardian to explore the finer points of philosophy, and the Hida Defender to gain the nature skills necessary to survive in the Shadowlands. More school techniques would help schools stand out, but since that is the approach previous editions took, I'll assume it was discarded for a reason, such as keeping certain schools from pulling too far ahead of others. We could get rid of advancement tables and assign each school a list of skills and techniques that count toward experience. For example, the Kakita Duelist might have all Martial Skills, Courtesy, Culture, Aesthetics, Design, Smithing and all Kata count toward advancement, as well as gaining access to Crescent Moon Style, All Arts are One, and A Samurai's Fate a rank early. This approach would allow schools to stand apart, but it would also make it harder to create characters who break from the norm, such as the Kakita Duelist who has mastered survival and theology while serving as a shugenja's bodyguard and champion. With that in mind, I'd like to suggest a change to advancement tables: Let experience in any skill count toward character advancement as long as it appears in the current rank or a prior rank. Under this system, the first rank or two would represent the skills and techniques the school considers fundamental or has a knack for, with higher ranks allowing members to be recognized whether they become experts in those fundamentals or broaden their capabilities. For example, the Kuni Purifier table might look something like this: Like the current advancement tables, the expanding table approach would keep the schools distinct while allowing players to create unusual characters by rewarding atypical experience expenditures at higher ranks. However, it would also eliminate the need for players to plan their characters in advance to ensure they are picking up skills and rings at the perfect time. In addition, it would allow fun and mechanically sound characters, such as a Kuni Purifier that focuses almost entirely on Earth Invocations rather than dabbling in Water and Fire because those are the only invocations that count at Ranks 2 and 3. The expanding table approach has the potential to be less realistic than the current advancement tables. The example table would allow a Kuni Purifier to advance by becoming a master of the martial arts rather than communing with the kami. I doubt this will be a major concern. Most people who want to play a certain type of character will choose a school (and school technique) that is appropriate for that character. If they don't, they'll still have an incentive to diversify unless the campaign is laser-focused on one area, for the higher, more expensive skill ranks have a less significant impact on players' chance of success than their predecessors. The expanding table approach also retains some of the disadvantages of the current system, such as forcing people who go against their school's stereotype to wait a long time before their experience expenditures count toward advancement. However, I suspect it will still be more enjoyable than the current system.
  10. The opportunity section for Jade Strike (page 123) is labeled "Opportunities" instead of "New Opportunities." In the activation section for Path to Inner Peace (page 130), delete the "to" in "to targeting yourself." The opportunity sections for the rituals Divination and Threshold Barrier, both of which are on page 133, have no "New Opportunities" bar.
  11. Honest Assessment (page 135) costs 2 experience. Because it provides a special action rather than merely expanding possibilities for opportunities, it should cost 3.
  12. Thanks for taking the time to clarify. I like the simplicity and predictability of time-based rewards, especially early on, when the game will move slowly because both the players and GM need to look up rules. I've played in groups with vast gulfs between player skill levels, so I generally prefer experience systems that keep players' experience counts even rather than rewarding exceptional performance. However, I can see the merit in giving awards based on progress and recognizing individual players for contributing to the game. I might not choose your approach, but I'd be okay with it. I'm less thrilled with the idea of restricting skill and technique purchases. Especially early on in a game, I often have a character concept I'm working toward to fit the character's backstory. For example, in the 4th edition game I mentioned, I played a graduate of the Tonbo Shugenja school, which is renowned for its political skill and knack for entertaining grumpy guests. I should have started with several ranks in Etiquette, Heraldry and Games, but to be a capable healer, I needed to spend experience raising my water ring. Fortunately, the GM let me invest in the social skills after our first few sessions even though they came up infrequently. More generally, I'd be frustrated at the need to occasionally bank experience until I've had an excuse to spend it on the skills I want to advance. In theory, that will rarely happen, for a good GM will create opportunities for the players to take their characters in the direction they want to go. But sometimes that is hard to do, and I'd rather keep the GM's job as simple as possible. Having said that, restricting experience spending based on skill use and downtime activities would solve the problem Doji Meshou mentions of players suddenly acquiring skills they expect to need next session. It might also discourage players from creating characters with such diverse interests they break immersion or lack the focus to perform well in their primary role, a problem we had in 4th edition. I'm not sure how many restrictions I'd impose as a GM, but I can see the logic and benefits.
