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  1. I also hope they somehow address the multitude of tables needed to play the game. It was to the point where myself and others compiled master list tables and handed them out to players. Things to spend opportunities on was the main culprit; at least include some reference materials or something.
  2. With the right group of players and a good GM who understands how approaches enrich outcomes/narrative of the game; there is the potential for a really fun game here(assuming some other things are fixed). My beta group weren't those players and I was still learning the best way to use the approach/skill system. Still, if I was running the starter set I'd probably white out the approaches on the sheet and write in "describe how your character goes about using their skill" or something along those lines. We still had a lot of fun; just ran into a few speedbumps and I think some players just wanted to see who could do the most damage, probably the wrong game for that mentality.
  3. Bit out of context so let me try to clarify. Its not that power gaming is bad. It is that the game is incentivizing it in addition to be played against its own design, which makes it just less of a game. I wasn't saying power gaming is bad as a fact, I was stating that it is being incentivized. 1) I think you misunderstood me here. I was referring to "The presentation of the game, with approaches clearly on the character sheet encourages power-gaming". Gaming the mechanics to some degree is expected. Players don't need to know the approaches to describe their characters actions. The GM reveals the TNs right before the roll; maybe the GM needs to ask exactly what and how the player is performing their action before assigning the TN. No, character sheets have a lot of information that is required, whereas the approaches listed there is more of an aid. Eventually the players will learn or the GM may even tell them/they may ask. But based on behavior, not having them there is a bigger deal than it seems(particularly for new players). 1.5) This part is just my opinion, but when playing a roleplaying game and people opt to go out of character for mechanics repeatedly, eventually the game loses depth and ultimately enjoyment. I agree GMs are not perfect either. This is exactly why they shouldn't be on the sheet. This type of dialogue stems mainly from players judging your arbitration of their approach. This is a huge area for potential conflict, and again, while it won't eliminate the problem removing them, leaving the approaches listed for them is encouraging this behavior(again, some cases it may not be an issue). 2) Yes, this is also possible. No I don't hide the rulebook. The whole point is by not having them there it encourages the system to at least function temporarily the way it was designed and hopefully players develop a "muscle memory" if you will. At the very least they will learn how this part of the game was intended to work. Then, if they still want to game for better ring rolls at least they will be used to the process; as we've said the mechanics for the game fully take into account the possibility of using the same ring for everything. By doing this, it encourages playing the game the way it was designed(which is better). 3) Of course, with 8+ billion people of the planet statistically anything is possible(Just joking here). But yes, again, gaming the mechanics is expected and cannot be prevented if there is any mechanics at all. And yes it is fine for those players, who for whatever reason, use the higher ring; in fact it is a component of the variety of ways to build a character(a good thing). The point is to not encourage this while not punishing it, but encourage the game's own design; a player thinking and describe their approach as opposed to picking it off a list. For those players who really don't want the immersion and must know the mechanics, they will likely look in the book or somehow find out as you said. But at least they will know that is not what was intended. The explanation of approaches contradicts having them listed under the rings on the character sheet. If that is what FFG is going for, they should just say "choose your approach from the list" in the explanation. 4) Yes you are absolutely right, it is a problem with the players. Some groups may never have this issue, but I can guarantee you quite a significant percentage of the beta testers have. Good game design shouldn't incentivize power gaming while simultaneously contradicting its own design. I don't think I have ever had a group that was able to communicate and make sure their playstyle fits together, or everyone on the same page. Its a social situation where people sorta adapt. I wish I had players that did this. But as an aside, the game design should not create so many opportunities for conflict, with the approach system being one of many. 5) Well said. The beta was easy to power game, making the mechanics awkward at times(I won't go into detail). You misunderstood me when you said rpg > power gaming as that was not my point at all(personally I believe in a good balance of role play and mechanics: too much of either is problematic). It is that the game is encouraging power gaming by incentivizing it, more than it encourages its own design! This really causes a lot of problems throughout the meta of the game and in turn the quality of the game itself. In my beta test, I had to constantly ask players to ignore the list on their sheet, and describe to me what their character was doing. Sometimes I would ask questions for them to expand on things in order to determine what approach they were using. Most of the time, the approach that I came up with was not the one they chose prior to thinking about the task at hand, either because they couldn't think of a tangible way to use that approach in the circumstances or because they realized they were just arguing for the mechanics of the approach they chose initially. Sometimes a dialogue between us on some approaches that were borderline where I would usually let them choose between 2 that would fit their action. The approaches listed on the sheet were a distraction more than anything. Humans don't like being told they can't have something, so it helps if we take the puppy out of the window, even though the puppy is still for sale. I really like the approach design but for it to work it has to unfold as described. Player describes their action, GM determines skill and maybe asks to clarify how the player is going to accomplish the action if needed, GM determines skill, approach, TN, and asks for the roll. There is no rewinds, such as "Oh well I don't want to analyze the debris(because that's the wrong ring), I wanted to survey the room". Eventually players may realize what their characters are actually good at but its not expected that going into every roll they should know what ring possibly even what skill is going to be called for; maybe after some time of playing they will be able to. Hope this helps
  4. Absolutely. If he's really doing it because that's how they are roleplaying then that is exactly the intention! Much more fun that way rather than a dry mechanical player. Someone also mentioned different outcomes with approach even on a successful roll. (The example of whether or not a guard who was charmed, bribed, or intimidated would remember you) The big point here isn't whether or not its ok to spam your highest trait. Its about how it can(but not always) negatively affect the roleplaying aspect and things that could be done to minimize the incentive to do so. I can't force my players to role play or this wouldn't be an issue.
