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  1. Depends a lot on situations. I've had PC become ronin for making local peasants suffer on other clan's holds. I've also have a seppukus for instigating revolts in karmicaly disturbed places (the whole place actualy ended up with a gaki of slaughter landing in the village during the revolt and making finishing what his name implied, village was pretty much a wreck).
  2. I agree, killing some local heimin at random is technically permitted for samurai. You just accelerate the speed at which they'd reincarnate. However this also means a complete fault regarding the virtue of compassion (for which any samurai would be at right to challenge you to a duel or explain to you how your ancestors are shamed by your actions) and a major breach of etiquetteif you are not owning the lands. Any Landlord can ask your personnal lord for serious consequences and your lord thus has to ask for your seppuku for his honor's sake. Even though you are technically beyond reach as a samurai, any local lord higher than you that estimates himself insulted by your actions can ask for your punishment. Also your actions don't just concern your own honor but also your family's reputation. Aside from that, random murders get the kolat happy or can often end up with a problematic spirit messing up the area. I should also mention that peace in rokugan is something quite precarious. Wars have been declared by much less than visiting other clan's lands and acting random. Even if it's not a major plotpoint, I will go straight into this occasion to give my players a good sight of the mess they've made.
  3. Of course, Though what I meant is that Rokugan is by far one of the worse places to mess around with guards. You will often face worse than a simple arrest and execution.
  4. Hello ! Sorry about calling in late once again. Schedule is always busy. 6. Some were good but most were just meh... Even though playing on strife is fun it does tend to get lame as time goes and the game is forwarding. Doji Diplomat, Kuni Purifier are quite fun to see play as they alter dice results to some extent though limiting them a little as the characters evolve might be good. Bayushi manipulator seems badly worded and it is complicated to see how you can accurately exploit it. Do you need to somehow learn the disadvantage that the targeted character has ? That would make sense narratively but also renders the ability hard to use. Or does it apply by default ? Then it is pretty much dumb : all you need to do is keep on pressuring someone and you'll learn his disadvantage just because the GM will have to do the reroll at some point. Kakita Duelist is kind of underwhelming. It basicaly translates as "you are good at cutting things". Where is that making my character a "duelist" ? Nowhere. You need to crit to make it useful. If you don't it doesn't. If another player (non Kakita) asks for the same sort of effects such as not killing a target or aiming at a killing strike, I would just raise the TN and I don't see why I should refuse them. So the Kakita duelist has no real uniqueness... Togashi Tatooed order is kind of ... dumb. Togashi tatoos are supposed to be made with the actual blood of the Kami Togashi mixed in the ink, enabling the monk to litteraly make miracles and surpass their human limitations. For instance they could breathe fire, jump at supernatural heights, walk on walls, and many more things ... The tatoos seem kind of lame here. These tatoos seem more like the tatoos that could be made to visitors (not togashi monks) as a gift/reward and would make for nice advantages but not much more. Akodo commander is ... way over the top. Removing strife from character to add some results gets way to powerful as the game goes on and the character levels up. The scaling seems insane. Likewise Ikoma bard is really rough gamewise and can end up messing a scene through sheer mechanics. Same feeling goes with the Shiba Guardian. On the other hand Togashi tatooed order, Kakita duelist, Bayushi Manipulator feel to weak and are easily shyed out by players. During character creation a lot of players were interrested in these schools but backdashed when the abilities were explained to them. they ended up going into the other school of the same clan except for the Kakita who was a hardcore fan of the school. Togashi tatooed order sort of had all the magic it used to carry sucked out. Now it's just a bloke who can improve skill rolls. Went from being awesome to being meh. Kakita duelist is weak and the player now feels like he should play something else. The GM (me) feels like he should ceate new sworn enemies for some of his players. Bayushi manipulator seems badly worded and it's complicated to see how you can accurately exploit it. Do you need to somehow learn the disadvantage that the targeted character has ? That would make sense narratively but also renders the ability hard to use. Or does it apply by default ? Then it is pretty much dumb : all you need to do is keep on pressuring someone and you'll learn his disadvantage just because the GM will have to do the reroll at some point. Here are some general feels on the schools. What annoys me most is that there is little feel to the evolution of the character. When you gain a school rank you just get better on your school ability... Nothing much new happens regarding your character. However some of the scools get insane as the ranks go higher. Scaling is a major problem. As they are, the scalings on the techs seem to make no sense on higher levels. Feels like your bushi is good at 1 thing, and only 1. They are going to overspecialize themselves. At higher ranks some Techs become pretty much broken (shinjo outrider reducing the TN by 5 pretty much means horses make the impossible possible, Akodo commander going pretty much into trance in battle instead of being a commander, Shiba guardian cleansing the strife from characters at insane speed ...). Limiting the evolution of school techniques altogether and adding new techniques that unlock when you reach the appropriate rank might be better. Different little bonuses that don't scale but allow you to modify dice results in certain situations showing your character is better at this, rather than the current overload at higher levels. Otherwise TNs will make no sense for tests asked to higher level characters. The rules explained on modifying dice results, adding/removing rolled dice, adding/removing kept dice feel like they are unused when they could generate a lot of fun. There should be more ranked school abilities (2 through 5) with small effects to give the players something to look forward to when ranking up. Ranking up should be made slower (IMO) Ranking up feels generic and underwhelming, The current system encourages players to powerlevel and minmax instead of creating a truly unique character with quirks and surprises. Getting back to the older insight system would be much better. Rokugan is a place of Karma and everyone wishes for a deeper Insight (which is a path to illumination) and pretty much anyone should be able to follow his own path for this. Samurais evolve as they understand the world and find their place into it, not just because the bushi gets better with his sword. The current system pretty much grinds the player's freedom and tells him how he should level instead of sending him to discover the world and realize himself, pushing his philosophical and physical limits.