  13. If that's the approach the GM chooses to take, I can live with it as long as the triggers for experience fit the setting. I don't like the Dungeons & Dragons approach of rewarding combat but not other forms of progress or storytelling. Some of my most memorable moments in our Legend of the Five Rings 4th edition campaign involved personal drama, love interests and subtle tricks rather than battles, discoveries and political maneuvers. Having said that, I prefer time-based awards. Once skills and rings get high enough that it's no longer possible to raise them easily, I like to plan ahead. Knowing how much experience I'll get for each session makes that much easier and keeps me from thinking, "Why does this cost so much? It's been three sessions since I've been able to improve my character." I also tend to favor generous rewards. Although I've played pen-and-paper RPGs for at least nine years, because of life circumstances and GM burnout, I've only had two campaigns come to a conclusion and three or four others last more than three sessions. It's rare that I've gotten to see a character grow from a novice to a master, and that sense of progress is one of roleplaying's biggest draws for me. I'd love for it to happen more often. Having said that, I can see how rapid experience gains could be frustrating for groups that are able to play consistently or for long periods. While I'd prefer the default fit my situation, which I suspect is common, I hope the final product includes guidelines for more measured advancement.
  14. As someone who only gets to play once or twice a month for three hours, I like the idea of getting two experience an hour, because it means I'll be able to significantly improve or diversify my character after every session. I'd have no objection to other experience rates, but I hope two experience an hour remains standard.
  15. In the entry for the Adversity Sworn Enemy (page 73), "Type," "Description" and "Effects" should be bolded.
  16. In the description for "Earth Needs No Eyes" (page 112), delete the "to" in "Letting the ki of the life around them to flow into their body." In the description for "Earthen Fist," consider inserting "out" after "draws" in "the monk draws clumps of hardened earth that coat their skin, forming a rocky gauntlet."
  17. In the entry for Flame Fist (page 114), "Activation" should be bolded. The description for Bind the Shadows (page 121) says a target that fails its check is Immobilized and Stunned. Stunned isn't defined anywhere. Is Bind the Shadow meant to incapacitate the target? In the entry for Lord Bayushi's Whispers (page 140), "Effects" should be bolded.
  18. This sometime-shinobi won't comment on honor or glory. Instead, he'll point out typos to maintain his cover: In the first paragraph of "Example Ways of Unmasking," "now best" should be "how best." Under First Aid on page 4, "target heals" should be "the target heals." In the first paragraph under "Treatment," delete the "character" before "convalescing character." In the description for Iaijutsu Cut: Horizontal Blade, "reac" should be "reach." In the new opportunity for "Striking as Air" on page 4, change the "and" in "plus and additional 1 per..." to "an." In the new entry for "Cumbersome," replace the "check" in "and other check to maneuver" with "checks." In the first paragraph under "terms of the Duel," replace the "an" in "break the terms of an duel" with "a." In the parenthetical for Warrior's Duel, "to defeat or the death" should be "to defeat or death," and "there is rougher sort of battle" should be "a rougher sort of battle." Under Skirimishes, in the correction for page 164, the "maneuver" in "a character may move an additional range band as an action via the maneuver action" might need to be capitalized to keep the style consistent; "Attack action" is elsewhere in the Errata document, and "Strike action" is in the beta book. In the first paragraph under "Fatigue," "even though instance that caused fatigue was relatively minor on its own..." should be "even though each instance..." Under "Readied Weapons in Mass Battles," the "count" in "to be count as readied..." should be "counted."
  19. The document has at least two less amusing typos: In the description of "The Families of the Fleet. the "arguable" in "arguable more comfortable" should "arguably." In the sidebar's third bullet, insert "know" after "you" in "You at least some foreign words..."
