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jmoschner

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  1. Like
    jmoschner got a reaction from Doughnut in Modelling Invulnerability   
    You might consider having them take strain instead of wounds from non-silver attacks (after soak, etc. is applied). Just make sure to always track strain for the NPCs.
    Or just deal with it narratively.
  2. Like
    jmoschner reacted to drbraininajar in Modelling Invulnerability   
    For things like this, it depends on the type of game you want to run and, ultimately, who the PCs are supposed to be.
    Are the PCs supposed to be already-competent monster hunter types? It's more fitting to say the werewolf is "Impervious to personal-scale damage from non-silvered weapons" and assume the PC always bring silvered ammo/blades. Then, use Despair/Destiny Points to go "Oh No! you're out of silvered ammo! Better use one of your Extra Reloads to stay in the fight!" or "You threw your silver dagger and it fell right down the sewer grate! Your only hope might be to drop that massive chandelier on the werewolf!" This fits a more Underworld style action-focused game, where the 'heroes' are usually on equal footing with the monsters, and any lack of prep on their part is there solely to spice up the action scenes.
     
    If the PCs are supposed to be ordinary people who have to scrap together gear and defenses against a monstrous threat, keep the impervious idea but treat a confrontation with a monstrous enemy that they are unprepared for like I treat a confrontation with Vader: It's not a combat encounter, it's a modified chase scene where the goal is to get out alive and attacks "just slow it down" to give you breathing room.  Then let the players use Destiny Points/Triumph to find a lucky bit of silver they can sharpen up  and do real damage with. In this case, getting the necessary toolsto defeat the monster is a side quest that requires some Knowledge/Streetwise/Mechanics checks and some expenditure of money to find the necessary materials and build working weapons out of them. This fits a more BTVS type theme, where the usual flow of a "monster of the week" plot goes like this: 1-Weird Thing Happens. 2-Find out what monster is causing it. 3-Scene where the heroes escape the monster while investigating it b/c they don't have what they need to stop it. 4-Group smartperson researches the monster and the heroes return to vanquish it.
     
    It's all about theme, yo.
  3. Like
    jmoschner reacted to KungFuFerret in Is it cannibalism if it’s a different species?   
    Yeah it's technically  not cannibalism, but nobody likes watching members of their species being eaten, so it would likely be frowned upon by anyone that witnessed it. 
    Of course, if the species actually is a carrion eater species, then they might get a bit of leeway, assuming they weren't hunting people to make them carrion.

    There was a species in the tv show Babylon 5, who were carrion eaters, and they weren't really popular on the station, but they also didn't really bother anyone.  They weren't hostile, or evil, they just....ate dead things, and they weren't picky what it was.   They never really went into the details of where they got their food supply, but considering they were a regular part of the station population, I assume they had some kind of arrangement with food providers or something.  

    But there was one episode where there was a missing person, presumed dead, and the security team had to pump the stomachs of the Poc-morah (the carrion eaters), on the offchance the body got dumped in a waste unit, and they decided to munch on it.   So there is I guess the possibility of them finding bodies of sentient beings and eating those.  
    Yes, the cute stereotype that he's going against    A species that we are introduced to, when they capture the heroes and try to cook them alive to eat for a feast .  I wouldn't say the player is going against type, but staying true to it honestly.   They were 100% on board with eating the humans and the wookie, and only stopped because someone with a bigger stick scared them into submission.   

    So yeah, Ewoks eating people is totally thematically appropriate for the little murderous teddy bears. 
  4. Like
    jmoschner got a reaction from Mirumoto Saito in Final review of beta   
    While I feel the beta was a complete wast of time for my group and I, I'm glad we were able to see what the devs had in mind before any of us wasted money pre-ordering the game.
  5. Like
    jmoschner reacted to Direach in Musings on Magic and Monetization.   
    One of the things I am doing in my swords and sorcery campaign is locking Attack spells behind a Tier 4 talent. This is partly because of the nature of the setting (swords and sorcery stories tend not to have a lot of fireball/lightning bolt/magic missile type magic), and partly because I want to encourage my caster player to explore creative ways of casting spells without relying entirely on blasting enemies to pieces. He has access to my homebrew Manipulation spells to begin with, plus Barrier, Curse, Dispel, and Utility. I've also locked Augment at Tier 4 for future use, as well as other WIP spell types like Mentalism and Transmutation. I know Augment is not normally permitted for Arcana, but... I'm permitting it.
