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Void Crane

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  1. Void Crane

    L5R Items

    Agreed. You can absolutely try to requisition ponies/horses from your Lord. If your Lord (aka the GM) likes the cost benefit analysis and thinks it's a reasonable request, then you can count on the horses arriving promptly. But if not, then not ... In one of the fictions for the card game, a character notes that one of the sweeteners given to the Emperor, when the Unicorn returned to Rokugan and sought formal recognition, was a pair of Utaku steeds. And the Utaku initially fought bitterly (although futilely) against it! I agree strongly that the Utaku steeds are simply not for sale. 250 kook for an exceptional Unicorn mare might be seen in some quarters as a very good deal (they don't sell the stallions to control breeding...)
  2. Void Crane

    Creating family heirlooms

    Really depends on what kind of campaign you want to run. In a story centered campaign go ahead and give them #2. And a story worthy of the "Curse." I like what Gareth said about using the heirloom as a tool/inspiration to tell stories! If this feels like too much of a jerk move you can add a situational condition to the negative quality. So it only activates some of the time. For example maybe your Lion ancestor was in the wrong concerning a feud with a weaker Phoenix samurai. Your ancestor demanded trial by duel and ... "oops!" ... the Phoenix died (probably "accidentally on purpose"). The Phoenix juuust muttered a death curse before bleeding out. That resplendent katana your ancestor used in that duel might gain the Cumbersome quality. BUT only when fighting a Phoenix samurai. (Or maybe only while in Phoenix lands.... Or only when used in a formal duel...). There are all kinds of conditions and stories you can attach together. Maybe an item with a connection to Lord Moon is unholy, but only during the 3 nights each month when the Full Moon is in the sky. As a note you can (of course!) do the same for an advantage. "It's a weapon dedicated to Ameratsu! The sacred quality only kicks in during the day (or even more restrictive - only when in direct sunlight).
  3. Void Crane

    LCG Lore Forum

    or sticky this to the top of the forum?
  4. Void Crane

    L5R Items

    Rokugan ponies are ... not that hot IMO. But they clearly are better than nothing and a faster way from A getting to B. I'd think...at a guess...that their price would be somewhere in the ball park of lacquered armor? At least that's my guess. (Horses aren't cheap to raise and represent a major investment of food, and resources). Unhelpfully there isn't any official guidelines. The real question you should answer is: How hard do you want to make it to get horses in your version of Rokugan? If it's hard, then getting horses is worthy of an adventure or two. And might cause hard feelings with a rival samurai who also wanted them. If it's easy, then the PC should be able to requisition them from his Clan. Most fighting samurai outside of the Unicorn are infantry. Or maybe dragoons (not Dragons) who ride to battle but then dismount and fight on foot. My opinion. Unicorn mounts are usually the province of that clan. And are not generally available for sale. You theoretically could earn one for services rendered.
  5. I don't know a lot about how the Badger have been displayed in past editions beyond the "gruff guys who guard the northern passes" but I do have some ideas on how to present conservatism. One is how you portray the teachings of Shinsei. Emerald Empires goes into this at some detail. Religious conservatives would think of Shinsei as an enlightened philosopher and his core work would be regarded as the Tao of Shinsei. That's at odds with the other more liberal traditions - like the more "heroic" tradition centered around the later Thunder Dialogues. The Crane love this version as it's dynamic and leads to great action-packed art...(instead of just a monk who talks). Conservatism is also *really* at odds with the Perfect Land sect that essentially think Shinsei was/is a god and you can get to heaven just by chanting a mantra. Given the Badger's closeness to the Dragon Lands, the Perfect Land sect may be a big deal to them. A second is how you portray food. Obviously they are growing or importing rice. But I'm guessing there isn't a lot of fish in the area. Probably the Badger eat more red meat than most samurai, and this can be a source of prejudice from many Great Clan samurai. If you want something a little more whimsical you can have a younger generation of samurai who have found "rebellion" in the appreciation of noodles...perhaps acquired with other culinarily "oddities" from interaction with the Unicorn Clan. Older more hidebound samurai decry this dietary drifting from the proven "true" way. A last thing you might try is to incorporate a distain for pragmatism and a valuation of their ancestors. Have the Badgers do things that outsiders might judge to be sub-optimal in some way. Maybe it might make sense to build a new bridge across a mountain stream that is closer to two villages ... but "honorable ancestor X" put the first bridge in an out of the way spot. So THAT'S where the new bridge goes whenever it needs to be rebuilt. Players should be given reasons to ask the question, "that's odd. Why don't they do X?" And the answer should always be, "Honorable ancestor "Bob" did Y so we now always do X." Good luck
  6. So as you can see by the electronic ink being spent on your question this is still something of a hot topic. In addition to everything said above I would note that Worldly Ronin works very well as a flexible platform to create a Bushi character. Talk to your GM, and just call it "Worldly Scorpion" for a Bayushi in good standing. Also...If the Imperial families are not going to an option for PCs in the campaign you are playing in, then you could cannibalize the Seppun Imperial Guard school from Emerald Empires to use as a Bayushi/Scorpion Bushi. I have never really liked the scorpion clan much (Duty first! And our duty to the Empire is ... to get everyone hooked on opium!?!) so the issue isn't that important to me. But you are not the only person who finds the lack of a Scorpion Bushi weird.
  7. Void Crane

