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About jmoschner

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  1. First, this is a game and people should be having fun. IF the rules for some reason or another are inhibiting that fun, then people should be free to make whatever changes they want -so long as everyone at the table is on board and having a good time. It is quite possible for someone to have a solid grasp of the rules and simply not like the way things are playing out at their table. There is no wrong way to play so long as everyone at the table is having fun. Heck a group can replace dueling by having the Players smack each other with rubber chickens if that is their thing and everyone consents. As for the OP's issues with progression and feeling constrained, it might be easier for them to simply allow all techniques (within the categories granted by the school, i.e kata, shuji, etc.) and skill purchases to count at full xp toward rank progression with rings still counting at half. Privileged access then becomes an earlier access thing, not a buy now or it never counts toward rank progression thing. It also allows for a bit more variety in character progression while shifting the focus of each school more on the school ability than on a series of skills and techniques it likely shares with other schools. This approach to progression may also be useful when all the PCs are of the same school. Note that you may want to adjust the XP given depending on how much the players are upping rings and how fast you want them to climb in school rank.
  2. I know. Could have worded it better. Use a Yumi to guard your buddy, then Kick a person who closes in on you and attacks. Will edit for clarity.
  3. That also works well with Void Stance as you can ignore strife on the dice and keep better results for longer. In the open beta my group tested that. It is quite effective. Also useful if you are backing up the person charging into the fight. Guard them with a ranged weapon to bump up their TN, while still able to kick a would-be attacker who gets within range of Crescent Moon Style.
  4. The easy way to make taking on a new/second school work would be to buy the school ability for 6xp (that doesn't count toward any school progression) then add the starting techniques and skills to the advancement chart for the first rank of the new school. From there they have to rank up as normal, starting at rank 1 in the new school. They gain no free ring or skill increases. Honor remains unchanged. They may or may not get new gear as fits the story and may or may not have to give up old gear. For abilities that use school rank, they have to use their new school rank or spend a void point to use their old school rank for a single task/roll/effect/etc. For available techniques they add those granted by the new school to those types already available to them (i.e. invocations, kata, etc.).
  5. When running various games where remembering a bunch of odd names was required of the players, I basically print off a dramatis personae. In Word I'll whip up a table of key NPCs. Usually include the name, a bit of relevant info, and either a relevant visual representation (hand drawn sketch of character, image from net, clan symbol, icon, etc.) or color code (if I feel like using color toner). I try to leave room for players to take notes. At the start of the session I pass out a copy to each player. It has the added benefit of keeping players focused on key NPCs and I'm able to drop subtle hints about the NPCs on the sheet. Sometimes I'll do a few different sheets if there is an NPC who makes a surprise appearance or it is otherwise fitting to not give info right away.
  6. In regard to strife and unmasking, GMs and players will need to decide ahead of time how often they expect a lose of glory/honor due to unmasking vs the rate at which the characters gain honor/glory. Not every unmasking option is a hit to honor/glory but most are and it can feel cheap taking the one non-loss option most of the time. Likewise it can really be annoying to start taking mechanical penalties for roleplaying your character.
  7. They did run out of time on the open beta. It also appears most of the issues are with the things not put through the wringer in the open beta or changed after the beta.
  8. First, know that the NPC section as well as a good chunk of stuff slated for review near the end of the beta never got the love it should have. Earlier sections ran over schedule leaving the rest not getting as through of a review as it really needed. In the beta it stated “If an effect calls for an NPC’s school rank, treat its higher conflict rank as its school rank, to a maximum of 6.” This may need some adjusting as you may not want a CR6 character to have a school rank of six for mechanical or story reasons. Likewise you may want the CR3 character to have a school rank of 6, like the old sensei who may not be much of a challenge but has mastered the ways of their school. Do what fits the story, but be aware some mechanics may make the character stronger than you intended. I would use stock NPCs until I had a feel of what the Players and PCs can handle.
