Kinzen

Members
  • Content count

    628
  • Joined

  • Last visited

1 Follower

About Kinzen

  • Rank
    Member
  • Birthday

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
    http://www.swantower.com

Profile Information

  • Location
    California

Recent Profile Visitors

585 profile views
  1. "What is villainous?" one asked. "What is not villainous?" the other answered. -- Sayings of the Ise Zumi, paraphrased
  2. Though sometimes we have no more idea than you do where the story is going in the long term. :-D My thoughts on that are two-fold: 1) "Let's all have a care" is a good rule of thumb for online interactions overall: it's easy to forget, when you're just sitting at your keyboard, that there are people behind any story or product, and that those people generally did not set out with the intent of producing something bad. So slagging on it without empathy (whether "it" is an L5R fic or a card or a meal you ate at a restaurant or whatever) can indeed be hurtful. 2) Having said that . . . if the conversations here ever get under my skin, then there's an easy solution, which is for me to simply not read those threads. Readers shouldn't have to stifle their own discussions for fear the author might see them -- point 1 is about expressing one's feelings with courtesy, not papering over them entirely. I know a great many authors who never read reviews of their work because they know it'll only mess with their heads; I read mine, because I do glean useful things about what is and is not working in my writing, but I also have and use the option of just closing the tab if the review turns out to be nothing but unhelpful negativity.
  3. I'm glad you enjoyed them! As for being on the forums: I was a player of the RPG before I ever started writing for L5R, so it would honestly be weirder for me to stop posting here just because my involvement is now professional as well as fannish. :-)
  4. I don't mind. ;-)
  5. Glad to hear it!
  6. I can't say for sure how FFG will choose to spin this going forward, but I didn't mean for those lines in "The Rising Wave" to indicate that the birthrate problem is open knowledge to the point where the Dragon have said "hey, Unicorn, can we trade for kids?" They just happen to be in the market for a lot of marriage alliances -- so long as those marriages are into the Dragon -- and happen to prefer spouses with some prior experience . . . Me, I figure that the clans the Dragon talk to a lot (the Unicorn and the Phoenix) might know there's a mild problem, but not how bad it is. The rest of the Empire probably has no clue.
  7. And it strikes me that "sea levels are rising and storms are getting more destructive" should be setting off fire alarms everywhere -- but a whole lot of people, including quite a few in charge, go merrily on their way ignoring those problems . . .
  8. The reason I haven't done this is because all it will do is invite cherry-picking about the specifics and how if we'd just done XYZ then PC A wouldn't have had an Outburst or PC B could have used that Strife to augment their combat actions or whatever. My problems aren't with the specifics of any given situation; they're with the underlying principles. There is no "well, if you had just done this, that, and the other thing" that will change the fact that Strife gain is currently unpredictable, randomized, complex, potentially involved with every single roll the PCs take, and at best optionally and tenuously connected to what are theoretically the sources of grand drama in the setting. And as TheVeterantSergeant has pointed out, it's unavoidable. It is baked so thoroughly into the core of the mechanics that if you don't like it, you have only two options: 1) massively rewrite the system or 2) play something else. To be fair, my forum name and my name in the credits are different. But yes, I was in the alpha playtest. Which is why I don't have much (if any) hope for seeing the core framework for Strife change, alas.
  9. Yes. And I'd like if it people would stop assuming that I didn't give the system a chance before I formed an opinion on it.
  10. Yes. It's a large part of why my playtest team declined to go on after a few sessions: the rules fundamentally did not do what we wanted them to do (support the narrative organically), and in the meanwhile demanded we do a bunch of other things we didn't want to do (carefully manage our Strife through correct use of stances and OP and so forth). The latter wound up actively interfering with our immersion in the story. As I said: I adore the idea. All the people claiming the naysayers just don't like having the rules tell us how to act -- that isn't me. It's the way in which the rules try to tell me how to act that feels completely backward and mechanical. As a side dish, while the actual meat of the subsystem is the Strife generated by dice rolls. Again: that feels backward to me. If wounds operated like Strife currently does, then sometimes you would randomly take damage from a stealth roll (I guess you smacked your shin against something) or an artisan roll (jabbed yourself with a carving tool), etc. With a passing note saying that you can of course also take damage from being in a fight, if the GM thinks that makes sense.
