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Everything posted by GaGrin

  1. It's for the reasons that @BigKahuna outlines that I recommend going to 14 point game with three people (and I suspect this would hold true for four, but I'm in the same boat as you @ntguardian regarding getting people together at the same time and place so I can't say for certain). It only really adds an extra turn or two, but we found that without it the game ended just as it seemed to really be warming up.
  2. ^ This. Being a sneaky SoB helps of course. If you can convince the other players that your potential future commodities are worth blocking one of their future attacks (of your choice) then more power to you. The *real* fun is when you trade away someone else's PN for your own advantage without the original player groking it.
  3. I just want to remind everyone that if folk are scoring too quickly for the game state you can always increase the number of points required for victory and that's a nice and perfectly vanilla option. Playing to 14 points with three players is a completely different end game than playing to 10, I see no reason why this wouldn't hold true for 4, 5 or 6. Depending on the pacing you want, you could also consider changing the total number of revealed objectives and the ratio of stage 1 to stage 2 and even the limit on held/scored secret objectives for your particular home games. If you're all playing really passively, I'd be very tempted to reduce or remove secret objectives to prevent the sudden sprint that happens when everyone is sitting at the same points. In a crowded game you might say 10 stage 1 objectives, in a sparse one only stage 2s. There are many, many levers to pull on to tweak it if you're into building your own house rules.
  4. Alternative options for some of the content in the base game might be interesting. Rather than adding additional units, adding additional or alternative upgrades to the research decks would give more play space without increasing the number of units any side needed to manage at once. Same for alternative objectives or alternative objective pacing - you decide the pieces you want and they replace or augment the content in the existing game rather than bloating it. I really liked the idea of leaders, but never actually got them to the table in 3rd. It was always considered just too much effort for so little reward and interaction, which is a pity. If they put them in, I'd like to see them be on the power level of promissory notes. Ideally, you shouldn't be able to easily forget or ignore them.
  5. The clear answer is to not make this trade in the first place since it cannot result in a shared victory.
  6. Depends how much work you're prepared to do. From a purely component based pov the practical limit is 8 (since there are 8 strategy cards) but if you're going to hack the game anyway you *might* be able to figure out some solution to that. Either way you're not in Kansas anymore so I wouldn't expect it to work as intended. Could be a fun experiment if your group is into that. Side note: I'm guessing you have 3rd Edition (10 species) so you might have better luck checking for 3rd Edition stuff. There are official expansions to take the game to 8 for 3rd Ed. 4th Edition comes with 17 species.
  7. Wow. So, the only way this makes sense is if you assume that the check where the sleeping character was vulnerable (i.e. not a conflict scene) was ended with a failed stealth check and the character is technically still asleep but stirring. You change modes when you leave narrative rules. Still seems daft tbh, but it's also very easy to ignore at the table.
  8. No, you don't. You can still come back from incapacitation within the fight, you're just open to more severe injury and unable to hit back. You still get to pick a stance and take non-check actions. When fighting with low damage weapons and high resistance armour, this is certainly not the same as the end of the fight.
  9. If you've rolled the dice and your players aren't abiding by the result of the check, the problem is behind the character sheet not in the rules.
  10. So, here's how I deal with these issues when I run games. I ask "Can you be convinced of this?" If they say it's possible, we roll. No need to get more complex than that. YMMV. This is both true and false. The check is seeing if the NPC (not you, the GM) understands this and chooses the correct tact. If they succeed, then the player being convinced and the GM discuss what that means. What did the NPC actually say that convinced you? If the NPC has reason to know the effective argument for certain and uses it directly, then you could bypass the check at your option; in many instances I would still make one because manipulation can be detected even if it isn't being directly acted on and that adds nuace to the situation.
  11. So... don't make that a test? If it's antithetical to the character concept you shouldn't roll. Just like you wouldn't pick up the dice if someone said they wanted to pull the moon from the sky. Now, perhaps that Maho can't convince your Kuni to flip sides (that's asking too much, clearly) but they *might* be able to bargain for their life, or convince them of some deeply unsettling truth (actually true or not) that begins to undermine the character's strongly held beliefs. That's not a stretch. That's an opportunity.
  12. This is along similar lines to my thinking. That, or rolling and keeping additional dice on your severity reduction test when you spend void and damage a readied weapon.
  13. I just want them to change the names of techniques if they are going to give NPCs different abilities. One name, one rule please.
  14. There are some overlapping issues here. Firstly, expertise appears to be missing, but secondly, the skill groups themselves are essentially goals and some of the tasks we are used to assigning ourselves in play do not easily map onto an approach. There are effectively 25 methods in the game at present with each of the actual skills approximating a specific sub-application. Refine, Feint, Analyze, Trick, Con Restore, Withstand, Recall, Reason, Produce Invent, Overwhelm, Theorize, Incite, Innovate Adapt, Shift, Survey, Charm, Exchange Attune, Sacrifice, Sense, Enlighten, Subsist You can't do things not covered by those approaches and some skills don't appear to fit into these 25 slots. Sneaking? Riding? They don't clearly fit a column. This issue already exists on several skills, medicine for one, but also meditation and sentiment which makes more sense as a social skill, except for the fact that it's verbs match the scholar approaches more closely. At least if you wanted to add investigation you could do so easily, it's a no-brainer for the Scholar group. Infiltration only fits if you squash it into the Air line, but doesn't work as a row hence skulduggery - the general "bad stuff" skill. Both the trade and artisan groups also have the biggest issues with overlapping or overbroad skills, but I suggest this is to do with trying to shoehorn skills into groups for the express purpose of creating narrow application of expertise. If you allow any skill to apply to any of the approaches, it becomes alot easier to make skills fit the system, but then the skill groups themselves become obsolete. I'm not 100% convinced this is actually a problem with the game and not just a problem of expectation, but it's interesting to see how very different this really is. If it's suffering from anything, it's that it's clearly causing some confusion in how to interpret the system.