  5. Don't forget the setting : in Rokugan, killing a guard (samurai or heimin) be a major way to get yourself into trouble even outside the village. Random kills are not welcome in Rokugan : they might mess up the general karmic flow of the place (yorei and gakis galore) or will end up with the local Daimyo asking your lord for your seppuku (or for some other thing that will put your party in trouble). I generaly make sure that my players never try things "the easy way" by making them pay dearly whenever they do.
  6. Also, it's good to remember that, contrary to european swords, the handle and guard on a katana are very easy to change. Technically speaking, the more wealthy/lucky samurais would have different pomels and guards for different occasions (formal, parade, war,...). Therefore it's easy to hide the fact that your blades are mismatched. However newly forged blades would often benefit from more advanced forging techniques and general knowledge (curve of the blade being important to optimize its use, length, tempering, ...). But ancestral blades have more chances to have their spirits awakened and being nemuranai.
  7. It is sadly the feeling this game is giving me (and my players). A lot of freedom has been sucked out of the game. Previous editions were not perfect (by a long shot), but they were flexible and allowed to create with and around the rules instead of withstanding what the game throws at you.
  8. There is a training aspect, but it kicks in when a samurai steps in the dojo to prep for that new technique he has been looking forward to. Previous iteration from the game distinguished between advancing rank and learning the new school rank technique. You'd need to be rep rank 2 in order to get the right to learn some new technique, whether it is advancing in your school or beeing allowed rank one in some other new school. You'd be allowed to step in and learn the tech. Narratively speaking look at Shiba Tsukune or Doji Kuwanan they trained in different schools (lion for both) due to favors obtained by their parents. They weren't in because they were better. They were allowed in because it was deemed honorable to have them train at said school. Asking to get the tech through a specific set of skills seems odd lorewise. You enter the dojo then train. Not train then enter the dojo. Adapting this rulewise would enable for more character customisation (which I feel deeply lacking in this game so far). Again schools like Kenshinzen (and others) are meant to be elite so they a sure to put in a barrier in order to prevent random dudes from trying to learn from them. In those cases the honor is more like to be a training session with one of the school members in exchange for some favor. For instance : crane courtier needs X, they manage to obtain it at court from one of the lion's courtiers but in return the courtier wishes to have some form of training for his yojimbo about to go into a trial by duel with a phenix. You'd just get a simple training sessions to prep but not a whole school graduation. If you'd wish to become a Kenshinzen and learn from them you'd need to be able to defeat a Kenshinzen in a regular Iaijutsu duel.
  9. I have to disagree on this point. Samurais don't go to school in order to "graduate" with a specific set of skills. The "schools" have also much more of an idea of prestige. They won't train you in their specific teachings because you show much promise in some elements (except in the more advanced stuff like Kenshinzen, Kensai, Doji innocent or Bitter lies swordsman for instance), but because you have the standings to go to said school and would probably bolster the schools reputation (senseis will go all "XXX trained here"). There IS a small and notable difference which is that even if you are not 100% on set with the school you can receive the teachings not because you could be worthy but because you could make a fine representative.
