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locust shell

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  1. Yesss, this is great! Is it yours, or do you know who we should thank if not?
  2. Oh gosh, that would be amazing! Name + title description if they have one ("castellan," "elder Crane" etc), a reference page, and maybe their conflict ranks? Since listing CRs would make it easy to look for NPCs by power level, at least approximately, but wouldn't actually obviate the need for the books (I'm sure FFG would prefer it that way 😆).
  3. Ah, yep, sorry if that didn't come through clearly--I meant NPCs with already existing stat blocks for the RPG! For example, randomly grabbing Courts of Stone and flipping through just now, on p. 46 I land on "Shika Katsuteru, Castellan" conflict rank 2/5, with a full adversary stat block (rings, social attributes, abilities, etc). He isn't in the book's TOC and it has no index. I'm not at all sure I'm going to remember in several months, when I'm looking for a castle steward to toss into a scenario, that there already is a set of stats I could use with minor tweaking instead of building something from scratch. Now multiply that by four books and a good lot of published adventures, all with a few NPCs per chapter... I guess I could assemble a list myself (though I don't have all the books), but it'd be a waste of time if someone else already has.
  4. Now that there are a respectable handful of sourcebooks/modules/etc, I've been wondering if anyone has a list somewhere of all the NPCs that are scattered throughout all of those publications? They tend not to be listed in the TOC, so you really just have to hunt through every chapter for them--fine if you're browsing or using one of the adventure seeds as-is, less convenient when you're like "I need to generate a monk adversary to interact on a fairly even basis with my rank 1 player group; is there already an existing one I can tweak?" If there is such a list I'd love to find it...
  5. Battle in the Mind isn't on my radar as much, I confess, because I'm looking at lower level PCs and it's a Rank 3 tech, so players are presumably going to fight a respectable number of duels before it ever even comes up. But I think it would be easy, and change almost nothing else, to add an initiative roll before the duel if techs and Distinctions that key off initiative were relevant (or if a duel of this kind were going to be incorporated into a battle scene--in that case I'd do as 4E does and have the strike round take place on the slower PC's initiative). The strike in the one-roll duel as it's included in the RAW is more or less the same as the Finishing Blow from the multi-round duel, and both of those also ignore Earth stance and endurance, so I can't really take any credit for that. 😆 Thinking of how a variety of builds could work in this mechanic... I think there's still a payoff to all stances--Air increases defensive TN and Fire gives you bonus successes, so those are obvious. Void will always still be good if you're low on Composure coming in. Earth lets you spend opportunity to weaken crits against you, which matters a lot if the strike roll ties, and it still stops the other person from hitting you with conditions using their techs (also, the Earth approach really shouldn't be especially favored in a duel format based on quickness, reaction, and misdirection, imo). Water lets you draw and cut if you haven't got the specialized training for it, and otherwise lets you de-strife yourself and potentially do other stuff with your extra action. But if folks have suggestions for ways to tweak them, I'd be interested. Several other School Abilities and techniques could be applied to the attack roll as well (basically anything that would otherwise be useful in a single-round combat against one opponent). RE: composure and endurance... to be honest, one of the things I dislike most about the RAW duel mechanic is that as written, characters heavy on Earth and Water--Crab etc--end up doing better in an actual iai duel than, say, Kakita Duelists, because Composure is designed such that classic Crane style courtier-duelists are terrible at it. (Their higher Vigilance doesn't really save them, because for every 1-point leg up they get in initiative, their opponent probably has a 2-point advantage in strife threshold....). So yes, I've purposefully swapped Composure for Focus as the derived attribute taking center stage in the duel, because that makes more sense to me. Endurance, imo, shouldn't be of much relevance in a first touch/first blood iaijutsu duel, since it's meant to be over in one cut. In my experience so far, using the RAW lower-level PCs mostly just flail around wildly, doing minimum or no Fatigue damage at all to their opponents, as they fish desperately for opportunity symbols until somebody runs out of strife. 🤣
  6. I'm not super satisfied with the RAW for dueling when it comes to Iaijutsu duels to first strike/first blood. These are supposed to be the most common types of duel fluff-wise, with the goal of "one perfect cut," but as written, starting characters seem to mostly end up swinging wildly and whiffing for several rounds, in quite a time-consuming way... In any case, I've been messing around with a way to use the one-roll rules for single-strike Iaijutsu duels, but make it a bit more crunchy, so people who've invested in being good at the rings and techniques associated with "duelists" actually benefit from that. Here's what I've got at the moment. I'm pretty happy with it, but I'm not sure whether it has weird bugs hiding somewhere that I haven't noticed yet. Thoughts?