  20. In Fury of Osano-Wo (page 125), there is extra text in "With a sudden, harsh incantation and a downward gesture or gaze, a shugenja trained in the invocation call the Fury of Osano-wo can conjure a bolt of lightning to strike foes with a powerful blast." Consider "With a sudden, harsh incantation and a downward gesture or gaze, a shugenja trained in this invocation summons Osano-wo's fury, conjuring a bolt of lightning to strike their foe with a powerful blast." Also, the second New Opportunity says "Each target and other character at Range 0-2 of the target..." The technique only targets one enemy and has no opportunities that let it affect others, so that should be "The target and any character within Range 0-2 of the target..." In the flavor text for Katana of Fire (page 126), insert "into" before "existence" in "burst of fire swirls existence in their grip in the shape of a sword." Also, in the New Opportunities: The first two opportunities run together. Please move the second to a new line. Because it's possible to create any type of weapon with the invocation by using the first opportunity, the second opportunity ("You may immediately perform a Strike action with the Katana you made") should say "weapon" instead of "katana" unless allowing a strike with any weapon would be unbalanced. I'm assuming it's fine, as Bo of Water allows a strike regardless of the form the weapon takes. In Feigned Opening (page 134), "next attack checks against each target" should be "next attack check." "Next" can't be a multiple, and "each target" makes it clear it applies to every target, not just one. In the technique Slippery Maneuvers (page 138): "Description" should be bolded, The "as" in "If you succeed and the conflict as a skirmish" should be "is." The second "you" in "If you succeed and the conflict is a mass battle, you and you cohort" should be "your." In the technique Tributaries of Trade (page 139): Delete the first "your" in "If you succeed, you produce an item with rarity less than or equal to your 1 plus your bonus successes." To my understanding, items only have one cost, their value in koku. If that's true, consider changing the "costs" in "you must still pay the costs of the item" to "cost."
  21. How is the process of character creation working overall? On the bright side, answering 20 questions, needing to pick advantages and disadvantages, and rolling on a table at the end has occasionally pushed characters’ backstories in directions I otherwise would never have considered. I hope I someday get to play the Meishōdō Master whose ancestor haunts him, insisting he venture into the Shadowlands to retrieve an ancient talisman, or the cynical, weather-beaten Shinjo Outrider whose lord despises him too much to attend to his expenses in a timely manner. However, answering the questions takes a long time. My first character took four hours, even though I’d had the concept in mind for months. Although I’ve created eight other characters and memorized most of the starting techniques, it still takes at least an hour to go through the twenty questions. I try to speed it up by focusing on the mechanics rather than the fluff, but there are so many questions I often forget small details, such as status, glory and honor. Mechanics Still Come First The questions also fail to shift my focus away from mechanics. Because most of the character creation options can be measured in experience, there are correct choices. For example, if I have to choose between increasing a ring from 1 to 2 or increasing a ring from 2 to 3, I’m going to choose the latter, even if increasing another ring makes more sense for the backstory I have in mind or the way I want to play the character. To do otherwise would cost me three experience. To give another example, in response to the question on mentors, I pictured one of my characters, a battle-obsessed Isawa Elementalist, gaining combat training from a visiting Lion. Thematically, I should have raised my melee from 1 to 2, but instead, I raised Courtesy from 1 to 2 because that can be increased from 2 to 3 in the ancestry table, providing a net gain of two experience. The experience gain associated with each choice can make some options seem unappealing. For example, I have trouble building characters who start with only one ring at three and three twos because that character has three less experience than one who starts with two threes, two twos, and two ones. Unfortunately, I can’t think of any solution to the problem other than making all skill and ring increases cost the same amount until the player wants to increase one from 3 to 4 or 4 to 5. That’s complicated. Other Thoughts I’ll echo the comment I read elsewhere that after character creation, I’ve written enough about the character that I no longer want to write a traditional backstory. That’s a shame! I suspect most GMs would enjoy a well-written backstory more than a series of answers to questions. I know I enjoy writing more. I found the Kuni Purifier’s starting invocations disappointing. Jade Strike makes sense, but outside of campaigns that take place near the Shadowlands or involve hunting mahō-tsukai, it’ll rarely come up. Armor of Earth might be thematically