  15. Yeah, like I say, I'm not sure I agree with the specific skill choices. I just don't think the entire concept is bust just because there isn't a catch-all for awareness. It also makes it trivial to adjust the skill options for your own game (as they recommend we do, based on our preferences) since you're essentially just picking how broad or specialized you want expertise to be in your game. If you want investigation as a skill... well, just add it. Just like you can split martial arts: melee into 27 varieties of specific weapon arts if you really, really want to. Only the approach has mechanical implications, the skills are just the number of dice you roll for an approach.
  16. You can destroy any abstract system with specific enough examples; that doesn't undermine the concept that people are *generally* better at noticing out of place details when they are familiar with the subject at hand. Individual capacity (as opposed to expertise) is already covered by rings and advantage/disadvantages. Also, your computer example is flawed. Your friend's computer experience isn't distinct from your own under an abstract system like this, so there is no way to distinguish your internet-fu, from his networking expertise unless we created those as sub-skills. If we did, then the system would infact work as intended.
  17. Just to play devil's advocate for a moment, I have to say I like that there isn't a general perception skill. If you want to do general (unskilled) perception, you just make an air, water or void check. Outside of that, people who have expertise in their particular fields are going to be more likely to notice things related to that experience. That's a plus in my book. If you want to be the ubermench super-sleuth you need a broad set of skills. This is appropriate.
  18. I'm not defending the skill choices, I'm simply explaining where they fit. Pick your approach first, then see if you have an appropriate skill. You could make an argument for detaching the skills or groups from approaches entirely and I would probably agree but, that's not where we are.
  19. I don't see the problem with forcing players to abide by the results of social checks. That's the game. You have a vigilence stat for a reason. Playing a character who believes a thing that you don't believe as a player is part of actually roleplaying and not just playing yourself. Embrace the dramatic irony.
  20. Less attractive than taking a severity 12+ hit? That seems like a fool's errand to me. Ultimately, if the weapon is less important than the character (i.e. most of the time) you're going to do the parry no matter the degree of damage. Swords and other weapons are replaceable in a way that your multi-hour character development is not. Honestly, I think the parry rule is bizzare as written. Automatic reduction effectively nullifies the fight-ending hit once per big clash and the once/session thing is strange given that you already have to have and pay void AND suffer damage to a weapon, both of which are limited resources. Personally, I'd rewrite it from scratch or ditch it completely. Either assume parries are part of the combat abstraction (which we have to to some degree), or make dead-parries a last ditch effort not an automatic save.
  21. Because skills aren't intended to be the element that determines approach under this system. The skills are just sub-specializations of approaches. Investigation in a general sense is the survey approach. It doesn't matter what survey skill you use, so long as it's appropriate. Same for martial conflicts, social checks, etc. You might also decide to use the analyze approach to get indepth details or the sense approach if you wanted to see if the PC detects something they aren't actively looking for.
  22. The additional complexity here is that it's not just about the stances and their opportunities/effects, but also about your character build. You can't really look at any single rule in isolation and get a sense of the implications. I would say, for instance, that Striking as Earth is part of this equation for most Bushi since you are going to have at least 2 Earth and the extra Resistance on top of crit protection is clearly very strong defensively. For other characters... maybe not so worthwhile, even if the crit/condition protection is nice.
  23. We could probably debate endlessly on this subject, but I prescribe to agency-first play. That's literally all I was saying. If you have an ending in mind before the game begins you are robbing yourself as the GM of the experience of discovering where the game goes as well as creating prescribed success for the players and robbing them of their freedom of play. I'm not making an absolute statement here, obviously you can and will play how you want. It just seems from my perspective like you're missing the best bit. This is actually part of the problem. Even if one accepts the notion that the game is designed to be purely PvE (which is a whole other argument, but lets ignore that) the Players will look that their own abilities and expect certain things to be true -both fictionally and mechanically- based off the mechanical implications of their own ability. If the NPC rules differ this doesn't just make things strange for the GM, it directly affects player decision making and the comprehension of the fictional space. If you give the PCs different rules you are setting them apart defacto in the fiction as well. This might well be what you want. If one wants a story of The Chosen going off to face down the Great Evil (yadda-yadda) then sure, the PCs aren't people of the world, they're forces moving through it. For any other theme or style of play, this is disruptive to verisimilitude. Of course, one can work around this and it has advantages, but the downsides are real and pervasive.
  24. Hey, whatever works for your group. Though honestly, if you want full control over the direction of a story, you'd be better off just roleplaying (not with a game system). IMO the entire point of having a randomised element is to force unexpected complications for everyone, in such a way that you cannot have a pre-determined endpoint. Your players at the table can do anything that their imagination and sense of play ambition will allow them to. If they want to be shogun... they can be. Or, more likely, they can try and fail to be. In contrast CRPGs aren't remotely the same kind of beasts; they can't react to you so they have to be predetermined even if they have branching choices. But this is super off topic.
  25. Why even play? I don't think I'll ever understand this particular attitude to running RPGs, but each to their own I suppose. I think there's a place for it, but I strongly agree with the sentiment. Combat needs to accelerate towards conclusion and climax. If you drag it out to the point you're testing your players' endurance instead of the characters' then something has gone horribly wrong.
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