    Also I made the base cost of spellcasting 3 Strain, instead of 2. There's a Tier 3 talent that lets you bring that back down to 2 later on (as a maneuver), but I do want magic to be demanding and dangerous.
  6. Like
    jmoschner reacted to Endersai in Musings on Magic and Monetization.   
    The issue I think in conforming to their expectations as set by primarily d20 based games is - as GM you're just creating a massive rod for your own back that will absolutely dimish your experience with Genesys. Players have been conditioned through CRPGs and d20 to think in a very regimented, hierarchical and crunchy way. It's a vertical model; at Level X, Spell Y gains Z% more damage/attacks. That's not how this system works in any way, so trying to shoehorn that mentality in will just ruin it for you and them. And, as GM, it'll make your life harder.
    one thing I do with my players is ask "ok so what do you want to achieve here? Tell me and I'll help you find a way there." D&D was really good, esp was 3.0 onwards, in conditioning the players to view the GM as adversary and not ally, which Genesys does not at all subscribe to.
    If you player wants to do something and the only way they can express it is via D&D spell, the absolute worst thing you could do is try to create the spell as a distinct Genesys widget. "Oh you want to fireball. I'll make a fireball spell, how's that?" It's terrible, thanks for asking.
    Instead, figure out what that spell achieves narratively (forget the mechanics, you don't have a binary axis of resolution so it's all out the window) and work back from there. You want to cast a spell that causes the cluster of thugs to catch fire, and also any surrounding terrain like crates, curtains, etc? We can do that with Genesys RAW. And that's how the mechanics work, so you're just teaching them to think in Genesys - not D20 - terms.
  7. Like
    jmoschner got a reaction from crashnburninc in Honor, Glory, Status, Ninjo, Giri - Why The Current Systems Do Not Work   
    This sounds a lot like the Stories progression in 7th Sea 2nd ed. Basically, each player sets a goal for their PC with an achievable ending and takes steps toward that goal. Each step taken is basically treated as XP and once a goal is achieved or abandoned they work toward a new goal.
    -----------------------
    In the game my group is currently beta testing (and so far really loving), each PC has two goals that may or may not oppose one another (one the PC need not even be aware of). They get rewards for completing their goals; the reward is highest if they have to abandon one goal within their grasp for the other goal. They also get rewarded a type of glory they can cash in for benefits to their current situation.
  8. Like
    jmoschner reacted to ASCI Blue in Morality problem   
    After reading the rules and running a few games I found the morality system to be worthless due to the fact it relies on a die roll. As Decorus said I've seen a Jedi paragon slowly fall to the dark side (from a higher morality) vs a murder hobo Jedi who happened to have some really good rolls. Once my players started questioning how this works and walking through it paragraph by paragraph couldn't come up with a reasonable way for it to work within the rules. Either A straight up give or subtract morality or just remove it. 
    A modified Strife system sounds like a good plan to me. 
  9. Like
    jmoschner reacted to Tear44 in As a GM, how to you spend threats on NPC attack roll   
    Like Richardbuxton said I have the players do it.

    Once the players have a feeling for Threat and Advantage, and their respective limits; I tend to push much of the decision making to the table.  
    Many GM's run it as PCs decide how to use PC Advantages and Enemy Threats while GMs rule PC Threats and Enemy Advantages.
  10. Like
    jmoschner reacted to Richardbuxton in As a GM, how to you spend threats on NPC attack roll   
    I don’t spend them, the players do
  11. Like
    jmoschner reacted to tenchi2a in No role and keep no peace   
    More likely, if the 5th does poorly they will chalk it up to lack of interest in a RPG and drop the idea of making anything RPG related.
    FFG just strikes me as the "if you don't like what we give you then you don't want an RPG" types.
  12. Like
    jmoschner reacted to TheVeteranSergeant in No role and keep no peace   
    I just hope the lukewarm response to the Beta at least moves them to allow Print on Demand 4th Edition hardbacks on DTRPG at this point.  At least that way my new players can actually get their hands on a physical copy rather than everyone having to have laptops or other e-readers with them.  The 5th Edition Beta was an interesting idea, but it just has so many inherent flaws and there was never any apparent interest from the development team in fixing a lot of them.  I'm actually not sure if some of them were even fixable without ground-up re-working of the mechanics, so it will be interesting to see what happens with the final product and if they go Full Dark Heresy 2 on it, or they stick with some iteration of what they have now.