    How Do You Refer To a Monk?

    The stereotype of the Togashi Monks (Ise Zumi) is that they talk in riddles that are vaguely prophetic or foreshadowing of future events ... but never make anything clear in the here and now. IMO its less an issue of trust (if they give their word to do X, then like all samurai they try to move Heaven and Earth to get X done). But they are wild cards! Everybody knows the Crane and Crabs/Lions/Scorpions have old rivalries and animosities. You can kinda predict what a Crane is going to do in many situations ... and that's true for the other Clans. But the Dragon Clan has always been aloof and the Ise Zumi are especially "different." You stick a random Ise Zumi in a sticky situation situation and you can't guess what they are going to do. Wild cards! AND they have "magical powers" ... that aren't derived from the favor of the kami! Bottom Line: An Ise Zumi shows up in the middle of your complicated plans? ... you have a problem.
  8. Void Crane

    How Do You Refer To a Monk?

    Ise Zumi would be addressed as Togashi san by most fellow PCs. That's an exception to the usual rule. I believe most monks would be referred to as brothers or sisters ... but it varies a little bit an Abbott gets a bit more respect. So for most monks it would be Brother Bob instead of Bob san. Most people who join a monastery (Fortunist or Shinsei) "give up" their family name. That said their family usually knows who is where and may come to them for guidance if something in their previous life becomes vital to some plan. It's not entirely unheard of for a prominent "someone" to return from a monetary in the event of a true crisis for his Clan. Its not easy to become one of the Ise Zumi ... you have to find your way to them up in the Dragon Mountains, and generally you don't succeed unless the Order wants you to find them. Once you become Ise Zumi you are Dragon Clan. The Ise Zumi are (effectively) the agents of the Kami Togashi...though they probably don't know that. An Ise Zumi can be expected to be occasionally be given orders from above just as any other samurai of a great family. Though it should be noted that the Dragon are highly individualistic and probably give fewer orders. And the orders appear to be inscrutable at first glance. Other Monastaries are not immune to politics either. But it's usually a different (cultural) front from *most* of the Great Clan rivalries. For completeness: In addition to the Ise Zumi we should also look at the Kaito shrine keepers as another exception of monks who definitely have strong samurai identity and an identified place within the Phoenix Clan. IN SHORT: Monk is not a one size fits all descriptor. There is probably more variation within "monk" than there is in "bushi," "courtier," or "shugenja." My opinions.
  9. Void Crane

