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nameless ronin

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Everything posted by nameless ronin

  1. As written, I don't think it does. Whether it should is another question (I don't think it'd be gamebreaking if it did, so RAW aside houserule away if you want). If it was intended to, It's another case of FFG needing to tighten up their language. I don't think "affect" is all that vague either. Does the text of the kiho state it does something to attacks, or does it say it does something to unarmed profiles? That's all there's to it. They really didn't, or they did a very poor job. It's not a legalistic sounding term. It's a defined game term (what you attack with if you don't use a weapon). The use of this term is what's legalistic. I'd like to point out there's no mention of "unarmed attack profiles", only "unarmed profiles"; let's please not muddy the issue. As far as I know there's no other mention of profiles in the rules either, so there's no real point in speculating what "profile" would generically mean. There is no generic use of the term, only a single specific one. Actual weapons don't have a profile. This is the crux of the matter: if the text refers to unarmed profiles it is not referring to attacks and vice versa. Very specifically, this means Sharpened Ki does not refer to attacks, unarmed or otherwise. Thus, kiho that affect attacks are not eligible for use with a weapon in a one-handed grip through the Taoist ability. Kiho that affect unarmed profiles are.
  2. The point @UnitOmega makes is that Sharpened Ki is worded in a pretty legalistic way. Which is totally fine, because being carefully-consistent with rules wordings doesn't just serve to prevent ruleslawyering - it also makes it easier to write concise and, dare I say it, elegant rulesets (I don't think FFG really accomplished this with L5R). Using the "unarmed profiles" phrasing lets the designers create an ability that applies to a subset of kiho without having to list them (which would be bad, lists are inelegant design) and express a design intent for the ability not to apply willy-nilly to any and all kiho involving unarmed attacks.
  3. I don't think "affects your unarmed profiles" is all that vague. Because of that, I think this particular wording is a deliberate design choice and the Taoist ability is not meant to be useable with anything and everything involving unarmed attacks. That said, that leaves us with FFG likely having shot themselves in the foot with the Water Fist wording. Which, if true (meaning Taoists should be able to use it with a weapon in a one-handed grip), is something they should have picked up on before the Shadowlands book was even finalized: if you're creating a new ability that you want to reference a set of pre-existing techniques, I'd expect you to doublecheck those after all. Whether they missed it or not, I doubt it will get addressed now. I suspect FFG is fine with letting GMs interpret/houserule as they see fit, rather than bother with ruleset maintenance for something that isn't so broken it makes the game or even just the school unplayable. It's not like a lot of effort has been poured into the faq/errata doc so far.
  4. Which pretty much everybody seems to do, since the right kind of disadvantage is more of a boon than a downside and hey, free skill point. Ads and disads are the part of character creation I have the most misgivings about by far. Regardless, that's exactly what @Avatar111 pointed out: there is precisely one way to get 3 ranks in a martial art through character creation and that's school + mentor + heritage.
  5. Way of the Falling Star should be on that list as well.
  6. Yup, Theology is a big one. Wondrous Work and Elevated For Service are a bit iffy, but the other [+1 skill from X group] options all have at least one skill that will potentially see a whole lot of use from certain character concepts. Not up there with the two hotshot ancestries, but definitely not lacking on average either.
  7. It kind of is. Picking up a couple of shuji really rounds out bushi so they can contribute in intrigues beyond merely providing assists. As much as being able to combine kiho and kata is great in combat, it is something of a hyperspecialization. Conceptually it's definitely appropriate for warrior monks and it doesn't make them weak per se, but for me personally at least it's a major turnoff.
  8. My sister did language studies at uni (same as our parents). There were, naturally, students from all over the country in her faculty - all with their own dialect from their home region. The ones from regions with the heaviest, most pronounced dialects were always the ones learning to speak according to the official norms the fastest and best; the ones with less noticeable dialects always took longer shaking those smaller deviations from the norm. Unicorns know they're still considered near-outsiders, and they're surely not above using their reputation for foreign and exotic customs to their advantage when it suits them. But they also know Rokugan is a highly formal society and that they have to work harder than anyone to conform. Being able to adjust and present themselves the very best way comes naturally to Unicorn diplomats. It's the dice rolls shaking out how they did, I know, but to me it's kind of fitting in its own way as well.