  13. Like
    jmoschner reacted to Revanchist7 in When you realize your game stinks. . . half way through the game.   
    Let the past die
  14. Like
    jmoschner reacted to OddballE8 in Another sad day :(   
    I'm gonna sound callous now, but I don't really care that he's dead.

    If I mourned every actor that played a minor bit role in all the movies I love, I'd be grief stricken most of the year, every year.

     
  15. Like
    jmoschner reacted to Mirumoto Seiichiro in Final review of beta   
    Not a big fan of any of this myself really. Things my group talk about the most is probably how much we dislike strife. We don't like how it's implemented, we don't like how it tells us how to play our characters, we just don't like it. The methods for performing skills we're kinda torn on. We like having more than one way to do things, we just don't like how it doesn't really define what your doing and how very well. We feel like it works better in combat than it does for searching, spotting, or most other skills. Giri and Nijo pretty much seems backwards to us, feels like something that should be defined after you determine your characters background and should be more for flavor than a hard core this is how we do it thing. And the dice, we don't like them, saying we hate them is an understatement. nothing in the game  that these custom dice do that can't be resolved with normal dice.  
  16. Like
    jmoschner got a reaction from Mirumoto Seiichiro in Final review of beta   
    While I feel the beta was a complete wast of time for my group and I, I'm glad we were able to see what the devs had in mind before any of us wasted money pre-ordering the game.
  17. Like
    jmoschner got a reaction from Kazimir in Week 12 Content Update and Survey   
    It is rather ill advised to start messing with XP and progression this late in the game without proper time to really test it. Not saying XP and advancement don't need work, but they are not going to get properly tested and you will have issues down the road.
    You still are making the same core mistake you always make: adding needless complexity for marginal to no gain.
    Right now the rings only counting for half has the following consequences you have not accounted for:
    It throws off the numbers for determining power of NPCs. There are now even wider power swings within a school rank Power scale and balance is now off with characters all over the place* Air stance now bounces between useless and op Rings will be perceived as a tax, as to actually use many techniques you need a high ring players will feel like they have to buy more stuff they won't use to advance devalues high level play as can front load characters increases the likelihood of high level characters with multiple rings and skills at 5 school abilities that really only pay off at higher school ranks will see less use *On average you're looking at around 42xp to get to ring 5 and around 14xp to get to skill 5 (assuming skill at 3). Now only 21 of the xp spent on the ring counts toward school rank. "Experience to complete school ranks is going to be increased significantly." so even if it is just 10 extra per rank, you could (and will) end up with characters at rank 2 with ring 5, skill 5, and they will only be at most 1 rank behind the characters that went all in on school advancement. IF you double the XP needed to get to rank 2 from 16 to 32, then you will have rank one characters with ring 5 skill 5.
    Since most school abilities are "meh" and higher level techniques basically require maxed out ring and skill, there is still little incentive to focus on school stuff early on for a lot of builds. As characters will have to up rings and skills eventually, those that front load into a high ring/skill will catch up in school rank, likely by rank 3. This basically undermines the only counting rings as half, expect to add complexity and slow the progress, which is now being slowed in other ways as well. So the half ring xp is really just needless mechanics that were poorly thought through.
    As WHW noted, every school needs to have some techniques that are early access under the new XP scheme.
    School techniques need to be made more interesting and useful as there was already little reason for many characters to focus on raising school rank; this only exacerbates the issue.
    There really should be a slow, normal, and fast progression options for XP. Let GMs decide how fast they want the group to advance. Tying XP to time playing is not a good idea. XP needs to be tied to what the characters are doing, not how long the players are seated at a table.
     
    Honor, Glory, Ninjō, and Giri all need overhauls.
    The mechanics as they stand do not achieve any of these. The proposed changes do not really fix Ninjō/Giri and only add more problems.
    The core issue here, beyond always adding needless complexity, is that the dev team seems to have a lack of understanding of what creates tension and drama, then trying to force their ill-conceived notions of drama through poorly constructed mechanics. The system should provide the players and GM the tools to create conflict, and from that conflict and the choices  made in dealing with it comes the drama.
