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Mirumoto Jin

RPG speculations - part 1

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...So, in short, you want to give shugenjas a "mana pool", and give spells a "mana cost". And give extra work to both players and GMs (yes, because checking if the math is right is necessary). For a benefit of.... turning the game similar to a MMORPG, it would seem?

And tracking 5 resource pools (one for each ring) is easier than tracking only one? Tracking a "mana pool" is no harder than tracking a hit point or wound pool.

Also, one of the biggest benefits of "mana pool" systems over "spell slot" systems is the fact that they can be much more granular in the resource costs for various effects. This allows for various effects to be better balanced.

Edited by Ultimatecalibur

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Well, that won't work for spell during a fight, except the rules for importuning would change.

I have no problem with this. 

 

If you want to be good in a fight, buy fighting skills

 

 

Well, 6 from the Shugenja Schools in the Corebook may choose a Bugei oder Weapon Skill as Schoolskill. And the Isawa don't even get Defense as Schoolskill.

Yes, there are 40XP to spend. But from my point of view the only Shugenja who should have Weapon-Skills are the Kuni, Kitsu an maybe the Agasha. And yes, I'm saying this because of the way the various Shugenja-Families are desribed, because I think this should be the source of inspiration on how to play a character from this Familiy.

 

Also I didn't point this out because I want my Shugenja to be good at fighting. 2 of my 3 Shugenja don't even have one offensive spell. Both, my Isawa and my Kitsu Shugenja, are built to support their companions. My Kitsu can't even cast Bo of Water, although she is able to fight with Staves, if it should ever be necessary. And as for my third Shugenja, well, she is a Kuni-Student (Rank0 Character) and can't even cast one spell up until now. 

I did point it out, because casting trhough importuning would mean that my Shugenja couldn't even support their fellow Samurai in battle with spells like Never alone, Ebbing Strenght or similiar spells. Same goes for healing others or protecting themselves with spells like Armor of Earth, Heaven's Tears, Path to inner peace and other spells.

 

It would make most Shugenja useless in battle.

 

 

 

...So, in short, you want to give shugenjas a "mana pool", and give spells a "mana cost". And give extra work to both players and GMs (yes, because checking if the math is right is necessary). For a benefit of.... turning the game similar to a MMORPG, it would seem?

And tracking 5 resource pools (one for each ring) is easier than tracking only one? Tracking a "mana pool" is no harder than tracking a hit point or wound pool.

Also, one of the biggest benefits of "mana pool" systems over "spell slot" systems is the fact that they can be much more granular in the resource costs for various effects. This allows for various effects to be better balanced.

 

 

Yes, since one fire-spell costs one Fire-Spellslot or Void-Spellslot. And if you want to be able to keep a better track of your spellslots or the spellslots of your players, you could use colored chips. Have the right amount of red chips for fire, blue chips for water, brown for earth, black for void and light-blue/white/green for air in front of you and everytime you use a spellslot you could give a chip to your GM or lay them into a box or something, so everony can see how many spellslots are left.

 

And like I said in one of my earlier posts: It is sort of more work since the player has to write down the total number of Spiritpoints and subtract the cost for every spell, this would slow down a battle.

 

 

 

 

Thing is, primary part of Shugenja identity is "I am the priest. I am the person who is favored by the spirits and can talk with them. My DUTY to the Empire is making sure that spirits are in favor of our people, and to worship them and teach others about them. I listen, I guide."

Shooting fire is a side benefit. You *could* reinvent the whole role and concept of Shugenja, but...that reminds me of the whole "why retcon the setting" arguments. Shugenja are the keepers of celestial order. They primary function is the religious one. To ditch it is literally saying "I just want to shoot fire at people, I don't care about rest". 

Also, please, why are you forcing a really false dichotomy of War Priests / Support priests? It isn't a Thing here. Shugenja is a Shugenja. No one here asks for making them unable to fire fireballs ever or to DECIDE! FIREBALLS OR HEALS?!; both are flavors of elemental kami that fit the setting. No one is saying that you should be unable to create a follower of Bishamon who finds religious ecstasy in battle. Like, really, no reason to create a boogeyman who wants to take away fireballs.

What people are in general saying isn't "Stop Fireballs", they are saying "Stop Fireballs that are here on expense of other Shugenja-stuff", and "give space to other angles of shugenja TOO, instead of focusing ONLY on fireballs". Because currently, fireballgenja is like that rude fellow who takes 3 seats on the bus when he can fit in one, and 2 people are forced to stand because he won't move an inch.

