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Posts posted by Himoto



    I am pretty sure that good vs evil is a pretty pan-global hallmark or starting point of all religious beliefs.


    It isn't really, no. In fact, in a surprising numbers of spiritual and religious system, the good vs evil opposition (and specifically, the Heaven vs Hell opposition of the Virtuous spirits and the corrupted spirits) doesn't exist. 


    All religious beliefs have a notion of "The Right path", but that path doesn't necessarily reflect an opposition between forces of evil and forces of good ; a choice between ending up in Heaven or in Hell.


    Certainly the lord of the underworld, even when the underworld IS a place of doomed spirit, is NOT presented as evil in a lot of religions. The Egyptians gods related to death and the underworld are pointedly not evil. Neither is Hades (despite multiple attempt by Hollywood and Disney to recast him as Satan), Even Hel doesn't even make anywhere near the top ten biggest enemies of the Aesir (and she's the only one of Loki's children to sit out Ragnarok)

  2. Honestly there are always going to be school that fits somewhat outside the trinity. And they're part of the setting. I think I would try to include some of these outsiders in the core book - Ninja for the Scorpion, Ise Zumi for the Togashi are the two biggest reasons why. Can't have these clans without their respective schools. 

  3. That's more or less the heart of the problem. L5R design has always had a bit of a waltz thing going on going Medium -> Fast -> Slow. The problem being that each generation of the game got its own fans, who liked L5R as they first discovered it, and grew frustrated when the game picked up speed (if they got in during a slow phase), or lost it (if they got in during a fast phase). 


    Personally I'm more in the medium-to-fast school. Had the most fun with Imperial, Diamond and Celestial ; Jade, Lotus and Emperor were a little faster than I liked ; and hated with a passion Gold, Samurai and Ivory. 

  4. Ultimately, I think sticking to the basic Bushi/Courtier/Shugenja trinity make the most sense. Scouts may have particular training among Bushi, but they're still a bushi sub-type whose role is all about warfare and combat, just in sneakier ways than your average bushi. Magistrates is a social rank that sometime come with additional training and the rare specialized school, and is open to bushis, courtiers and shugenjas alike, and should not be represented as a different class altogether in the game. 


    Most of those that don't fit in the trinity tend to be restricted to a clan or two - Monks and Ninjas both fall outside the trinity, but then again, both tend to be absent outside two or three clans (Phoenix and Dragon have monks schools, the other clans not so much ; Scorpion and Spider have ninja, the other clans not so much). 

  5. I tend to agree, though on the other hand, if the story dictates a fundamental change in a clan, that should probably be reflected in the game (but such changes should be made in collaboration with design, with mechanical balance foremost among considerations). 


    But in general, story tournament influence should *NOT* fundamentally change a clan. 

  6. With all due respect, I don't think the Enlightened Keyword was much of a part of a problem - its mechanical impact was exceedingly limited, and at the time the Crane had a plethora of Enlightened cards, they *weren't* actually dominating the tourney scene. The Lotus tourney scene was dominated by Dragon-Ratlings-Unicorn, with the Mantis coming in later (after Test of Enlightenment). 


    It COULD have been part of the problem, but in the event, it was overshadowed by the toys given to other factions,so...




    Yeah, but Maho is also different in that you sacrifice your body and soul to cast it. 


    Why is that different in context of this discussion?



    Because a fundamental element of balance is the COST you put to the power you give characters. If using magic turn you into a monster and means you lose your character before too long of using super-magic in massive amounts, then the characters who work magic that way are by their very nature far more limited (and balanced) than those who just sling magic around. 


    I was answering a question about whether there were spells that could raise undead by max killjoy though :D


    Not making a like for like comparison of Shugs and Maho Tsukai. You don't need to be a shug to be a bloodspeaker. Maho spells are still spells though :)



    A question he asked in the context of discussing limitations (eg, balance) of shugenja powers, therefore, the limitations inherent in raising undead are relevant :-p


    Yeah, but Maho is also different in that you sacrifice your body and soul to cast it. 


    Why is that different in context of this discussion?



    Because a fundamental element of balance is the COST you put to the power you give characters. If using magic turn you into a monster and means you lose your character before too long of using super-magic in massive amounts, then the characters who work magic that way are by their very nature far more limited (and balanced) than those who just sling magic around. 

  9. It probably wouldn't be a bad thing to make those things more relevant to characters in general, yes. EVERYONE live in the world of the kami, and while only shugenja can directly communicate with them, it is possible for any mortals to please or anger them, and one could go with the idea that there are a variety of rituals that may be performed to appease or even draw their favor that don't actually involve getting a shugenja to meddle, otherwise shugenja would never have time for anything else. 