  5. Thanks everyone for the feedback. You are all hitting on things we discussed much earlier in this post and I completely agree with you. We've already discussed varied TN's, exclusive approaches(only 1 approach works), and different outcomes for a successful roll based on what approach is use(love this).Its clear that what I said still hasn't been understood by some so I'll try again. One point I was trying to communicate is the need for better definition/examples of the approach system and as Ato mentioned above, tie in approaches with the rest of the rules. I have already expressed in the above posts. The other point, which I have also mentioned a few times now, has a couple parts. The presentation of the game, with approaches clearly on the character sheet encourages power-gaming. This is not an opinion, this is fact, by seeing what approaches are tied to what ring, the game itself is incentivizing power gaming and not roleplaying. This information should be somewhere for the GM to check after the character describes their actions, to say, "As you try to recall what you know about poison from stories and your training roll your earth ring". Instead it can become forced(now I recognize some of you may not have this problem or feel that it takes away from the game, which is why when I posted I explained dealing with certain types of players this can become a problem) where a player just looks down at his sheet for the highest ring, then looks under approaches, and says "Oh, I uh try to recall what I know about poison. I'll now roll my 4 earth along with my skill." Some of you are saying this is normal and fine as that is their earth oriented character's style, maybe it is. And if the opportunities spice up the story in the process, fantastic. But would they have chosen to do that without knowing it was directly attached to the Earth Ring? Some players might decide to analyze the poison, even though their character has a high earth ring(assuming they are allowed to use it). Yes, players will eventually realize that how their character goes about actions determines the ring used, but this should be kept as vague as possible and for the GM to determine from the very beginning. It may sound nitpicky, but in play this minor change actually has profound impact on how the game is played. After a roll or two the player may now know "As I recall, this type of dress indicates ...I roll my earth ring." This obviously is unavoidable so, as I and others have mentioned, the power gaming cannot be prevented. That's not the point here. Now for you devil's advocates, even with approaches on the sheets some players may not do this. In fact, it may be beneficial in those cases as they can easily see what approaches allow what dice justified by that is just "their style" and it giving more character. Fine, yeah I get it. But instead of thinking about how their character will address the subject, they are thinking of how they can use an earth approach. To me this takes away from the roleplaying experience and the immersion into a fantasy world; whether it is someone's earth personality or not. But the Beta rules still say the player should describe their action(what they are doing-skill- and how -approach- they are going about it) and in my experience the game is a lot more fun when this is done. I just don't think most players need/should have a list of approaches to describe what their character is doing. Its obvious to me that people are aware of the value and importance of approaches beyond just choosing what your highest ring is, which is why this topic was on my original post. I was just sharing a couple of things that I will be looking for that reinforces this idea.
  6. Yeah, makes sense. Although each toon may differ. Yes it is a feature, and it is an option in the game. I also think it is cool. The part that isn't cool or intended is what has been said about approaches. Always trying to use earth approaches isn't who you are, its gaming the system, destroys roleplaying, and often makes the GMs job more difficult than it should be.
  7. I failed to mention I didn't play 3rd or 4th. Played 1st and 2nd extensively and neither had armor absorption. I've heard 3rd and 4th both improved on the game but I just don't have any knowledge of them.
  8. RE: Assisting Spellcasting Great discussion. This is exactly why this should be clarified in the rules. I think mechanically this could go either way; its an arbitrary decision on whether a non-shugenjas' actions could affect the outcome(waving a censor, praying, choosing/providing an offering). But because it has such an impact on the game, this definitely deserves some attention(I'm not 100% sure it wasn't mentioned in the beta, but I had players assisting the shugenja, usually the monk). So in the event there is a hopefully civil argument, falling back to the rules provides a clear resolution without the blanket: GM's word is final. I think avoiding the "GM's word is final" resolution as much as possible keeps players from feeling that adversarial relationship.