  9. Famous Deed is the one where you actually get the heirloom - Glorious Sacrifice is the one where you might recover it later on, or not. I don't think "vague" is the right word here. They're actually very specific. It's because of that that the roleplaying value gets drowned out a bit. Changeling - the Lost 2nd ed has tons of this type of thing going on during character creation, but the non-mechanical possibilities of each choice get underlined each step of the way. Capharnaüm has tons of tables that essentially consist of [you did this or that; get a +1 to whatever], but at least before each set of such tables there's a paragraph or two outlining this is really your background you're creating. FFG's Star Wars and the Free League's Coriolis go into character concepts, and even a super crunchy system like Shadowrun throws a bone towards fluffiness here and there. The twenty questions, for a narrative RPG seem so very regimented, even if several questions are "come up with something about your character relating to X". Maybe it's just me.
  10. Well, yes and no. Unarmed profiles are basically weapons in all but name. In that sense the school ability is perfectly logical: kiho that affect a special set of "weapons" (unarmed profiles) can now affect a larger set (unarmed profiles and one-handers). The venn diagram concept kind of threw me because it doesn't seem to matter. That said, the Water Fist kiho now seems to suffer from the shoddy editing of the core book by not following the same template as the other elemental fist kiho - as written, arguably the kiho doesn't affect the unarmed profiles but the attacks made with them. I get that the Taoist Blade may not have been in development yet while the core book was being finalized, but that's kind of the point of editing consistency: it helps future proof the ruleset.
  11. I would have preferred the ancestries to be all about being a roleplaying hook or point of interest and not have too much overt mechanical benefits. In fact, it feels kind of odd they're such an uneven bunch given how much advantages and disadvantages have been streamlined and made to be formulaic. I like they're now a non-optional part of character creation, but it would have been a much stronger step in the process if the flavor aspect was pushed more. Now it's another way for players to wrangle some extra power from the system in many cases.
  12. I don't have the book, can't check the exact wording, but am I correct in understanding that your argument is that if the kiho doesn't explicitly modify all unarmed profiles it isn't eligible? A kiho that modifies the kick and punch unarmed profiles but doesn't mention bites or refers to unarmed profiles in general, without specifying any, can't be used for this purpose?
  13. As the posters above have outlined, samurai from outside the clan are possible but would be exceptions and inside the clan it's largely a function of what kind of daimyo we're talking about. As for this specific question, training outside the family but within the clan can be somewhat uncommon but certainly not odd, and depending on the family and the kind of training it'll even be common - the majority of samurai from a "shugenja family" don't have the necessary connection to the kami to be able to become a shugenja, so they'll likely get schooling elsewhere in the clan or they have to be content training outside a formal school. Training outside the clan is very uncommon: it takes large favours, a willing sponsor and possibly a relatively wealthy backer to bankroll several years of schooling - typical examples would be shugenja from minor clans without a shugenja school of their own, political hostages, or exceptionally gifted students being admitted to a particularly prestigious dojo.
  14. The Carpenter Wall is a much bigger and stronger fortification than Hadrian's Wall, and manned by a lot more troops as well. Which is a good thing, because Hadrian's Wall certainly wouldn't fare well against armies of Oni, trolls, ogres, goblins, dark Moto and other assorted tainted monstrosities. The Carpenter Wall also didn't "generally fail" at keeping out hordes of enemies. It was only breached a handful of times since the first one was built, which is pretty darn impressive if you take into account what it's up against and how long it's been standing. Small mobs and individual Oni occasionally slip past, yes, but not hordes of enemies.
  15. That's kind of my stance on most problematic mechanics. As long as it's for the sake of a fun and good game, we can put up with a little inconvenience. In this particular case, if importuning as a non-shugenja (or pseudo shugenja) becomes problematic and ruins the fun just kick that out.
  16. I'm not above picking a nit to prove a point and the editing of these books continues to be a disappointment to me, but I really can't bring myself to allow for the possibility that kicks and punches are not (meant to be) unarmed profiles.