    Though aren't those skills already in the game? They're just skills that tend not to come up much...




    That said, ultimately, RPGs live and die on what happens on the battlefield, or, possibly, in the case of L5R, the court (and even then, less so). Got to figure out how to make shugs useful on the battlefield without eclipsing samurai, and in the courts without eclipsing courtiers. It's doable, but it will require work. 

  10. There are multiple possibilities:


    1. The Bard option. Shugenja are better than courtiers in battle but not as good as bushi, and better than bushi in courts but not as good as courtiers. They trade sheer power for flexibility.


    2. OR you make the shugenja EQUALLY good at combat as bushi OR (they have to chose one build or the other) EQUALLY good at court as the courtiers. And you can even subdivide the types of shugenja, with some specializing in long-range combat (and as good at it as the Tsuruchi) and some specializing in close combat (and as good at it as the Hida) and some specializing at stealthy combat (etc), and some at courtly manipulation. 


    The idea is that if the shugenja go for versatility, then that versatility should be a "Jack of all trade, master of none situation". If instead they specialize in certain fields, then a shugenja specialized in a given field should be AS GOOD AS a non-shugenja specialized in the same field, although with different strenghts and weakness. 


    The notion that shugenja have to be either more powerful or unplayable is a fantasy. 

  11. The problem is, the setting DOESN'T portray shugenja in the way Star Wars does Jedi.


    Yes, Shugenja are capable of superhuman feat, but the setting doesn't pretend they routinely overpower bushi. The setting present a handful of shugenja (the most powerful ones) capable of wondrous world-altering feats, at a great cost


    Sachi raised an island - and died. Taeruko petrified the Kusatte Iru - and died. Kaigen summoned a tidal wave that crushed the Dark Wave fleet - and died. Sezaru carried out many wondrous feats - and lost his mind. Tsuke's corruption granted him the power to become a living tactical nuke, and turned his power against his former clan. Other feats instead required lots and lots of time, or lots and lots of shugenja working together, or both. 


    There's a trend here. With great power comes great cost. So long as you keep that in mind, Shugenja can be portrayed (in their everyday, non-self-destructive powers) at a level that doesn't make them overpowering to anyone around them. 

  12. You know, it hasn't magically become a better idea on account of posting it in a different thread. 


    Rokugan is one setting. It'S not multiple settings that call for multiple almost distinct games, and one core book should be enough to cover the core elements of that setting. 


    FFG might still do it if they did it with Star Wars, but it's a bad idea. You wouldn't solve Dungeons and Dragons's wizarding problems by having the Fighter Core book and the Wizard Core Book. L5R doesn't need them either. 

  13. That seems to be largely an exaggeration of the setting, mostly reflecting a small handful of fire shugenja (Sezaru and Darth Tsuke being the chief culprits), who were either varyingly insane, or corrupt, or both.


    Which might be a hint that while shugenja CAN go tactical nukes, it's not the healthy path for them to take, and should come with very severe consequences. 

  14. Apologies. Mistook your line of argument for someone else's, it seems.


    You'll note my FIRST suggestion was that we should up how lethal samurai attacks are.


    Of course, there too you run into game balance - there's a point where the game just gets too lethal for player characters. So you have to find the right balance of lethal attacks, and adjust EVERYONE'S power level so they're at that level. Which is the core point. 


    That said, while we should absolutely up the power of the other groups, this should be done with respect to the other groups's nature. Samurai should NOT be able to punch the earth with a dai-tsuchi to create an earthquake, or to slice an entire ship in two with their katana in a single strike, or to turn their swords into lightsabers, or to shoot arrows around corners, or anything of the sort. That has no place in L5R. Courtiers should not have mind control or anything of the sort (but they absolutely need a more effective social warfare array, including the ability to use social warfare *during* actual battles). 


    Slightly more wuxia/anime flavor is fine, but ultimately, this is NOT Dragonball: the RPG (not saying that's what you want, highlighting places where the game shouldn't go. (Nor is it Kurosawa: the RPG, no matter how much THAT lot want it to be). Rurouni Kenshin: the RPG might (barely) pass muster, and even that is probably a little bit more fantastic than L5R's samurai really ought to be . 

  15. I'm not saying that we need to change it because of realism. I'm saying we need to change it because of game balance,


    The question of realism is not "This is how real fire is, and that's how it should be in the game too." The question is "This is how damaging fire should be to be balanced with other options in the game. Does this result in the fire being too weak from a realism stand point?"


    But ultimately, the point is, if a samurai school exist to fill a particular role in the game, and a shugenja build can also fill that role, they should be about equally good (or at least in the same ball park) at filling that role. The corollary is, as this IS in fact a game about samurai (samurai in a supernatural setting, but samurai nonetheless) most roles in the game should have samurai archetypes that can fill them. 