  7. This is so cool! Thank you! I downloaded the OSX build, but have been getting a similar error prompt on startup to the one ruronin had for the Windows build: "The local data is missing or older than the bundled data. Do you want to overwrite local data?" Clicking "yes" or "no" doesn't seem to do anything different as far as I can see (have investigated both). The program then starts, but when I try to begin creating a new character the clan/family/etc dropdowns are all blank. I suspect a similar problem creating the local data directory? Especially since when I navigate to Tools > Open Application Data Directory, nothing actually opens. Will head over to Bootcamp and dl the Windows version now just to play with it sooner...
  8. FWIW we had a thread on kanji for Rokugani names on the old AEG forum, the results of which I reconstructed over here a couple of years ago: A bit out of date insofar as it has things like the Spider Clan and the Toturi dynasty that aren’t in the reboot, but we ended up with a quite complete list.
  9. Oh, this is definitely me, too. I was introduced to the RPG sometime during 2nd Edition, in 2003 or so, and while our GM had CCG cards to wave at us to represent various NPCs, CCGs weren't really on my radar. So I loved the base setting but didn't get a sense of the whole metaplot thing existing until I bought the 3rd Edition book for myself a few years later--and found the timeline at the front of the book was all cluttered up with half a dozen competing Dark Lords, moons and suns falling out of the sky, etc. Too much to want to work with. I think I explained my choice of an earlier time period to my first group of players by telling them that I didn't want them to have to know the plural of "apocalypse" just to write a character background. I've usually set campaigns sometime in the window between the return of the Unicorn and the Scorpion Coup. For the last few years I've mostly lacked a local playgroup for L5R but have got by with some of the various large play-by-post games that happen now and then--including, early on, the second AEG Winter Court--so although I was never involved with the CCG I've become a bit more well-versed in the metaplot somewhat in spite of myself. But I'm not at all sorry to have a setting reset (including the bit where they seem to be retconning the more gender-egalitarian version of Rokugan that had gradually evolved by 4E back on to the 1E time period--because I actually liked some of the early metaplot, but much prefer the later arcs' atmosphere in that one respect). Fingers crossed for the new-flavor RPG; I'll probably get time to look through it this weekend...
  10. This is me as well. I like an RPG setting to be a bit more of a blank canvas which GM and players can paint on, or at least color liberally between the lines, so post-Clan-Wars Rokugan has too many close-together Gambit Pile-ups and world-shaking crises for my taste. Relatedly but somewhat separately... I also prefer it when players don't have to know the plural of "apocalypse" just to figure out the backstory for a PC in young adulthood, y'know? In any case, I figure that as soon as the player characters start doing stuff, a campaign becomes our own version of the universe. If that involves bringing on the Second Day of Thunder in the 6th century with the PCs as the Thunders or whatever, so be it--just because a period is noted as being "peaceful" or its events are described as having resolved a certain way in the official timeline, doesn't mean a home campaign has to adhere to that. (For me this is another motive for steering clear of the plottier bits of the official timeline--I'd rather players not have too firm a notion of how things are "supposed" to go.) I'm not super familiar with FFG's other RPGs, so I don't really know how they are about timelines (I do vaguely remember EotE working okay for different points within the Star Wars canon). But either way, isn't L5R the first they've had that is wholly owned, not licensed? That probably allows them considerably more wiggle room to do what they want than they've had with the Star Wars or GW lines. I kinda suspect they will plot out some kind of equilibrium configuration/calm point for their Rokugan at which to set the beginning of their new LCG, even if it's a calm-before-the-storm sort of calm point, and that that will be the default setting if we get a new RPG. But "timeline neutrality" was one of the better-received innovations in 4E, and all it really meant in design terms was "write the rules and stats so that they don't precisely straightjacket home RPG gamers into one exact moment in the card game plot." I'd be more surprised if FFG doesn't adopt some version of that principle, especially since at the outset they won't have years of card game storyline of their own to which they're closely committed.