  10. Hence the problem in this rule setting. Shadowlands taint's slow corrupting effect should be transcribed better, and just as much as the temptation of the power it gives to the character. As it is in the current case it aint that much of a deal. The taint should pretty much have its own mechanics. Thank you. It does neither in the current state and I agree that I could pretty much do my homebrew in order to have the effects I want but that is not exactly what my point was. What I tried to underline is that some (a lot) of the advantages should not be translated into dice but into fluf. I used to dig on advantages and disadvantages in order to create new scenes and playing the same scenario with two different groups landed me different results due to the facts that I would often have to create some new scenes and situations (unplanned) in order to have things play out. And I wouldn't be the only one creating scenes altogether - my players would often create it themselves and all I'd have to do was ask thme to roll their skills if needed and add up some consequences. Scenarios could go in really interesting ways instead of ending up as solved by rolling dice. I called that smart playing because it would encourage players to end up finding ways to manage and go around their disadvantages rather than just try to bruteforce encounters (social and combat). Hence why in this system, I am in the situation where I need to pick one : 1 : play disadvantages and advantages narativelly - the rules are useless (meaning they are bad - then why do I need the rules and this game altogether?) 2 : Play advantages and disadvantages with the rules - In that situation the fact that everything is solved the same just pushes the players to bruteforce encounters. Smart play pretty much dies here. What's more is that it even breaks the flow of the game to have to reroll the dice making the whole system feel clanky and crude. Assemble dice pool - roll - rerolls (in both directions) - manage strife - resolve. I like the strife system (though it needs severe tuning) but this is becoming to much. V1 to V4 was pretty much assemble pool - roll - resolve. I agree but then it means that there is a certain lazyness from the devs. The rules are meant to be a support to the story, not something to argue about. The problem is that in a lot of these cases (such as the ones we are discussing about) the problem comes from the fact that all disadvantages apply the same way rulewise. Hence trouble in translating things into words. The system as it is now lacks flexibility and creates these problems. On a side note : as this iteration of the game goes, you have the skillset which is now flexible and the rules which are not. This is both good and bad as if your player know the rules they can help the GM but also hinder his ability to create. Problem being : I play RPG in a local collective where pretty much every one is a GM but on certain games (I'd say 4/5 games apiece) so we don't really have time to learn new rules. Meaning I will be the only one knowing the system so I will get the flexibility back (houseruling ftw) but lose the support and need to drive the players through their characters and the approach system... This is really hard on me gamewise. I need relaxation, not more work. I agree that this makes creating custom advantages easy but on the other hand it also reflects a certain lazyness from the gamedevs. I am one of the rare ones in my group to know the lore enough to create disadvantages on the fly or to orient players. So I wil have to prepare them pre character creation and add a list of extras to offer the players during the character creation. But as it is I can't just give the rulebook ready to run and tell them to create their character while I'm preparing the next scenario or playing a game of X wing/L5R CG and answering questions as they come. I personnaly don't have that much free time so I need to have something ready to roll and needing only minor tweaks when I buy it. Sorry to bring that out here, but it IS a major point in buying a game for me. On a side note, Fire taint was just for an example. My point being that these types of disadvatages/advantages that are relative to the choices that the characters should make storywise (such as the example you've given which is a pretty good one) should (IMO) NEVER be solved by dice not even for an option. Either the character is writtenasa complete moron, or you create a situation in which he will ponder the idea to use the weapon and wonder if he can actually control it, but due to the amount of consequences this implies, it is better to have the player decide what he will do : - wield the naginata to defeat some major threat and risk becoming corrupted (or maybe hunted down by imperial forces). Maybe you could even do it willingly thinking that as a samurai it is your duty to sacrifice yourself for the good of the empire. Even if it means becoming tainted and turning against your friends in the end. - leave the naginata behind and try to overcome the hardship in the most difficult way (calling in favors in order to have military support, risk losing face if you fail, perhaps even losing life altogether (via seppuku or death in combat)). Moments that create the drama should not be left to the dice to determine the outcome. As said it is a roleplaying game. The players act as the character and should be made to experience difficult choices not just randomizing the outcome. Hence why I deeply dislike the mechanics around those kinds of disadvantages.