    Where you've made the mistakes design wise is in putting strife on the dice and making it fairly random instead of making it primarily a consequence of opposing Ninjō/Giri. You have a system that puts strife in everyone's face every roll, but where you can basically ignore honor for entire game sessions. Honor and Glory should be ingrained more into the rest of the system instead of tacked on. More things should scale with honor or glory than with school. More things should require a certain honor or glory as a prerequisite (mostly non-school related techniques). I would even go ahead and decouple the advantages/disadvantages from honor and glory. Let the loss/gain of honor, glory, and status have real impacts. Instead of gumming up the system with strife, you should have been greasing the gears with honor and glory.
    You really need to work on streamlining the system so it gets out of the way and lets the people at the table tell a compelling story instead of constantly trying to force drama and thus derailing the drama already unfolding.
    IF you really want better storytelling and drama, then spend time in the book explaining how to craft and tell engaging samurai adventures. Spend time on things like story structure, the nature of conflict in samurai drama, and how to explore character motivations. Give examples of how the GM can work characters from PC backstories into the adventure and other tips for giving the story more weight for the players.
  18. Like
    jmoschner reacted to AtoMaki in Week 12 Content Update and Survey   
    But... The aforementioned section specifically makes characters from different clan deal with honor quite differently. That doubled/halved forfeit/reward is nothing to sneeze at. It paramountly changes Honor "economy" because of the interlinked gains/losses from multiple virtues. 
    Tho, I must admit, the Crane/Courage and the Phoenix/Sincerity weak-virtue combinations are indeed hilarious considering the fluff. 
  19. Like
    jmoschner reacted to AtoMaki in Week 12 Content Update and Survey   
    You have the "Clan's View of Bushido" section exactly for that, it is covered pretty well when it comes to mechanics. That's where you have the rules telling you that you are indeed a stereotypical Crane/Lion/whatever, and even if you did not play along with Questions 7 and/or 8 then you are just a special snowflake, enjoy your two Skills. 
  20. Like
    jmoschner got a reaction from Nheko in Final review of beta   
    While I feel the beta was a complete wast of time for my group and I, I'm glad we were able to see what the devs had in mind before any of us wasted money pre-ordering the game.
  21. Like
    jmoschner got a reaction from Nitenman in Week 12 Content Update and Survey   
    It is rather ill advised to start messing with XP and progression this late in the game without proper time to really test it. Not saying XP and advancement don't need work, but they are not going to get properly tested and you will have issues down the road.
    You still are making the same core mistake you always make: adding needless complexity for marginal to no gain.
    Right now the rings only counting for half has the following consequences you have not accounted for:
    It throws off the numbers for determining power of NPCs. There are now even wider power swings within a school rank Power scale and balance is now off with characters all over the place* Air stance now bounces between useless and op Rings will be perceived as a tax, as to actually use many techniques you need a high ring players will feel like they have to buy more stuff they won't use to advance devalues high level play as can front load characters increases the likelihood of high level characters with multiple rings and skills at 5 school abilities that really only pay off at higher school ranks will see less use *On average you're looking at around 42xp to get to ring 5 and around 14xp to get to skill 5 (assuming skill at 3). Now only 21 of the xp spent on the ring counts toward school rank. "Experience to complete school ranks is going to be increased significantly." so even if it is just 10 extra per rank, you could (and will) end up with characters at rank 2 with ring 5, skill 5, and they will only be at most 1 rank behind the characters that went all in on school advancement. IF you double the XP needed to get to rank 2 from 16 to 32, then you will have rank one characters with ring 5 skill 5.
    Since most school abilities are "meh" and higher level techniques basically require maxed out ring and skill, there is still little incentive to focus on school stuff early on for a lot of builds. As characters will have to up rings and skills eventually, those that front load into a high ring/skill will catch up in school rank, likely by rank 3. This basically undermines the only counting rings as half, expect to add complexity and slow the progress, which is now being slowed in other ways as well. So the half ring xp is really just needless mechanics that were poorly thought through.
    As WHW noted, every school needs to have some techniques that are early access under the new XP scheme.
    School techniques need to be made more interesting and useful as there was already little reason for many characters to focus on raising school rank; this only exacerbates the issue.
    There really should be a slow, normal, and fast progression options for XP. Let GMs decide how fast they want the group to advance. Tying XP to time playing is not a good idea. XP needs to be tied to what the characters are doing, not how long the players are seated at a table.
     
    Honor, Glory, Ninjō, and Giri all need overhauls.