  11. I will probably be quite grouchy if FFG actually tries to release different eras as standalone lines that make you buy a whole new core book for each, when the mechanical difference between playing in, say, Clan Wars and Toturi Dynasty settings is no more than the addition/subtraction of a couple of minor-in-importance schools here and there. But I might buy era-centered splatbooks, and I'd definitely buy a new edition of something like Imperial Histories, so I'll answer your question in that spirit instead. Anyway, in rough order of priority-- I agree that I'd obviously like to see a Clan Wars/pre-Scorpion Coup setting, preferably one that's easily generalizable to any time between the return of the Unicorn and the SCC. (I don't care intensely about the exact NPCs who were around in the early days of L5R and wouldn't want an information overload about them, though I assume you'd need a bit as some people really do like them.) Generic Toturi or early Iweko-dynasty setting seems an obvious one. Pick a period of relative calm within those times as a baseline, though. (Hard especially for the Toturi period, I know.) Here you could fit Mantis (and maybe Spider depending on your timing) as a Great Clan and all the newish Minor Clans and stuff. Age of Exploration is another obvious choice, but it doesn't interest me personally very much, so skipping onward... Dawn of the Empire and/or the run-up to the First Day of Thunder and/or the reign of Hantei Genji would be cool. An earlier setting from after Hantei Genji but before the Unicorn came back would be neat as well--around when the Kaiu Wall was first built, the first battle against Iuchiban, right before the Unicorn return, or something else like that. Very different alternate settings like 10KYD or Togashi Dynasty are lots of fun, but I imagine might be lower priority for porting to a new system.
  12. I don't usually like to get too fussy/wanky about "accuracy" in RPG weapon stats, but I think the Ono:Masakari analogy doesn't quite work. You don't want to get hit by an axe because... it's sharp. A little extra weight and length in the shaft, and a bit of extra force from a two-handed swing, will make it hurt a bit more, but in the end it is sharp regardless of how much weight and leverage there is behind the blade. You don't want to get hit by a tetsubo because it's long and heavy. That's it. Making a tetsubo shorter and one-hand-able causes it to weigh less and hit with less momentum--i.e., subtracts from the only characteristics that allow it to do damage. So if you really want to have separate stats for such a weapon, it should probably reduce the DR more than when you scale down an axe from ono to masakari size. As a tangent, I kind of get the impression from its description in the rulebook that a masakari is only a "heavy weapon" because the system doesn't have (and to be clear, doesn't need) separate weapon skill categories for Axes, Hammers, etc. They didn't have anywhere else to stick a medium sized axe, so it went in the same skill category as the big one. If I had a player that wanted a small iron club/studded short stave, I'd probably let them wield it with either Heavy Weapons or Staves depending which skill they had/how they used it. Tl;dr: I agree with other posters that if you want to make a heavy club weapon that's one-handed it's probably easier to just add a few rolled dice to a tonfa or jo. In any case 5k2 seems way off to me--that's the DR of a dai-tsuchi, which is an enormous two-handed hammer. Nothing else in the core book gives more than +3 rolled dice to damage, I believe.
