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  1. Gm here. out of character it's basically that. In character the Lion kuge wanted to appear like his decision to cast out the children of a popular Taisa was reasonable and used the presence of the magistrates to help that illusion. He got them there in the first place by calling in a favor from Gen'ichi.
  2. In the Advantages section, Benten's Blessing describes two uses of its advantage as being social skills to charm someone, but it describes them as using the Air ring. The social approach for Charm is the Water ring, while Air is the Trick approach.
  3. Genesys Core is on Drivethrurpg as a pdf. It's very possible that we get a PDF release of L5R as well.
  4. As the open beta ends, I am optimistic about the direction of the RPG. There are a large number of directions that I enjoy, or like the direction of. However, I want to talk about school balance a bit more, as the week intended to discuss that was sidelined to give a (much needed) new pass on dueling. School Balance: I originally wrote a very long paragraph detailing my issues with some of the school technique design and the Shiba Guardian in particular, but I’ll keep it short. With the current design of a rank 1 technique that scales, then leading into a rank 6 technique for mastering the school, a once per scene utility-only technique feels un-fun compared to the fun and fluffy (and less restricted, in most cases) techniques of other schools. If you’re committed to the rank 1/rank 6 model, rank 1 balance needs to be on point and every option should be fun for the players to get them through the five ranks it takes to get the other school technique. Otherwise players are going to struggle with watching their Akodo Commander and Kitsuki Investigator teammates use their fun and interesting techniques while they wait for someone’s strife to build up, then remove it, then go back to making regular attacks for the rest of the scene. My biggest concern here is my players. People in my play group have had a consistent distaste for the current designs of some of their favorite schools (the two most notable were Shiba Guardian and Kakita Duelist), and as a result the new edition, barring some significant changes in the balance here, may be a hard sell for those players. Aside from that, I did want to discuss this week's survey as well, specifically in areas of ninjo/giri. I had more I wanted to say on the survey, but the choices were very binary in how they were presented. As a result, I’ll say them here: I think having scenes for people to outline their ninjo/giri is a solid idea. And I think that having glory or honor staked on those scenes gives mechanical weight to those concepts. However, I have concerns with how timing will interact with the ability of a player to call for a scene. Further, I think the void point cost is unnecessary, and may have the unintended side effect of void-reliant builds using them less than builds that do not have that reliance. I think these should end up as being scenes that players can set up with their GM for no cost beyond staked honor/glory, but should also require some advanced warning to avoid the potential problem of players calling for scenes at disruptive times.
  5. I don't think just doing the first and last techs, with the "core" tech scaling is bad. I think it opens up a lot of space for homebrewing new schools, since instead of having to balance five techs, you just have to balance two. The problem is that if your base tech is weak, like I think Shiba Bushi still is, then you're stuck with that for five ranks before you get a new one. FFG has to really nail the balance on the basic techs in this system.
  6. Reading today's email on the changes to the Akodo Commander school and the Shiba Guardian school, I felt something was off and had to say something about it. Fundamentally, having different timing restrictions on these abilities imbalances these abilities more than you can feasibly correct through simple buffs and nerfs. As an example, I'm going to talk about three schools; the Doji Diplomat, the Bayushi Manipulator and the Hida Guardian. The Doji Diplomat is a 1/scene school that lets you add kept dice equal to their school rank in Opportunity dice. This is a powerful ability, it adds a lot of strength to a single dice roll and lets you make use of opportunities more reliably at low ranks and more separate opportunities at high ranks. However, you can still only do this once per scene. As a result, this school gets weaker and weaker the longer a scene goes on. A particularly long intrigue, and the Doji spends one turn being a Doji and the remaining turns lacking a school entirely. Conversely, the Bayushi Manipulator's ability has the opposite problem. It does require some setup, and is weaker, but able to be used on every roll provided you meet its other criteria. So here, the time issue goes the other way. On a check where you have to convince a single person, you'd rather have a Doji who can use multiple opportunities on that singular roll to get the best possible outcome. Fundamentally, these schools are imbalanced. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. I would expect these schools to do different things. The problem is that how they're imbalanced depends on a really odd part of games, namely how long scenes tend to be. If you make the mistake of picking a Doji in a game where scenes have several rolls in them per player, you're going to have a hard time. Similarly, in a game where a social conflict might be to talk down one or two people, the Manipulator is going to be weaker. While normal imbalance can be planned around by determining the campaign (not taking a Doji in a Thousand Years of Darkness campaign, for instance), guessing average scene length is less of an obvious prospect. So, what's the solution? Well, the solution already exists. The third school, Hida Guardian. The Hida Guardian has a powerful ability that is once per scene use, but it also has a passive ability that is always on, helping them as they use heavy armor (which, for a Hida, is probably always). The once per scene ability shows its worth in short fights, while the passive ability gives benefit to having chosen that school all the time. To summarize, I believe it is unnecessarily difficult to balance schools between having a single always-on ability or a single once per scene ability. A more effective way to manage this balance is to have each school have one passive ability and one once per scene ability, to maintain school uniqueness when the ability is not being used, but allow for clever use of the powerful ability to turn the tide of battle.
  7. From the test one shots that I've run: •How is the process of character creation working overall? It's working fine. Some of my players have preferred to have assistance with it, while others have figured it out on their own without major issues. It's probably in a good spot. •If you or members of your group have been getting stuck, where has this been happening? •How are school abilities performing at the table? Of the ones used in my game (all at rank 1) Shiba Guardian- A little underwhelming. One of my players has played Shiba bushi in previous editions with their Void shenanigans and he misses being able to have cool duelist things too in addition to being a protector. In addition, the power feels too narrow, especially when compared to other schools with similar effects (e.g. Akodo Commander). Isawa Elementalist- Works well. Kakita Duelist- Very good ability, saved one of my players from accidentally killing his opponent with a finishing blow. Doji Diplomat- Player repeatedly forgot about his ability due to his general newness to RPGs, but seems useful. Kitsuki Investigator- Good, solid ability. Bayushi Manipulator- Didn't get used, player couldn't really figure out how to use it. •Are there any questions you have found yourself struggling to answer? The biggest struggle for me was figuring out Intrigues. I got there, but it felt like more work to figure out how they run, as a GM.
  8. Ran a one-shot on 10/22, here's what I found. • How much strife are characters accruing in a given session? People tended to run up strife fast early, but managed it afterwards. • How common are outbursts? Didn't have any during my session, but it was all of a short investigation+a combat for people unfamiliar with the rules. • How often are characters succeeding or failing on their checks? We had a character miss four straight rounds of attacks rolling 3k2 against non-Air ring targets. The shugenja had no problems due to rolling 5k3 for their primary spell. Might need to take a look at shugenja vs non-shugenja starting attack skills, since it seems way easier to get ranks in Theology than it is to get in Martial Arts. • How frequently characters are spending and acquiring Void points? Only one character remembered that void points exist. • How often are the GM and players struggling to find the right approach (skill and ring) for checks? We did fine on this one, though a quick reference would have been helpful for this and opportunities.
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