    The mechanics as they stand do not achieve any of these. The proposed changes do not really fix Ninjō/Giri and only add more problems.
    The core issue here, beyond always adding needless complexity, is that the dev team seems to have a lack of understanding of what creates tension and drama, then trying to force their ill-conceived notions of drama through poorly constructed mechanics. The system should provide the players and GM the tools to create conflict, and from that conflict and the choices  made in dealing with it comes the drama.
    Where you've made the mistakes design wise is in putting strife on the dice and making it fairly random instead of making it primarily a consequence of opposing Ninjō/Giri. You have a system that puts strife in everyone's face every roll, but where you can basically ignore honor for entire game sessions. Honor and Glory should be ingrained more into the rest of the system instead of tacked on. More things should scale with honor or glory than with school. More things should require a certain honor or glory as a prerequisite (mostly non-school related techniques). I would even go ahead and decouple the advantages/disadvantages from honor and glory. Let the loss/gain of honor, glory, and status have real impacts. Instead of gumming up the system with strife, you should have been greasing the gears with honor and glory.
    You really need to work on streamlining the system so it gets out of the way and lets the people at the table tell a compelling story instead of constantly trying to force drama and thus derailing the drama already unfolding.
    IF you really want better storytelling and drama, then spend time in the book explaining how to craft and tell engaging samurai adventures. Spend time on things like story structure, the nature of conflict in samurai drama, and how to explore character motivations. Give examples of how the GM can work characters from PC backstories into the adventure and other tips for giving the story more weight for the players.
  22. Like
    jmoschner got a reaction from GhostSanta in Week 12 Content Update and Survey   
    It is rather ill advised to start messing with XP and progression this late in the game without proper time to really test it. Not saying XP and advancement don't need work, but they are not going to get properly tested and you will have issues down the road.
    You still are making the same core mistake you always make: adding needless complexity for marginal to no gain.
    Right now the rings only counting for half has the following consequences you have not accounted for:
    It throws off the numbers for determining power of NPCs. There are now even wider power swings within a school rank Power scale and balance is now off with characters all over the place* Air stance now bounces between useless and op Rings will be perceived as a tax, as to actually use many techniques you need a high ring players will feel like they have to buy more stuff they won't use to advance devalues high level play as can front load characters increases the likelihood of high level characters with multiple rings and skills at 5 school abilities that really only pay off at higher school ranks will see less use *On average you're looking at around 42xp to get to ring 5 and around 14xp to get to skill 5 (assuming skill at 3). Now only 21 of the xp spent on the ring counts toward school rank. "Experience to complete school ranks is going to be increased significantly." so even if it is just 10 extra per rank, you could (and will) end up with characters at rank 2 with ring 5, skill 5, and they will only be at most 1 rank behind the characters that went all in on school advancement. IF you double the XP needed to get to rank 2 from 16 to 32, then you will have rank one characters with ring 5 skill 5.
    Since most school abilities are "meh" and higher level techniques basically require maxed out ring and skill, there is still little incentive to focus on school stuff early on for a lot of builds. As characters will have to up rings and skills eventually, those that front load into a high ring/skill will catch up in school rank, likely by rank 3. This basically undermines the only counting rings as half, expect to add complexity and slow the progress, which is now being slowed in other ways as well. So the half ring xp is really just needless mechanics that were poorly thought through.
    As WHW noted, every school needs to have some techniques that are early access under the new XP scheme.
    School techniques need to be made more interesting and useful as there was already little reason for many characters to focus on raising school rank; this only exacerbates the issue.
    There really should be a slow, normal, and fast progression options for XP. Let GMs decide how fast they want the group to advance. Tying XP to time playing is not a good idea. XP needs to be tied to what the characters are doing, not how long the players are seated at a table.
     
    Honor, Glory, Ninjō, and Giri all need overhauls.
    The mechanics as they stand do not achieve any of these. The proposed changes do not really fix Ninjō/Giri and only add more problems.
    The core issue here, beyond always adding needless complexity, is that the dev team seems to have a lack of understanding of what creates tension and drama, then trying to force their ill-conceived notions of drama through poorly constructed mechanics. The system should provide the players and GM the tools to create conflict, and from that conflict and the choices  made in dealing with it comes the drama.