 

 

 

That pretty much sums it up, yes. 

 

At least from me, it's not "stop fireballs", it's "fireball, magic darts, healing, blessing, curse, conjure a buffet, whatever -- shugenja aren't 'mages' who seize power and bend it to their will, they're 'priests' who have a relationship with worlds beyond their own and implore the spirits to take action."  

 

 

I see this a lot in various discussions about shugenja over the years, but I don't see how they differ.

 

I assume you (like most it seems) regard the current shugenja mechanics to more reflect this idea of, "mage who seizes power and bends it to their will."

That's fine if you feel that way.

However if you do feel that way and would prefer the mechanics that portray "priests who implore the spirits to take action," how does that shugenja play, mechanically speaking?

 

How does the spell casting work?

What do the spell effects look like?

What kind of spells are actually available for a shugenja player to learn?

How would you do it differently?

 

(And I'm not trying to pick on you, Max! This is really a thought for anyone who wants to answer.)

 

 

Well, for me:

.) casting through prayers using elemental-spellslots to keep track

.) depending on the elemental kami you prayed to

.) offensive, defensive, wards, blessings, support and healing

 

...wait...this is like in the book...  :P  ;):rolleyes:  

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Ultimatecalibur, on 25 Oct 2015 - 06:00 AM, said:snapback.png

 

Bayushi Karyudo, on 22 Oct 2015 - 9:34 PM, said:snapback.png

...So, in short, you want to give shugenjas a "mana pool", and give spells a "mana cost". And give extra work to both players and GMs (yes, because checking if the math is right is necessary). For a benefit of.... turning the game similar to a MMORPG, it would seem?


And tracking 5 resource pools (one for each ring) is easier than tracking only one? Tracking a "mana pool" is no harder than tracking a hit point or wound pool.

Also, one of the biggest benefits of "mana pool" systems over "spell slot" systems is the fact that they can be much more granular in the resource costs for various effects. This allows for various effects to be better balanced.

 

 

In adttion to reducing the number of different recources to track spiritpoints also enbale the balancing to become very elegant cause the possible power curve for the shungeja is much smoother than the current one.

In the current system the power curve of the Shugenja is not reall smooth since you allready can get a lvl 5 spell at Ir 2 with the right built and this breaks the balance of the Mastery lvls since you rings have not

enough influence as limiters to the spells.

If you go for the spiritpoint system you can get a better limiter with the spirit points, whcih are chained to the rings adn not to the mastery lvl and therefore you could have a very high Mastery lvl but simply not enough

spiritpoints to cast the spell. Also you can balance the sysetm easier cause you don´t need the mastery lvl anymore but can go for spellpower to spiritpoint cost realation and in addtion you can put

prequsites onto the spell.
All in all the system is mathematically elegant and removes the need to track 5 individual recources on your piece of paper in addtion to added flexabiulity and streamlining.

 

 Shosuro wrote

 

Yes, since one fire-spell costs one Fire-Spellslot or Void-Spellslot. And if you want to be able to keep a better track of your spellslots or the spellslots of your players, you could use colored chips. Have the right amount of red chips for fire, blue chips for water, brown for earth, black for void and light-blue/white/green for air in front of you and everytime you use a spellslot you could give a chip to your GM or lay them into a box or something, so everony can see how many spellslots are left.

 

And like I said in one of my earlier posts: It is sort of more work since the player has to write down the total number of Spiritpoints and subtract the cost for every spell, this would slow down a battle.

 

What you describe is not a pro agrument for the spell slot system. The need to put some pieces of plastic etc up in addttion to the rules and tracking ways by the rules is something bad not good. It actuaslly shows how rigig and unceassary com,plicated the system

is cause you actually need to track not 1 but 5 recources from which only 1 can be used as substitute for the rest and even than you need to track all cause you need to know how much void remains.

With the spiritystem you just need to write down 1 number and than substract the points spent.
Also please not only cause we use a manapool system there is no need to bloat the numbers. So a a weakspell for example could still cost only 1 point and a very strong one could go for 6 or 8

so that you still have a number of spiritpoints you can oversee without much difficulty.
Also you no longer need to look hich resource you need cause you can cast each spell from the same one instead of tracking the 5 different recources of the rings.
Overall the system is much more streamlined and makes the spell casting much mroe flexible than it is now.
 