    Castle Assault

    I'm not sure I understand. Its entirely up to your players to figure out what they want to do. And though players are famous for doing the unexpected, there really is only a few broad approaches they can take.... (1)Assault. Either through the gate or over a wall. They go in swinging. (2)Sneak in. Either a better way to do Assault (see 1). Or a black ops if your PCs have the right skills and temperament. Kill the ringleaders to inspire the rank and file to surrender. (3)Diplomacy/Mind games (4)Wait/Starve them out. As a GM its your job its your job to have adventurous action ready regardless of what the PCs choose. Some options may make more sense than others. If the ronin's leader is not in the Keep then obviously you can sneak in and kill him. (1b)Assault has the most permutations...but it's also the most straightforward. How many opponents do you make the PCs fight? And at what locations does it happen? IMO its generally not a good idea for low level PCs to be able to walk over a garrison behind walls. One it's not realistic for their skill level. Two, if they can do it here they'll want to do it in other places. Three why aren't other low level samurai doing the same thing elsewhere? IMO Storming the gate during the day in a full assault probably should result in high casualties (not necessarily the players) that cause their daimyo manpower shortages down the road. There should be bigger advantages for successfully sneaking in at night. Or pulling off a Trojan Horse/Secret Tunnel maneuver. (2b) Could be appropriate. Someone is in charge of the Keep. And they probably have a few "helpers" as their deputies. Even if the real leader is gone. If the PCs want to sneaky-sneaky get these people you need to know if they can slip in (walls or tunnel), what guards (if any) they need to sneak past, and how long it takes the camp to respond to the sounds of combat (sneaky PCs or the right spells or Kihos might make it hard for an alarm to be raised). (3b) Who do the PCs actually parlay with? That guy (or gal) is an NPC. What terms are acceptable to this ronin? the ronin in general? the ronin leadership? to the PCs Lord? There may be daylight there for the PCs to exploit. Ultimately this is up to you to set TNs and preconditions for success (We'll surender, but only if you kill Psyco Bob first...he terrifies us!). A group of Ronin might have issues with the current leadership and be "persuadable" to turn a blind eye to PCs "changing leadership" ... see 2. In the Alternative, maybe the PCs can recruit Ronin into their new clan (perhaps they need to pass certain tests...like eliminate those who resist the change). Or maybe the PCs find the people in town who are the ronin's hangers on, and get them to implement a plot. Like they have to lie and tell the ronin that they have to "rescue" their leader who "has been captured and will be hung at dawn!" Or send over spiked booze... Who are these people. How do the PCs gain leverage over them? (4b) Not very exciting but logical and historically effective. What additional civic trouble can you create for the PCs while they linger for a week or two to starve them out? A skirmish from attackers in the Keep? A daimyo who wants the PCs to storm the walls? A procession of Priests/Monks who demand to access the Shrine. A riot in another part of the city? The Kami by the Keep become unhappy because the Drunken ronin have disturbed it?
  10. Void Crane

    RPG Playmat

    On the positive: I like the artwork. On the negative: It's not very functional. Basically a nice placemat if you spill something on the table. On balance: Going to pass.
  11. RINGS: I agree strongly that you want to get your rings to 3,3,2,1,1 at creation. Unlike some of the posters I do not think the choice of Rings is as critical as some people have said. When I get to play a PC I have a Daidoji Iron Warrior and my starting Rings were 3 Earth, 3 Air, 2 Fire and 1 in Water and Void. I concede that Void 1 creates some problems with gaining and holding Void points. But Void doesn't help any derived stats...so I think it's a decent trade off at creation. Raising my Void to 2 was the very first thing I advanced after creation. I also raised my Water to 2 before eventually finished Tier 1 and moved on to Tier 2. IME Earth and Fire are usually the rings that are most useful in combat at lower levels. Earth for defense. Fire for offense. If you really want to shine in combat at creation then load up there. BUT! You can theoretically attack thugs and enemies with any ring. I think the rings you need the most are probably the ones that access and activate the shuji and invocations you want. That varies a lot by what your school gives you, and what you want to do. If you really want to shine when you are being a lying deceptive sneak then Air will obviously be your more important as a ring than either Earth or Fire. SKILLS: Not all skills are equal. The primary skill you attack with is probably the most important skill you have overall. It is certainly the the most important skill you will use in combat. Fitness is also extremely important. Command and Meditation can also have important roles in Combat. In a court setting, Courtesy is almost certainly the foundation skill you must have. Sentiment is also important. There are a ton of secondary and tertiary skills that can also be important. I think Games gets short shrift. Games should be a the primary skill used to interact with strange samurai who are roughly of the same rank as you. It's like the real world office politics skill of going out to happy hour with your coworkers. Investigations cover a huge amount of ground. Commerce, Command, Culture, Government, Medicine, and Skullduggery seem to come up consistently. Aesthetics & Design...? Not so much in our group. That broadly lines up with what Daramere posted over on strange assembly. ADVANTAGES: I disagree with many of Daramere's assessments for Advantages and Disadvantages. In a world where status is uber important i think Blessed Lineage is sexy. I also think Blissful betrothal is pretty cool. They both help you interactions outside of dice rolling. Having an in with the Imperial Family or multiple potential allies outside your clan is to me, a very big deal. Consider: The adventure is turning on obscure event in history that has been "neglected" in the official scrolls we have easy access to. Hey wait...I am blissfully betrothed to Asoko Annie. I be she can help us meet a friendly Loremaster!
  12. Void Crane