    Where you've made the mistakes design wise is in putting strife on the dice and making it fairly random instead of making it primarily a consequence of opposing Ninjō/Giri. You have a system that puts strife in everyone's face every roll, but where you can basically ignore honor for entire game sessions. Honor and Glory should be ingrained more into the rest of the system instead of tacked on. More things should scale with honor or glory than with school. More things should require a certain honor or glory as a prerequisite (mostly non-school related techniques). I would even go ahead and decouple the advantages/disadvantages from honor and glory. Let the loss/gain of honor, glory, and status have real impacts. Instead of gumming up the system with strife, you should have been greasing the gears with honor and glory.
    You really need to work on streamlining the system so it gets out of the way and lets the people at the table tell a compelling story instead of constantly trying to force drama and thus derailing the drama already unfolding.
    IF you really want better storytelling and drama, then spend time in the book explaining how to craft and tell engaging samurai adventures. Spend time on things like story structure, the nature of conflict in samurai drama, and how to explore character motivations. Give examples of how the GM can work characters from PC backstories into the adventure and other tips for giving the story more weight for the players.
  23. Like
    jmoschner reacted to sndwurks in Honor, Glory, Status, Ninjo, Giri - Why The Current Systems Do Not Work   
    First, I feel we need to rethink how to WRITE a Ninjo and a Giri.
    At their core, a good Ninjo is an "I want..." statement, while a good Giri is a "I must..." statement. For people unfamiliar with the societal pressures placed upon characters in a samurai drama, this serves as a good starting point for the Ninjo vs Giri narrative. Players should choose an "I want..." statement as their Ninjo, and a "I must..." statement as their Giri, and be told that they should be difficult, if not impossible to reconcile. While these may change over the course of play, starting in a "I want" vs "I must" already shows the tension between desire and obligation.
    Next, tie something in the core mechanics of the game to each, but make it POSITIVE. Currently, by gaining Strife, players are only mechanically punished for their PCs encountering / interacting with their Ninjo or Giri. Give players a mechanical incentive to SEEK OUT their PCs Ninjo and Giri inside the space of the game's narrative. Do not require them to spend mechanical currency (i.e. Void point) in order to interact with this mechanic. The mechanics of Ninjo and Giri should be free and accessible to players, and should inform and influence their choices in a game. In order to do this, they MUST interact with the core mechanic of the RPG: the Narrative Dice.
    One way of doing this is to give the Ninjo a Bushido Virtue which is a failure of and the Giri a Bushido Virtue it is a paragon of. Give the character the Disdain for Bushido Virtue and Paragon of Bushido Virtue for the respective Virtues. This causes rerolling of the Narrative Dice, and will find players looking for ways to either apply their Giri for the beneficial rerolls and either avoiding their Ninjo to avoid the negative reroll, or actively seek it out for the hope of triggering a failure to gain a Void point. While this may be sufficient, I feel that something more can be done mechanically.
    The answer to that is Strife icons.
    Strife icons indicate the mounting emotional turmoil your character endures. It is the small memories, the petty concerns, the microaggressions of the world slowly building up inside of them. Already, thematically, it FEELS a lot like the struggle between Ninjo and Giri, doesn't it? So, tying Ninjo and Giri to Strife icons on the narrative dice is movement in the right direction. So, how to make this work?
    My first thoughts are this:
    Once per scene, after a character has rolled their dice but before they are choosing their kept dice, the player may call upon the character's Ninjo and / or Giri as an inspiration. Alter any dice rolled showing a Strife icon to any other face with a Strife icon. Alternatively, this can be changed to any other face to scale the power up, or alter up to two dice or reroll them to scale the power down.
    Alternatively:
    Once per scene, after a character has rolled their dice but before they are choosing their kept dice, the player may call upon the character's Ninjo or Giri as inspiration. For this roll the character may spend Strife icons on dice kept as Opportunities as well as Strife.
    Again, these are just some initial thoughts.
  24. Like
    jmoschner reacted to sndwurks in Honor, Glory, Status, Ninjo, Giri - Why The Current Systems Do Not Work   
    Which brings us to the conclusion of this series of posts, how can the L5R RPG Beta fix this?
    Honestly, this is part of the reason this post has not gone up earlier. I was saving this for a "Focus Week" on Honor, Glory, and Status, so I could make a post about how that system does not work and what can be done, with a sideline wait of Ninjo vs Giri as a "Focus Week" in hopes. Those are, apparently, not coming as the game is moving into its final Manuscript format, according to the most recent email. This means that the people writing this game are completely happy with their current Honor, Glory, Status system and the current Ninjo vs Giri system, which is honestly disappointing to me.