  9. Thanks sidescroller, you have some good insight here. 1. The answer to your question is: yes. Your piano example is actually the exact reason why. You see, a piano isn't designed to be played with a sledge hammer, as you pointed out. This is exactly what I am getting at. The game isn't designed to be abused with 2 huge rings and the same earth approach over and over. But, unlike in the piano example, by design the game is encouraging this behavior. It would be as if your said piano recommended the sledge hammer to produce a finer note. But when the sledgehammer is used, the piano is broken, same in this case with abusing the approach system, which you mentioned. But the sole difference is a design that encourages this. 2. I too have found success in this method. While I was running my beta game, I certainly had higher/lower TNs for different approaches and in some cases there was only 1 approach. While this certainly does limit the abuse, in practice it just isn't enough mainly because this issue is so embedded in the core mechanics. A character will still be better off by pumping a couple rings. Which is easy to do since there are no traits(removed from previous editions, a mistake imho). The real solution to this issue is to play the game as it was designed(including different TNs for approaches and exclusive approaches). Players describe their action, GM interprets the approach. The problem is the players that don't always voluntarily want to do this. So to minimize this potential for conflict, this behavior first should be discouraged(1 below), and second, clarified(2 below). All that needs to be done is: Remove the approaches from the character sheet to get players to focus on roleplaying and not on mechanics. "Narrowly define" in the rulebook (as previously mentioned in this post) the approach system. 3. Ain't that the truth. But these are design flaws that can be easily changed to minimize conflict with power gamers and rules lawyers. Minimizing conflict is a key component to game design. I'm not an opponent of power gaming and it is impossible to eliminate; game design needs to take this into consideration. However, playing quite a bit with the beta rules proved power gaming really hurt the game, arguably broke the game. This is almost to be expected in a beta and fortunately there are some minor tweaks that can be made to help with this. I like your GM power gaming idea, reminds me of the Sworn Enemy disadvantage(from versions past not the watered down version in this edition). I tend to avoid this at all costs as I don't want to create an adversarial relationship with my players. Some players may be cool when you flex your GM muscle, the group I had was particularly sensitive to this. I(and others) have DM'd for groups that this type of action can occasionally lead to arguments, maybe even bitterness. The Beta recommends awarding players a void point whenever the GM uses a "forced" situation; like villain escaping, forcing plot elements. My group was not fond of this, the power gamer especially. He felt his character in heavy armor was untouchable. (In my game a group of armed ronin ambushed the players during a hunt for fish eggs, they threatened to kill them if they didn't hand over the eggs. Above board I informed them fighting these ronin will lead to certain death. They complained that it was forced, I explained this is the only part of the story that is forced, but I still sensed some bitterness. They asked why can't they try and fight them. I explained, again, it was part of the story and to avoid spending an hour fighting a combat you are destined to lose. Classic stick-up scene they just couldn't accept. )
  10. This brings up something similar to skill approaches. Because of the potential for using assist, maybe it needs to be defined for things like spellcasting.
  11. Late reply. But it felt as though the "critical" part of "critical strike" was misleading. Most crits are soaked with a fitness roll, or spend a void to parry and damage your weapon. The game is much slower paced than previous editions where damage was much more open ended, armor didn't absorb damage so once you are hit you will be taking FULL damage from that weapon. Huge difference in gameplay making FFG edition far less lethal(also armor is just overpowered).