    Binding Spirits and Kansen

    Add 2 and 2 and get 5? In Rokugan?!? Never! the mandate of Heaven won't allow it! 😃 LOL! This would be a great opportunity for the PCs to gain some new adversaries who have a legitimate grudge against them!
  13. Void Crane

    Dueling Question?

    I have some sympathies for the rules designers. Dueling is not an easy thing to simply into compelling mechanics. I theory you could have a meditation, stare down phase where people essentially roll initiative. Followed by one attack roll. For a total of 2 rolls to represent the duel. (And really you could also just do One attack roll, perhaps giving a +1 kept success for an iajatsu technique). But IME players won't long be happy with such a rule because sooo much chance comes into play on that one roll. To be consistently "good" at dueling (a fairly common PC desire) then requires either a lot of optimization (if that's even possible) or just praying to the dice gods. Better duelists get beaten by lesser duelists when ever they have one bad roll. That doesn't embraces the spirit of L5R. My opinion. The alternative is a system that might requires 4-6 rolls (not too many, other PCs are on the sidelines!) which tends to produce a bell curve of outcomes and smooths out some of the randomness. The better duelist more consistently wins ... most of the time. And I'm not surprised that this is basically what we have. But as Franwax and Avatar note in detail it does not map very well to the "cinematic" reality we want duels to have.
  14. It's a lot like D&D in that you will play a character that will grow in power over time. And the roles of Bushi, Shugenja and Courtier/Shinobi are somewhat comparable to the D&D classes of Fighter, Cleric (or wizard) & Rogue...the the Rokugan counterparts are a lot more flexible in design. Monk is Monk. It's NOT like D&D in the idea of delving into dungeons and looting progressively more powerful magic items. The majority of your conflicts are going to be against other humans. And their gear is essentially the same as your...but mostly you won't need to loot anything because you have a Lord who is responsible for equipping you. You mostly won't fight in ancient dungeons (though few do exist). Instead usually you will clash and experience drama in courts and back alleys...on the road, across rooftops, in peasant villages, and battlefields large and small. The game is based on old (and new!) "Samurai Dramas" that emphasis the conflicts between personal rivalries, competing duties, and your character's personal desires. IMO a great L5R adventure sends you on a mission on behalf of your lord with instructions that turn out to be incomplete, you then intuit daylight between what your lord has explicitly asks for and what he or she actually wants along the way, and then you face moral dilemmas that force you to wrestle with what prices you are willing to pay to achieve what success. Also somewhere in there you cut someone into pieces with a katana ... As Avatar111 says (and I strongly agree with him), while the core mechanic is solid &easy to learn ... there are rough edges that don't necessarily make sense. As a player or GM you can expect to wrestle with rough spots. As an example I recently wrote in a topic about the Ritual "Commune with the Spirits." The casting time of this ritual it is (rather unhelpfully) listed as both a Downtime Activity (takes several hours) and a Support Action (you action during 1 round of combat ... ie a couple of seconds). There is no guidance or explanation when it should be used one way or another. If it comes up in your game the GM will have to make decisions over how long it takes under different circumstances (players will obviously prefer for it to be a shorter amount of time).
  15. Void Crane

    empty handed to cast invocations

    i think this is about right. If you are holding a two handed weapon in one hand (or two things in one hand) then I don't think those weapons are readied. Otherwise not a huge deal. The original questions also included Kiho. IMO Kiho generally does not require speaking or a free hand (though obviously if you are punching/kicking somebody that takes a free limb to strike with. Almost all of them involve meditation checks and imply that its concentration alone that brings effects into existence. In that sense I think Kihos are a little cooler than an invocation.