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  1. Our third session mostly revolved around combat (which I found to be really fun), and wondering about uses for the Medicine skill. I was going to ask a bunch of questions regarding Medicine, but Max answered them before I had a chance by posting the beta update. (Thanks Max!) We haven't had a chance to try social conflicts, or duels yet, but combat is very cool. While it's definitely not as deadly as previous editions, I did find it descriptive, and realistic. Especially combat with a minion group! Having all but one minion take the Support action, and add both rolled and kept dice to the combat check is scary! Even the big burly Hida Defender had some difficulty with that group for a round or two. I did have one question maybe someone can help me with. Is there a way to increase the severity of a critical strike beyond the base? For example, it seems like the base Deadliness of the hammer should be a bit higher than 3. I understand that the higher base damage will cause it to crit more often or more quickly, but it seems difficult to raise the crit severity without specific school techniques or invocation enhancements. Am I missing something?
  2. Makes sense. I agree, it's appropriate for the genre. Thanks!
  3. We played our first actual game session on Tuesday, and I have to say, I really like the task resolution in this edition. While it is similar to the Star Wars die mechanic, I really like that each skill can be approached in five different ways, depending on what Ring best represents the character's intention of how they're using the skill. I love that mechanic. The system is also reminiscent of the roll & keep mechanic of previous editions, but the custom dice give the players some choices to make when they're choosing which dice to keep. The need to balance strife with the successes can create some very interesting roleplaying possibilities. I also like the stance mechanic during combat. Each stance allows a character a different ability for the combat round, so again the player needs to decide how the character will approach each round. Do they attack all-out to do additional damage, or do they remain cautious and not let their opponent surprise them by spending any opportunity? Do they change their tactics from round to round? We didn't get too much combat in during the game session, but from what I could see, it still seems relatively deadly - if not as deadly as some of the previous editions. I do believe that a starting character should have a few more ranks in skills. My players and I discussed this, and came up with a couple of different options: First, instead of selecting three or five skills from their school during character creation, perhaps each character should start with a rank in each of their school skills. This would represent the basic curriculum the student would go through at the school. Alternately, maybe some additional skill ranks could be awarded during the game of 20 questions. Maybe when a character is deciding on their advantages and disadvantages, a skill rank or two could be included that could be tied to the story of each advantage or disadvantage. Or, perhaps as part of the question involving who the character has learned the most from. That might also be a good place to add a skill rank which could be tied to character background. With regard to the physical disadvantages, the way they are written makes me think that the game is becoming less realistic and more cinematic with this edition. Most of the physical disadvantages do not specifically call out any drawbacks to combat, which gives me the impression that physical disadvantages are to be handled more like they are in various anime. The blind master or the master swordsman with only one arm, that sort of thing. Personally, I think that how those dis-ads are run comes down to a choice of the realism that the GM and the players want for the campaign. If you want characters to be able to play the one-eyed bowman or a Unicorn Battle Maiden with one leg, then go ahead. But if everyone decides that a bit more realism is what they're looking for in the campaign, then many of the physical dis-ads would not be appropriate for combat oriented characters.
  4. If a razor-sharp weapon has already become damaged by not causing damage when striking a character in heavy armor, does the Damaged condition also make it lose it's razor-sharp status? The rule seems to indicate that a katana would remain a razor-sharp weapon after being damaged by contact with heavy armor, so that it would be Destroyed after a second hit. I'm wondering if the intent here was to have the katana become Damaged, but then no longer be considered a razor-sharp weapon, so a second hit would not Destroy it. Thoughts?
  5. I've started a campaign to playtest the L5R beta rules. These are my thoughts and reactions. Legend of the Five Rings Beta Test Campaign Session One My players and I spent all of session one on character creation, and I think the creation system used in this edition is really good. The Game of Twenty Questions has been a part of L5R roleplaying since the first edition, but has never been intrinsically tied to character creation before. I think using the twenty questions to determine Ring & Skill increases, as well as Advantages & Disadvantages is a great way for players to make decisions that will shape the personality of their character, as well as allow them to personalize the character. Two bushi from the same clan will have similarities, however the choices made by the players when answering the twenty questions will end up creating characters that are completely different. They will have different Ring scores, different Skills and Skill Ranks, and different Advantages and Disadvantages that will make each character unique. I also like the way that the twenty questions mechanic gives the GM a few plot hooks for each character before the game even begins, which will allow more personal stories to be used right away in the campaign. The players in this game have already given me a number of ideas in this area. One character has a strained relationship with his family, while another is a playboy who's left a trail of broken hearts in his wake. I can't wait to start using these backgrounds to create trouble for the players! There is a certain price to be paid for creating characters with such detailed backgrounds and personalities: character creation using the twenty questions mechanic does take some time. It is not an overly quick process coming up with answers to questions like how the character should die, but the result is worth the time investment if even for it's novelty. Seriously, how many of us can whip up a D&D or Savage World character in less than five minutes and be ready to go? Of course you can, but how much do you know about the character you've just created? You know that he's a strong red-haired barbarian who has a sword and some leather armor. After you finish the twenty questions to make a character in this version of L5R, you know who their lord is, and what the character's primary responsibility to their lord is. You know about their family, and their relationship with them. You know about their flaws and weaknesses, and you know how they came about, and how the character deals with them. You know what the character is passionate about and why. This depth of character knowledge allows a much more enriching roleplaying experience for the first few sessions of a game, when compared to other games where your starting character is just a set of numbers on a character sheet. Now, this is not to say that you can't rush through the twenty questions, get all of the mechanical effects recorded onto a character sheet, and be ready to go. You can do that with this system. However, I think you would be missing out on the opportunity to create a character that you know, a character with a history, and beliefs and feelings, goals and regrets right from the start. I know which character I'd rather play. My one concern about the twenty questions mechanic is whether or not the starting characters have enough diversity in their skills. A young samurai fresh from their gempuku is expected to have knowledge and experience in a number of areas, including law, history, etiquette, war, and the arts. A few sessions will help me get a better feel for whether the beginning character may need a few more skill ranks spread through the creation process. Tune in next week for a summary of Session Two.
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