appropriate, but it’s passive. I would have liked the option to choose Grasp of Earth, a more universally applicable invocation. It’s true that Kuni purifiers get to choose between Striking as Fire and Striking as Earth. They’re also the only Shugenja in the beta with access to Kata, so it’s clear they’re meant to wade into battle. But if I wanted to play someone who relied on martial skill in combat, I’d play a Bushi or Courtier. If I’m playing a Shugenja, I want to unleash the kami’s power. In general, I’d suggest making sure every school has choices at character creation in its primary technique category. Alternately, provide a way other than stealing techniques through the ancestry table for every character to start with any technique they qualify for. That would let players explore odd concepts even in games that start without experience (though why anyone would do that is beyond me). For example, the aforementioned war-obsessed Phoenix Shugenja could have started with a damaging invocation other than Grasp of Earth. Minor Suggestions If someone gets the same roll twice on the ancestry table, let them reroll one until the results differ. Inserting “If both dice come up the same, reroll one until they differ” after “First, roll a ten-sided die twice” under Question 18 would do the trick. Consider moving the Glory each member of a family starts with next to the rings and skills that family provides. Thematically, it makes sense to put Glory after the paragraph describing the family, because that paragraph justifies the Glory. However, since all of the other benefits of being part of a family are at the top, I often forget families set a character’s starting glory until something else modifies it. If you or members of your group have been getting stuck, where has this been happening? My group rarely gets to meet, so I can’t comment on their experience. Personally, I’m struggling with Ninjo and Giri. That’s partly because I’m creating characters for the Ronin’s Path, and all I know about the storyline is that it takes place near the Shadowlands and casts the characters as junior members of the Emerald Magistrate. I can’t think of a duty I know would apply other than “Gain influence in the Emerald Magistrate.” That’s something every player is trying to do, so it’s boring. In other posts, I’ve seen people suggest changing Giri from the character’s job to the obligation the character finds most burdensome, such as the need to fake enjoyment at festivals, earn income to take care of family, or kill people who are only trying to help their families. That is far more interesting. If that’s your intent, make it clearer. Ninjo also presented a problem for me. Because it has to oppose Giri, I often end up with personal desires that revolve around the character shirking their duty to blow off steam rather than creating dramatic tension. For example, one of my characters wants to become a master smith. That’ll be interesting and easy to roleplay, but I don’t know if “I’m going to ignore my obligations to the Emerald Magistrate to spend the day refining my blacksmithing skills” is the sort of conflict you were going for. Something like “My love is in danger. I must ignore my lord’s orders to protect her” seems more appropriate, but love isn’t (or shouldn’t be) in direct opposition to every Giri. Disadvantages in a Dangerous World I’m also struggling to choose disadvantages that reflect something about the character, such as failure of bushido or painfully honest, rather than external circumstances, such as haunted. I generally find personal quirks more interesting in roleplaying games, but it’s my understanding that Rokugan is a setting where the wrong word or an ill-timed smirk can lead to death. With that in mind, it’s hard for me to imagine characters that deviate too far from social ideals surviving long. In other cases, I find the advantages and disadvantages too narrow. For example, the first character I created had a missing arm. Thematically, I wanted to play a Crab Shugenja who got injured in a fight with an Oni and was sent to court to act as a constant reminder of the Crab’s sacrifices. Because I am often uncomfortable around people with obvious injuries in real life, I expected the disadvantage to apply penalties to social rolls. Instead, it only affected situations where having two arms would be beneficial. If those situations didn’t come up often, or only came up in situations that didn’t justify rolls, such as getting dressed, I wouldn’t have a reliable way to generate void points. Of course, I could get around that by suggesting the disadvantage apply in social situations and other circumstances where I thought it should. Even knowing that, I still felt cheated. It seems odd to me that a life-altering disadvantage has the same reward as a relatively minor or concealable one, such as Failure of Bushido or a poor sense of smell. How are school abilities performing at the table? Since my group has yet to play, I can only theorize. Two points stood out to me. First, outside of theme, the Meishōdō Master ability seems much better than the Isawa Elementalist’s one-per-scene TN reduction. Each talisman only applies to one invocation, but that’s