  11. Hello, Sorry I'm late. Was busy. Not really. The new system being so broad, it's hard not to find a skill to use. However, a lot of my players have been complaning about the general lack of customization. Especially the more bushi orientated ones. They gained a lot of freedom via the redced skill list but lost the quirks they used to love in their characters. Some of them, even thoug they were bushi, used to fear duels and had to invent other approaches in order to reach their goals. Now they just don't pay this much attention and rush the more social parts of the scenarios. I just find the reduced skillset to be kind of boring. We would try both but here again, complaints. The rulings are ok, it's just that whichever advantage/disadvantage you are playing with it's basically the same deal : "X applies - Reroll two dice". I play RPG to play a character not dices. Playing a game of dice is not exciting, it's just teddious and makes you feel like you're just playing some boardgame. This new edition starts to feel way to much like a dice game and not an rpg. Some of the players are even comparing the mechanics to x wing... I would not call that a good sign. I don't mind the custom dice and, as far as I'm concerned, I was even ready to see the game system abandon Roll and keep altogether when FFG bought the franchise. But I positively hate having the dice do all the work and pretty much start playing the characters for my players. Prodigy, Ishiken-do and a LOT of others (all curses, blessings, ancestral weapons, favors, influences from the spirit realms, epileptic, Shourido, ...) Also the system needs to implement the points used in V4 or somthing similar, with the costs changing from one clan to another. this allowed players to clearly identify clans. Crabs : large, good with weapons, etc,... Phoenix : softhearted and having an affinity with the void,... Shadowlands taint also needs a full revamp. The current version does not reflect the evolutive side of this illness. V4 version would have the player see his character slowly falling to the dark world and madness and with an acceleration as the thing evolves. Here it's just "you got tainted and are now cursed - reroll 2 dice for a ring". Being the GM, I have a lot of trouble to find something worth the interst to build around the system and the disadvantages in order to have the game become dynamic and keep the payers on their guards. *Massive rant incoming.* Sworn Enemy now feels horrible and needs a complete revamp. This version of the disadvantage doesn't let me build any relashionship between the PC an his enemy. The relationship is now a simple rule : you hate him and need to reroll dice. Geez. In V4 I would make a specific character to oppose to my player's PC and match his personnal background. The relationship didn't need to be about the PC hating the character, just about someone wishing the PC's demise. Hate isn't necessary. Here is an example : - A phoenix bushi was a popular hero (heimin recognizing him more easily than samurai) and the player had conceived him as an excellent swordsman, but had a sworn enemy. The enemy was a Kakita duelist (female), who had heard of him through folktales. However the heimin, being what they are, had perverted the tale, implying the PC was an excellent duelist. All his enemy wanted to do was simply challenge him. The PC being incredibad at Iaijutsu, the group would have to keep making up excuses for the PC to avoid a practice duel. The risk was that if he couldn't avoid the duel, then his enemy would realize quickly that he was a complete fraud. And the funny bits were that the duelist was a real rumormonger, always gossiping. So the PC had to find ways to avoid shaming himself in a duel (that was a very long running gag) knowing all to well that the NPC would end up telling everyone. Rulewise, I comboed disadvantages in order to create the PC's potential demise. In the system you are proposing in this new edition, this sort of interraction is possible but way less fun. Also this system also does not encourage creativity and smart playing. One of my players had an ishiken do pratician (his first character), being able to see PCs and NPCs advantages and disadvantages through spells. So when I needed to hide an info from the players, I would often have to find ways to hide the more compromising disadvantages for certain characters. The spell relied on the cost of the advantages and disadvantages so in the end I could make the pc blind or be cursed by onnotangu in order to prevent players from knowing to easily that he was actually tainted. This actually led me to create very good NPCs with a personnal backstory often very detailled. My players often ended up liking the villains and antagonists just due to the simple fact that things worked into each other and always ended up surprising them. Some of the disadvantages feel just plain underwhellming and I strive to find them a reason to exist. Shadowlands Taint (Fire) is a pretty good example. A character with this will have to reroll dice when trying to realize the negative outcomes of their actions. Two possible situations : 1- The player is fairly experienced in RPGames and will automatically RP his character as such without rolling dice. This disadvantage has no reason to have rules associated in that case. The character should be merely written as brash. 2- The player is inexperienced or tends to metagame his character and will ignore his disadvantage. I then have to ask him to roll dice in order to see if he will realize the consequences of his actions. At this stage I will have complaints from the said player that he cannot control his character the way he wants it. This led me to asking myself why should a player roll to see if his PC can realize the consequences ofthers actions. It feels dumb. If a player asks me what are the consequences to his actions I will not give them to him. I might help him think but no more. Either he is smart enough to understand by himself. Or he isn't, in which case having him roll dice is stupid because it pretty much won't solve the problem. There shouldn't be any dice thrown for intellectual feats other than keeping your cool (otherwise everyone is heroic) and knowing stuff (just to even the game between experienced players and newcomers).