  17. Strife is only indirectly about the expectations of the Rokugani society. It's about being dutiful instead of indulging yourself. Conforming to expectations is not a goal in itself, it's only a goal because it is part of being dutiful. The whole game assumes the player characters want to be proper samurai. You can deviate from that aspiration (sometimes with mechanical consequences), but the idea is that the PCs try to follow bushido as well as possible (with specific focuses depending on their clan). In that sense there is little difference between ronin and clan samurai - the game expects a similar attitude from both. Reactions towards ronin will likely differ from those towards clan samurai, but that's primarily a function of status and reputation - an honorable ronin who holds bushido in high regard will be treated the same as one who doesn't, at least until he proves his noble character. So, you can play a ronin who doesn't much care about being a proper samurai, and that will kind of clash with the strife mechanic, but you can play a clan samurai with the same attitude too and that will have similar consequences. Don't worry about it being a ronin game. If the strife mechanic feeling right for your game is important to you, worry about the characters - regardless of their status.
  18. It gets kind of iffy moving resist checks to the end of the turn as well though - I mean, the outcome of that check can be beneficial to the attacker as well and should certainly be of interest to the attacker in the first place. I think the bigger issue is what opportunities can allow you to do and especially which opportunities can be created by certain types of checks. I think if resist checks get limited to success/failure outcomes, no opportunities (nor strife) that'd be a significant improvement already. Opportunities are great in general, but a number of specific instances are not good for the game.
  19. You assume that the rules as written work correctly. I don't think that assumption holds water. As written, @JBento is correct. That is the correct timing going by the rules. You compare successes against the TN after resolving opportunities for that roll. That implicitly means the TN can change after you make the roll but before you determine success or failure. We can certainly debate whether that's how it should be or even is intended to be, but I don't see much room to argue whether that's how it is.
  20. How easily disadvantages are triggered (or advantages turned) is really dependent on the GM and on how the (dis)advantages get interpreted. I can see this working out really well in some groups, particularly ones that don't have a broad mix of characters, but arguably the GM needs to enable it to an extent. Then again, enabling the players is most of what a GM is supposed to do anyway in my opinion.
  21. There are definitely things I dislike about the strife mechanics and even about some aspects of opportunities, but this is the main advantage they bring to the system. R&K is great, but the risk/reward aspect of previous editions doesn't always come across as very elegant: massive overrolls are just good luck gone to waste and while pushing your luck can be fun, repeated failure through unfortunate rolls even when you're conservative with raises can be offputting. Moving raises (pre-roll decisions) to opportunities (post-roll decisions) removes the gamble, but that's not too bad since it's still a roll of the dice which means there's an inherent risk (even if I'd have liked the system to scale a bit more with regards to success/failure) and it lets the player make the most of a great roll. The addition of strife makes sure the opportunities don't get out of hand.
  22. Falling. There are several techniques that (can) inflict conditions, Bleeding being among those. Also, I'd say that not being able to defend against damage is involuntary, and it results in a crit. More to the point, I don't really get what you mean by "inherently playing as pacifists". Players can choose not to inflict critical hits, yes, but they can also choose to keep inflicting damage past the point where their opponent can defend against it or use one of several mechanics to trigger a crit without first exhausting their opponent's fatigue reserves. It's a choice, and nothing pushes the players towards the pacifist option over the lethal one. Honestly, going non-lethal is arguably the harder choice to make. Incapacitating someone without inflicting crits is not an easy thing to do.
  23. In this edition you never need ranks in something to be able to roll for it. School skill or not doesn't matter either. You just assemble a dice pool and roll, if you only have ring dice in the pool so be it.
  24. Gambling is somewhat different than trade. A samurai with gambling debts might turn to others for a loan, but he'll do so on his own initiative - not the potential lender's - unless someone with a ulterior motive who found out about these financial struggles intends to get leverage over him (a typical Scorpion ploy). Those he's indebted to due to gambling misfortune might extend credit, but that's not a loan. Regardless, this is not commerce unless the indebted samurai tries to offer some of his belongings to square his debts (and this will likely be construed as a gift or a favour in order not to suffer social stigma). Trade samurai are involved in tends to be shrouded - it's looked down on, so certainly when it involves transactions between individuals (not treaties or large transactions) it's handled discretely and samurai pretend it was something else entirely. Gambling on the other hand carries no such stigma and can be done openly and publicly. Gambling debts can be acknowledged without shame. Welching on a bet is a major no-no, of course.
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