    In naming "Ninjo vs Giri", L5R RPG Beta took a big step in the right direction of guiding players in the direction of the samurai drama. While previous editions of the game spoke of this conflict, none of the others stepped up to make it as central to their game as this version STARTS to. However, it drops the ball very quickly, and I hope that someone working on this project reads this post and hears my critiques, because Ninjo vs Giri CAN be salvaged, and made much more prominent in the game.
    By comparison, think about how important mono no aware is to the L5R LCG. "Nothing lasts forever" is a key theme of the LCG, and it informs the mechanics critically. The Fate mechanic keeps the game flowing fresh, and the game encourages you to use your resources before you lose them. It is part of what makes the game fun.
    Ninjo vs Giri should be the mono no aware of the RPG. Every time I spend Fate in the LCG, I question if something will be worth the investment, if it will last long enough to win me that Conflict, that Round, that game. Every time I pick up the dice in L5R RPG, I should feel the conflict of Ninjo vs Giri weighing on me when I am rolling. I should feel the need of Human Desire warring with the demands of Sworn Duty when I am picking my results. Ninjo vs Giri needs to be a narrative that pressures my character in every session, not just when the Discord Track says it is my turn.
    Look at the films of samurai drama which L5R draws its inspiration from, and you will see this. Every time Kanbei touches his shaved pate where his topknot used to be in Seven Samurai, he is FEELING the weight of his sworn duty ("I must protect people.") warring with his human desire ("I want to rest."). When Shinzaemon smiles in 13 Assassins, it is because he has been given a means of fulfilling both his ninjo ("I want an honorable death.") AND his giri ("I must serve the Shogunate.").
    So. How to do this? Well, for this, I would like to reach out to the community and ask for suggestions. I will be putting my own after this post, but I would very much like to hear your own opinions, and hope that this might get read by the people behind the Beta while there is still time.
  25. Like
    jmoschner reacted to sndwurks in Honor, Glory, Status, Ninjo, Giri - Why The Current Systems Do Not Work   
    And now, the Discord Track and Pivotal Scenes, the two systems which exist to interact with the Ninjo vs Giri narrative.
    The Discord Track, while a useful tool for GMs to plan sessions around, is ultimately a system rooted in a distrust of GMs and a distrust of players. While a Discord Track or something similar can be used to ensure a GM is giving their players a narrative which is rooted in the motivations of their PCs, this is what a good GM should be doing ANYWAYS. In order to tell a compelling narrative, your story needs to involve the motivations of the protagonist(s). In roleplaying games, the Protagonists are the PCs. If you are running an L5R game that does not on its own interact with its PCs human desires or sworn duties, then I would honestly contend that you should take a step back and figure out if the players at your table are having fun. If so, awesome and more power to you, but I have found that oftentimes, when an L5R game fails, it is because it ignores those aspects or gets them wrong. As such, the Discord Track is a good system for a less practiced GM to use to tell a story with a compelling narrative for their players and PCs, there is a reason I have been calling them the "Training Wheels". By making them a central system to the Ninjo vs Giri narrative, the L5R RPG Beta does not trust GMs to be able to write narratives incorporating Ninjo and Giri on their own, and does not trust players to seek out their own Ninjo & Giri during the narrative.
    The Pivotal Scene mechanic further reinforces this distrust of the GM, in regards to narrative control. While it does require express GM permission to allow, it creates what is effectively an ability for any player to pull the arrow on the Discord Track to their PC once per session. By interjecting a Pivotal Scene, the narrative might get derailed, even at the point of requiring a GM to step in and say "No". While GM fiat is always a crucial power to any roleplaying game, any system which requires a GM to say "No," to prevent abuse is not a balanced system and ultimately detracts from the game on a whole.
    Add to the Pivotal Scene the cost of a Void point to activate it, and its only mechanical impact is gaining or losing some Honor / Glory? It is asking the player to spend critical resources and time to pull narrative control away from the GM to force a "spotlight" moment, for a benefit which barely has any impact on the systems of the game. While the Pivotal Scene system may seem like it is giving players agency on its surface, in practice it is a system which allows abuse by certain types of players, offers no significant rewards for its inclusion, and actually pulls the game away from other narratives to achieve it.
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