  12. Hello, been trying this with a group of players some having played only v4, others brand new to L5R, and others being veterans of v3 but having skipped v4. This is my general feeling after stydying the game via character creation. Both good and bad. As far as players go : the 20 questions process has oriented newcomers nicely in their character creation. But for veterans, it clearly felt like a hindrance. Whereas it was an option in v4, I clearly felt like my more veteran rpg players disliked the process, loosing a lot of freedom in their character creation. As far as the GM (myself) goes : felt bad. I always take the time for character creation for myself in order to create some archetypes (a talentuous but loose Kakita duelist, a disciplined and dutyfull Utaku battle maiden, a trickster Bayushi courtier, and a few others for instance). Here it felt bad because I lacked freedom to make them match to the idea I had on their personnality and background. I often create antagonists for campaigns and I personnally feel the need to make them memorable for my players (boring NPCs will never incite players to invest themselves in the campaign and create memorable characters). Clearly part III "Honor and Glory". Defining Ninjo and Giri clearly was an overall mess. A lot of players ended up reluctantly picking the suggested samples for at least one of the just because they could make up opposing ninjos and giris. The fact that one needs to pick something fairly specific didn't feel right. Some players wished to just skip this step. Some went home with this part of their character sheet blank and feeling bad for not sucessing in this part. As a GM I went home feeling bad because some of my players felt bad and unsure if I should keep at this game with the said players (which never feeling I like). Also I allowed players to following some more undefined Ninjos and Giri for the simple reason that they were way more simpler for me to cary in game and much more interesting than a lot of the suggested samples that felt pretty... empty. This leads me to one of the major problems I have in this new system : some people can live without true personnal desires simply happy about their lives and waiting to find something that they deem worth fighting for or the one thing for which they would suddenly forsake bushido, others can have multiple conflicting desires or duties. That doesn't necessarily make them bad characters or create bad fiction. Quite the opposite imho. You can never predict when someone is gonna suddenly start to change due to what they've been through. The other part that felt wrong was the inheritance table. They work right but feel wrong. A Shinjo Outrider being in excessively deep connection with its mount felt more like a battle maiden trait. The Kakita duelist felt fun but dumb (why would they be the only samurai able to master the strengh with which they can strike ? Aren't all samurai trained enough to master the severity of the wounds they wish to inflict ? Once your blade is cutting through flesh and that you are striking, can you really modify the wound you are gonna deal and diminish the damage you are dealing (have dealt at this stage) ?). Those are just examples but I don't like the feel of these abilities. All thoughts considered, the mechanics of school abilities feel crude as is it. On this I must underline that I have always favored subtle differences. These abilities feel a bit ... meh. Aside from this, as a GM, I have a few issues with this character creation. Characters feel way to generic in this system. 2 bushis are way to much alike and the same goes for courtiers and shugenjas (and sometimes different classes feel alike ...). Even if you change the families, clan, rings and advantages/disadvantages, they feel without depth. In other words, you change the looks but not the feel. This is I believe due to the way to simple skill system and the techniques. As I read it the system aims to relieve the GM from a bit of presure and work. However I felt the opposite during character creation. If I want to add more depth to the game I need to focus on which of the optional subskills will be necessary in the campaign. This is impossible to foresee (also don't have the time) : I've had experiences with 20+ pages scenarios in which the players go for completely unexpected directions and the GM suddenly needs to improvise and adapt the game and scenario on the fly for quite a few hours. So my answer naturally came as ALL OF THEM. But with this system you don't have enough customization margin to make characters using all the subskills (for instance you'd risk having courtiers without sincerity or courtesy). My guess is that there should be 2 sets of rules in character creation or developpement. One for a more simple setup and one for the more advanced stuff. Imho it should not be a problem if your PC invested in a "useless" skill : this is an RPG : people don't necessarily start an adventure with usefull skills or knowledge. You can't know what fate (the GM) is gonna throw at you. The excuse for a more simple skill system feels lame. Your character evolves with what happens to him, and learns the skills that destiny forces upon him. The ring system feels wrong in character creation. It gives some sort of concept of a character but the fact that both physical and mental traits are obliviated by tendancies (because this is what rings give out : tendancies) is unsettling in few situations. The system as it is allows minmaxing in weird ways. For instance a Hida bushi with 3 earth ring would be able to repair complex works of art (say TN = 2/3) on a random good roll than say an artisan from any family that would have only 1 in his earth ring ? I've had a few players come up with weird ideas. I'm saying this here due to the fact that it has a direct impact on character creation and is also a consequence of this system. A smart player will always be able to theorize and analyze without rolling dice. So you can end up playing dumb but have your character be smarter than you are or playing smart but have your GM telling you : "roll it to see if you realize : no your character lacks the wits for this type of theory". I feel pretty bad about this. Knowledge can be determined by dice in order to avoid meta gaming and having to much difference between players over the general lore (l5r newcommers vs veterans). It feels wrong to start asking players to roll dice to know if their PCs have the wits that they pretend to.
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