fine. Because invocations depend on rings, I suspect most characters will end up using the same invocations over and over, especially early on, when they only have a few invocations. The Meishōdō Master’s ability also scales with rank, which should make advancing more satisfying. The school also has a much stronger capstone. While I haven’t played enough to know how to value supernatural resistance, the ability to perform several actions in one turn seems much stronger. For what it’s worth, I’d enjoy both schools’ base ability more if they gave an Opportunity or a success. I’m not sure if that would be balanced, but it would keep the abilities useful when the character becomes skilled enough to hit TNs reliably. Shiba Guardians and Backlash The Shiba Guardian’s school ability seems underwhelming. To my understanding, it’s meant to keep Shugenja from triggering backlash. That’s thematic and appropriate, but most of the backlashes seem minor. If succeeding on an Earth invocation will help my allies survive an encounter, I’ll gladly give up that invocation for the rest of the scene. I’m sure I’ll have others that apply. For a similar reason, the Water backlash seems trivial. In fact, if I know my opponent loves Water invocations, I might trigger it deliberately to deny them access to their primary element. Air has a more dramatic backlash, but most Air invocations seem to be geared toward utility rather than damage, which could make retargeting harmless. In some cases, it may even be beneficial. I’ll gladly take three strife so Cloak of Night affects two allies rather than one. Fire’s effect is the most dangerous. While I can see it being beneficial if only enemies are in range, a Fire backlash will often mean harming allies. That’s unacceptable to me from an out-of-character perspective, so I’d appreciate the Shiba Guardian’s ability in that situation. But that situation will only come up if the party includes a Fire-focused Shugenja who rolls poorly enough to trigger a backlash. Outside of their advancement tables, school abilities are what separate the schools. They need to be strong and memorable. Other School Abilities I like Kitsuki’s Method, but it might be worth capping the free skill ranks at 5. As written, the abillity punishes a character for getting high ranks in a skill by rendering them pointless once that character reaches Rank 6. Are there any questions you have found yourself struggling to answer? I’ve already discussed that, so let me provide other comments. First, please clarify whether players can record experience on their advancement sheets in categories beyond their current rank. If they can’t, please make it possible. I don’t want to feel like I need to wait until Rank 4 or Rank 5 before investing in social skills, especially in a setting where they’re often critical. Second, I’d like to see more invocations that augment others rather than creating weapons or doing damage. This may be my Pathfinder background talking, but when I play a spellcaster, I often worry I’ll overshadow my mundane peers. While eliminating spell slots allows more thematic and fun characters, it exacerbates that concern. I’d feel more comfortable playing a Shugenja if I had more ways to improve others’ rolls or give them an extra actions, such as the 4th Edition invocations Stand Against the Waves and Reversal of Fortunes. The invocation list has some Support spells, but they often require water or a high rank. In the final product, please include some that are available from the start and broadly applicable. Finally, Opportunities seem more useful than successes given the system’s low base TNs. I’d love to see more school abilities provide them.
  22. As far as I can tell, no. Here is the description of factions from the FAQ: I suppose "out-of-faction" is more concise than "does not match its controller's affiliation card." Regarding the original topic, I want the original factions to continue growing, so I'd prefer to avoid adding two completely new affiliations. I'd be okay with new affiliations that have unusual abilities or open up certain cards while locking out others so long as they draw primarily from the existing card pool.
  23. There will be a Star Wars tournament from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 9 at the Hotel at Old Town in Wichita, Ks. The tournament will be part of TsunamiCon, a local convention dedicated to pen-and-paper roleplaying games, card and board games, and miniatures. For more information about the tournament, see the Facebook event page. I hope a few of you will be able to join us. The convention should be a lot of fun for anyone who likes RPGs and wants to learn a few board and card games. While none of the other LCGs will have tournaments, you might be able to find games of Netrunner, Age of Thrones, or Warhammer 40K: Conquest by talking to the folks in Cardboard Carnage T-shirts. There will also be tournaments for X-Wing Miniatures, Magic, and Ticket to Ride.
  24. The developers have confirmed that two Hoth Gambits stack. For the source, see AntaresCD's June 4th post in the official rules clarification thread on CardGameDB, which reads in part:
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