  11. Yeah . . . but you don't live in Rokugan, where failure doesn't just reflect on you, it reflects on your lord and your sensei and your ancestors. And quitting because you know you can't hack the strain of the challenge? You might as well just surrender your daisho. The idea that choosing to fail or quit is the road to avoiding stress makes less and less sense to me, the more I think about it. (As a representation of the setting and the type of stories it's meant to model, that is.)
  12. This is exactly what I'm trying to get at. Right now the system encourages either constant swings of emotion (because you aren't managing your Strife well), or no actual effects other than to make you pour lots of time and energy into managing your Strife well. What it doesn't do is the slow and inexorable burn, the buildup over time that leads to a moment which will be truly dramatic, a turning point in the story. I would trade a hundred little "you laughed at an inappropriate moment" and "you shut down in this conversation rather than continue to engage" moments for a single one of the points in my campaign where a PC broke down crying in public, or picked up an enemy's severed head and threw it at their attackers, or whooped with joy and hugged someone when they discovered that person was alive. The latter are memorable; the former aren't. But that doesn't mean the former don't have a place. If the Strife system were changed to a slow burn, with accumulations coming less frequently and reductions being more difficult, then you could choose to burn off a tiny bit of Strife any time you wanted with a small display of inappropriate behavior. Those out-of-place laughs or refusals to engage become little vents, in the player's control. Don't want to take the little hits of Honor and Glory that will come with 'em? Then your character is a Proper Stoic Samurai . . . who either has to manage his life (not his rolls; his life) very carefully to keep himself in balance, or inevitably lose his cool in a spectacular and story-making fashion.
  13. Uh, no. Not really. I have absolutely had emotional breakdowns, either of a good or a bad sort, right in the middle of or immediately after big events. I have chewed my fingernails while waiting for the results of a test, burst into cheers when I got a question right in a competition, shouted profanity when something I was working on just wouldn't cooperate, and had full-body shakes after a car accident. Only ever in those situations, no -- but mostly in those situations? Yes. It is true that long-term problems like PTSD come afterward. Those are the kinds of things you represent with a Disadvantage, because they're lasting complications. But brief emotional reactions? Those are, more often than not, pretty closely paired with the events that provoke them. And they're not unpredictable, either: I knew I would be happy if we won that competition, pissed if my computer wouldn't cooperate, etc. It doesn't take me by surprise that my husband is in a bad mood after talking to his sister, who is a constant source of family conflict. But under these rules, it's either up to the dice whether he has any emotional turmoil he needs to work out afterward with some soothing baking or whatever.
  14. I don't mind what form the outburst takes. As I said: I dislike the fact that it is unpredictable and randomized, and requires constant bookkeeping and remembrance of multiple different rules. I dislike the disconnect from the grand story issues and the principles of the setting. What I'm trying to figure out is . . . are those aspects of it features for other people? Do you (all the yous who like the Strife mechanics, not just Darksyde-you) actively prefer "the constant struggle of vulcan like perfect with the reality of being a very emotional human" being randomized, so that sometimes the struggle is easy and sometimes it's hard and you never know which one it's going to be? Do you enjoy learning all the different rules you can use to manage and leverage your Strife? Is that in fact preferable to a system that intervenes less often, but under more significant circumstances? I am genuinely curious to know the answer to that. I am saying what I said in my original post. I would vastly prefer a Strife system that is less of a randomized mechanical metagame, intervening in some fashion on nearly every roll, and more intimately linked with the key issues of duty and desire, the conflicts of Bushido, and the things that in real life cause people emotional distress.
  15. Does that happen multiple times a day, though? And does it make for a satisfying story? For me, the answer is no. Especially when the other half is missing: okay, the system represents you losing your cool randomly, for no reason you can really point to. But what it doesn't represent is you losing your cool in moments of profound stress. Those are no more or less likely to upset you than vacuuming the house is. The latter is much more vital to the genre of samurai drama than the randomized bits are. That part's clear, and I think very few of us are disputing it. The question is whether the mechanics are an effective way of modeling the type of story and culture they're supposed to be representing. Right now, things going right causes stress, while failure does not. Failure is, in fact, a way of avoiding stress. To which I say: whaaaaaa????