  12. The group was participating in the Topaz Championship(I converted 1E to beta). The Hida bushi was enjoying some sake in a Scorpion owned Sake house in Tsuma with a fellow Hida. As they were leaving, he noticed one of the serving girls left a note under the bottle. It had the word "help!" scrawled on it. The Hida left but vowed to return, as his personal desire was that to punish those who abuse their power. The Hida returned after the tournament and requested a meeting with the owner of the Sake house. He then asked the Bayushi what he wanted for the serving girls release. The Bayushi's 10 koku offer was a bit high, so the Hida began intimidating the man. He settled on 5 koku and a small favor. A somewhat well established gang of bandits in Scorpion Clan territory had caused him some trouble a while back and needed to be punished. In a village south of Beiden, with the group located, the players began asking around about these bandits. A man in a sake house offered information for a price. Again, the Hida intimidated, warning him of the consequences for refusing. The man ran but was caught buy the rest of the players waiting outside. The Hida bearhugged the man, breaking bones, and was eventually given information of the whereabouts of 3 gambling dens belonging to the bandits known as the Forest Killers, a well known and particularly problematic Juzimai(gang) in the Unicorn, Scorpion, Crab, and Shinomen Forest areas. They decided to crash the party of one of the dens, ultimately killing 4 gang members and hanging a badly beaten gang leader from a tree by his foot. They left notes basically a calling card for those who knew they crossed the Sake House owner in Tsuma. They returned and freed the geisha, who asked for an escort back to her home in Beiden. Turns out she was a spy, who would later claim her family had disappeared and ask to serve the Hida as a personal assistant. During the Topaz Championship, the players had became too savvy about the plots of Bayushi Sugai and were identified as persons of interest. When the Hida was spotted in the Sake house the plan was set into motion to spy on them. This would later develop further when the players became involved in a Lion/Scorpion/Hare Clan struggle that developed out of a "fake kolat" cell led by a former member of the kolat and was being contained by the Akodo family by using the players because of their distance(nobody was Lion Clan) and unaffiliated status.
  13. "Per Scene" seems to be the direction for a lot of powers. I tend to frown on "per day" powers that incentivize sleeping or waiting for the next day. This just seems to mechanically impede the game and can really take away from immersion.
  14. Great point, keeping dice isn't affected by skilled/unskilled. Yeah, some of my players caught on to this really quickly and began abusing assist. Also when goblins attack in packs of 5 with 4 assisting it can get messy but actually makes sense(although the crab bushi was complaining that they were able to injure him as it was impossible for a goblin to wound him solo). Something to look at when the rules are released. Could be that it is intended to be this way. In my beta testing it seemed very good but became one of those things where anytime someone rolled there was an assist. If it was my design, only skilled assists allow a keep and maybe even only skilled are allowed to assist. This is something that should have been on my original list, because it comes up constantly. Or just nova everything and do whatever it takes to recharge(if possible). This is my main complaint DnD 5e as coupled with it is designed for X encounters per long rest, it really begins to force the DM into building content that is time sensitive or somehow limits the ability to recharge limited use abilities. This is another reason why I like "once per scene" type abilities. There is no way to game the system, you simply get to use the power once per scene, unlike in DnD 5e, and even other systems with spells per day or similar limiting mechanisms. Excellent point. So FFG got this one right, we just need to hope for good balance in spells and assist!
  15. 1. I think this is a bit of a stretch, as the final spell lists and mechanics haven't been released yet. Also, its difficult to see how listed beta spells will perform in a full version (taking into account the meta: enemies, xp curve, techniques, revisions to rules etc) 2-3. "..with absolutely no limits" is simply not true. There are many abilities that have limitations, some useable once per scene, the range of the ability(0-1 for instance), one buff running at a time etc. Were you more of referring to them in a more "uses per day" kind of sense? The answer to that statement is that a shugenja could have a few spectacular rounds and a few "boring" rounds or spread their spells to have "well balanced" action. Also, as mentioned before perhaps their spells have powerful effects that warrant limitation, maybe this will not be a blanket spellcasting rule but rather something like other Kata/techniques that limit the power by scene. Similarly, maybe bushi spend a few rounds moving into hand to hand combat, which could be considered boring, before they get to really shine with their martial prowess. Spell conservation leading to boring gameplay as a shugenja player sitting with no ability to contribute is definitely an issue and for game developers something to think about. I'll use DnD the 5E example of the cantrip rework, a major change as this was a problem in 3rd edition. The "cantrip" approach could be used in l5r, deeming some spells available at all times while others require resources. Something else I want to mention is the difficulty of some spells is much higher than "strike" and other Kata which sits at 2 successes, which could largely explain why spells per day isn't addressed(yet?). My final thoughts on spellcasting: If it were my choice I'd go with limitations based on individual spells(exhausting certain rings, once per scene, day, etc). This does add some complexity to the game but makes sense from a rp perspective as well as a balance perspective and avoids situations where the shugenja just passes their action because they are out of spells. Thanks Titanium Mage you bring up some really good points. I have had situations in the beta with both monk and shugenja feeling gimp. However, the shugenja ended up feeling really powerful and the monk started performing well damage wise, though still regularly took a beating until she put on armor. Assistance has been discussed in beta updates, in order to assist the player must be able to actually describe how their character will help in a tangible way, otherwise this mechanic can be abused. Furthermore, unskilled assistance only grants a ring die, so the bushi without theology(or other applicable spellcasting skill) assisting a spell caster would only offer a ring die(d6) where a skilled assistant would give a skill die(d12). Great points.
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