  9. You first need to ask "what's the role of the padwan in this story?" Is the character there to round out the party? Is it there to open up new plot threads? Are they meant to always be around or to pop in and out out of the adventure? Is the player looking for some kind of mechanical benefit or simply more role play opportunity? Would this be any different than if the GM otherwise added an NPC to accompany the PCs on their adventures? Go over those questions with the GM see if adding the character is right for your adventure. Most GMs should easily be able to handle the character narratively, or quickly stat it up as a minion. The real kicker is how the character is meant to fit into the story. It really depends on your play style and personalities as to whether the padwan should be ran by a player or the GM or even allowed at all.
  10. From what I can tell, the game wants every task to have a base TN, that goes down by 1 with the most appropriate approach and up by 1 for the least appropriate approach. All other approaches are at the base TN. It just does a really, really, really bad job of communicating that in clear way and does an astoundingly poor job of explaining to the GM how to decide which approach is +1TN and which is -1TN and why. Would be nice if skill examples were laid out like: Task / Skill / Base TN / Most Appropriate Approach / Least Appropriate Approach / Time. For example the base tea ceremony: Perform Tea Ceremony for Others / Performance / TN 3 / Earth -1 / Fire +1 / Downtime (Note the Beta lists Tea Ceremony as a TN 2 Performance (Earth) check so I used that for this example) They also made a huge misstep in the beta by breaking the approaches into categories, such as social and trade, and then adding a little addendum that people can easily miss stating that you may need to use an approach from a different category sometimes. Instead they should have done a section on approaches where they list and explain all the various approaches for each ring and actually explain why sometimes one appraoch is the best choice and one is the worst. Who knows, they might have done this for the final book. I have a feeling after the book is out the community will end up putting together a master task list to help new GMs quickly know the best ring and skill for a roll plus a having a decent idea of what the TN should be.
  11. Things off the top of my head: Have a reoccurring rival team or teams the get fleshed out over the story. Could be mutual respect for each other under a layer of trash talk or could mean dirty tricks and sabotage. Side bets. Could be for credits, could be drinking stale milk from an old manifold in front of everyone; anything where the stakes fit the characters and story. If for credits could get involved with the wrong people. Maybe some trash talk leads to a bet the PCs can't win or it puts the driver at odds with the crew. Like the driver has to throw the race so another driver wins after the crew bet the pc driver would win. This could be for any number of reasons such as the other driver is in debt, honor at stake, etc. Maybe even most the crew bets on themselves winning, but a pc on the pit crew has their obligation come back to bite them and has to sabotage the racer. Travel. Lots of the story can be the time between races. The various towns they stop in can have mysteries, crimes, and the usual plot adventures. Bandits may attack while the crew is on the road. Their racer or other gear could get jacked and they need to get it back. Maybe even a time where all the racers and their crews have to caravan through a dangerous area and circle the wagons at night. Supplies. Buying fuel, replacing parts, ect. can all be the inciting indecent for an adventure or the macguffin for an adventure. Local dangers. Maybe the conflict between two crime factions spills over to the race. Could even end up with the race path going right into the middle of battle. Have local fauna cause problems, everything from making the race harder to complicating the time on the road to eating all the food.
  12. Not sure this bit survived the beta, but note that in the beta PCs can get strife for narrative reasons and the GM can slap them with strife if they see fit: In a situation where a player feels their character would take on strife and unmask the player should inform the GM and the GM should probably give them strife and let them unmask if it is appropriate to the character and the situation. This is where dialogue between players and GM comes in.
  13. Yes. In fire stance each strife symbol on each kept die gives you both strife and a bonus success.
  14. The most telling line about how FFG views Strife is probably in the Roll and Keep article: "Sam Stewart suggested that a result (eventually strife) could result in resource depletion rather than more narrative results." Strife really runs the risk of being a game of resource management more so than a tool that informs roleplay and that seems to be by design. The biggest problems with the mechanic are being tied to the dice and the constant bookkeeping. The unmasking article looks to me like FFG is trying to get out ahead of the inevitable negative reaction players will have to strife. Sadly, the examples in the article are more inline with what you should be getting with the push and pull of a character's Ninjō and Giri while the mechanic itself is more the result of rolling the dice.
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