    Reducing samurai to "people who protect the shugenja while they do all the actual work" is not a sane design approach given the nature of the game. Samurai fantasy is, fundamentally, still about Samurai. 

  16. And one book should focus on the economics of trying to make people who just want to experience the full rokugan buy three books so they have the full game. 


    Any solution is going to leave unhappy players, but this one is no better in that regard, and may well be worse. 


    My view: you need to figure out what roles the shugenja are to play in the party, and build spells and abilities to they fit into that role. Different schools of shugenja may favor different roles, sure, but they should be comparable to bushi archetyle (or, as the case may be, courtier archetype) playing similar roles.


    That doesn't mean you need supernatural abilities for samurai. That may means you need to beef up the lethality of samurai swords (which is not out of place in a Kurosawa style samurai epic. Single-hit and single-shot kills from a sword or bow are a cinematographic norm here), or bump down the lethality of certain shugenja spells. 


    Because, yes, the lethality potential of shug spells is probably often overvalued. A little fire or heat - say a few seconds being in a fire - is likely to result in minor to middling burns. Not pleasant, painful, and potentially dangerous, but low on the life-threatening injuries scale. It takes prolonged exposure and/or  (And more usually AND) extreme intensity to get to the really nasty second and third degree burns that have real lethality potential and that begin to compare with a katana slice across the belly (to say nothing of a beheading strike, which is above even those burns in sheer lethality).That ball of fire the shugenja form in his hand and hurl shouldn't do much more than minor wounds, but we as a western society are stuck on the awesome idea of OMG HURLING FIRE, and because it *looks* awesome we want it to have an awesome effect.


    (Explosions and the like  tend to be lethal not because of the flames, but because of the pressure/shock wave (if big enough) and shrapnel). 

  17. Mirumoto Hitomi, not so much. Probably because the way she was handled (got her XP version in the very first expansion, and, y'know, being a seven thunder), there's a case to be made having her start non-unique didn't really make sense. All the more so given the whole history of the rivalry with Yakamo who DID get a unique right off the bat. 


    Other cases are not so clear-cut. Would Mitsu, Tsukune and the rest managed to become such iconic figures without the extra-humble beginnings as rank and file personalities? Personally I do feel it would have taken something away from them if they hadn't started as the common everyday guys. (Granted, the awesome Rob Alexander art really helped Tsukune). 


    To say nothing of the ultimate rank and file personality, Toku. Who wouldn't be half the legend he became if he had started as a unique personality. The whole point of that guy was that he started as the lowliest of lowly personality cards, and rose to become one of the most iconic figure of the game's story. If he had had a "Unique" tag to mark him as important from the start, his impact would have been diminished by a lot. 


    (That said, THIS isn't a deal breaker to me. It may play a role in deciding on whether or not I follow the new L5R, but by itself it won't decide anything). 

  18. "Not using the cards to tell a story" would be pretty much the biggest imaginable deal-breaker for me. It was the one thing L5R did that got me to stick with it as long as I did, and it's the reason I'm constantly keeping an eye on Doomtown Reloaded despite lacking (so far) the playgroup to get into it. (DTR being, incidentally, clear-cut evidence that it's entirely possible to do a storytelling card game in the LCG format) The cards ooze (or, in the case of L5R, oozed with mechanical flavor that told stories, and told us about the characters and who they were, even if the abilities weren't necessarily that useful.


    Take away the storytelling with cardboard aspect, and L5R is left just the samurai fantasy niche card game. Which is fine and good for people who are really into samurai fantasy ; but I'm more at the mild interest level - there are niches I'm way more interested in, so if it comes to that, the new L5R just won't cut it for me. It's "the storytelling card game" I signed up for, not "The samurai fantasy card game".  


    Not to say FFG has to do it. Of course they don't. And it may well be the better path for them not to. I won't hate them if they do it or anything of the sort. I'm just not going to bother speculating about what they could do down that particular rabbit hole, because I won't follow them there. 

  19. To me, I think a not insignificant part of the question hinge on whether the notion of "Experienced" personalities version (or something similar) survives the transition. 


    The ability to show a figure going from average joe ; so average that he's literally not unique and you can have multiple of him running around ; to a special, noteworthy hero who get his power uniques was something I really loved. If experienced personalities remain, then I'd definitely want to still see non-unique with names, to create that link from the rank and file personality to the awesome unique. It was great thematic, visual shorthand for the way the story went.


    On the other hand, if you're losing experienced personalities anyway (which I hope is not the case, but if it happens, it happens), then that aspect is lost, and while I'd still prefer a focus on named personalities (whether they're unique only or unique and non-unique both), it'd be less important. 

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