  13. Others have already given some great advice, so I'll just chime in with a couple of things: 1) In addition to the one AtoMaki gave, there are a couple of links to help with coming up with personal names in this thread. I'd especially recommend the Sengoku one for NPCs since it has tables you can straight-up roll a D100 on. 2) The L5R games I've run haven't ever been "sandboxy," per se, but I like to start out with a set of NPCs who have problems/puzzles/secrets (the "challenge"), plus a vague sense of how these will advance over time ("focus"), and then tailor the specifics to the ways the PCs dig into it and what they seem interested in ("strike"). That doesn't mean making the NPCs the stars of the show, of course, but one thing I like about L5R is that the setting feels concrete enough to support NPCs whose motives for helping the PCs or getting in their way are easy to flesh out. Like CoC, L5R can also lend itself quite well to solving mysteries with a supernatural element, so GM tricks and habits that work for you in CoC might translate over well. TBH I often haven't done a lot of concrete prep for GMing L5R--think for a while and scribble some notes about what's going on this week and what the NPCs want, make sure I have the statlines for anyone/thing the PCs might likely decide to rumble with, make sure I've got my improv hat on, and that's about it. But if you want an example of a GM who does more detailed prep you might search for Kinzen's GM threads on this forum. (Sadly, the old AEG forums took a lot of other people's campaign chronicles and GM notes down when they were perma-locked last year. This blog has another one that I know of, though!) 3) Keep us posted! I'm sure I'm not the only one here who'd be interested to hear how your first session goes, and happy to chime in with further advice/brainstorming help if you want it.
  14. suburbaknight, can you share the ones you've found? Might be handy for others as well. Thanks!
  15. Try the adventure AEG released for Free RPG Day when the system had just come out a few years back: https://www.l5r.com/files/2012/03/L5R-Free-RPG-Day.pdf Running it or just reading it should give you a sense of the elements of a 'complete' L5R game. If you are used to the dungeon-crawly side of Pathfinder or D&D, L5R's system and setting have a bit more room for investigation and intrigue by default, but it should not be overwhelming. The Topaz Championship is another good starting adventure to play or run (it's a coming-of-age competition for young samurai)--there should be a thread with links if you search this very forum. Heroes of Rokugan (don't remember the address just now, but Google has your back) also has many, many adventures written up which one can download and use. As folks have said, the core book truly is all you need to get started. Enemies of the Empire would actually be my #2 purchase/read for a new GM, as it gives you lots of ready-made adversaries and such. From a player's perspective Emerald Empire will give you more flavor detail and a few new character options, as will Great Clans, but you certainly don't need them to get rolling. For setting lore, there actually is a wiki: http://l5r.wikia.com/wiki/Legend_of_the_Five_Rings_Wiki The information on some of the pages is not always organized in the most intuitive of ways, but it's good if you see some noun dropped as you're going along and are like "no, really, what is X again?" As someone who's never played the CCG, I'd say don't get too hung up on all the history stuff! It only will impinge on your home game as much as you want it to. (If you set your game between about the mid 9th century and the 11th century, OR just "at the end of the Core Book timeline" ignoring everything that happened in later CCG developments, you'll have more or less the "generic" Rokugan. Technically there'd be no Mantis Clan if you choose the former option, I guess, but that's not a big deal one way or another for a home game.) And definitely do not think of the two Imperial Histories as books you NEED to read to properly understand L5R. They're best understood as splatbooks presenting a bunch of alternate setting variations in which you might choose to set a campaign. Some of 'em are great, while some are meh. Maybe skim the tables of contents and see if one of those settings seems like you'd actually want to use it; otherwise you don't need to worry about it right now. I'd be surprised if somebody somewhere in the NYC area isn't playing it! I'm in the LA area sometimes and haven't found a group there yet, but also LA is sprawly and due to logistics I haven't looked super hard. Now and then, if you keep an eye out, you can also find online playgroups of various sizes, from 4-5 people to PbPs of 20+.
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