 

How does the spell casting work?

What do the spell effects look like?

What kind of spells are actually available for a shugenja player to learn?

How would you do it differently?

 

For me this would be
1) The spell casting should work a bit different as it is now. I don´t like the scrolls and the ways they limit the actual casting. Yes I think the Shugenja should comune with the Kami but the way how he does and when should be open to him. Therefore I would not say
     that the act of spellcasting has to be an actuall comunication but maybe just a prhase, text, move etc he learned from the Kami which trigger effect x.

2) The effect should still resemble the element of the Kami which is the source of it but I go for a more detailed Kami elemntalism here. For example if we go for a Kami I met in a volcano the Fire version surely would be more like magma or lava and the earth version would be like ash and volcanic stone. 

    Caus this version seems far more intresting and cool as if each effect would be the same. So while the normal effect is a fire one how it looks should depned on where and from whom you learned the spell.
 

3) I think I am happy if we stay with the complete spectrum of spells at all power levels. So a Shugenja should still have the option to get powerfull combat spells cause without it would be a to onsided class I my opinion.

4)  The changes i would do is that I first would remove that the Shuegnja have take out a scroll and pray in combat. Instead I go for a more flexible version. So you actually comune with the spirit to get the spelll and the Kami tell you what you have to do to get the effect you want

     but you don´t need a scroll for that if you don´t want. Soemtimes the key to trigger the Kamii is a sign the other tiem it is a sentance etc. You get far more flexible with it and it makes the spelkl much more unique cause atm you are very limted in the discription of how you do things:
     Ofcourse you still have to talk to the Kami and give them things in return for it but  this should only apply to the Komune and sense spell where your actually asking something from them.
     For the spell power I go for a IC quest to get to the very powerful ones and a prequisite for some mid power spells so you can get there from the first minute of your chracter creation.
    To color the effect of the spell different depending on location and Kami shoudl giev the player a better feeling of being unique without changing something mechanicly and also oppen up for cool
    descriptions.

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In adttion to reducing the number of different recources to track spiritpoints also enbale the balancing to become very elegant cause the possible power curve for the shungeja is much smoother than the current one.

In the current system the power curve of the Shugenja is not reall smooth since you allready can get a lvl 5 spell at Ir 2 with the right built and this breaks the balance of the Mastery lvls since you rings have not

enough influence as limiters to the spells.

If you go for the spiritpoint system you can get a better limiter with the spirit points, whcih are chained to the rings adn not to the mastery lvl and therefore you could have a very high Mastery lvl but simply not enough

spiritpoints to cast the spell. Also you can balance the sysetm easier cause you don´t need the mastery lvl anymore but can go for spellpower to spiritpoint cost realation and in addtion you can put

prequsites onto the spell.

All in all the system is mathematically elegant and removes the need to track 5 individual recources on your piece of paper in addtion to added flexabiulity and streamlining.

You are wrong. There is only one way of implementing such thing, and it is not elegant in the least - you would need to create -true- spell lists, like those present in D&D (or in an MMO), and say "You, Shugenja! You are Rank 2? You can only choose spells from this list, and no more!". It is akin to using a hammer to kill a house fly. There's absolutely no elegance to it (not to mention that it goes counter the feel of the setting and the game). I understand that that is what you want, as is clear by the rest of your post - but that approach (while functional in other games) is definitely not one that fits into L5R's setting, especially when speaking of Shugenja. That approach is good for D&D.

It is worth to say that such a division by levels (again, the ONLY WAY of having any semblance of balance or control in a 'mana' approach) would render the very concept of 'mana' superfluous - it'd be just a disguised "spells per day" approach, with a little more flexibility.

And if you're thinking of not using such a level system... don't. Otherwise, any claims of "balance" become simply ludicrous, as already demonstrated (mathematically, I might add) by Shosuro. Rhetoric fails in the face of math.

 

Yes, since one fire-spell costs one Fire-Spellslot or Void-Spellslot. And if you want to be able to keep a better track of your spellslots or the spellslots of your players, you could use colored chips. Have the right amount of red chips for fire, blue chips for water, brown for earth, black for void and light-blue/white/green for air in front of you and everytime you use a spellslot you could give a chip to your GM or lay them into a box or something, so everony can see how many spellslots are left.

 

And like I said in one of my earlier posts: It is sort of more work since the player has to write down the total number of Spiritpoints and subtract the cost for every spell, this would slow down a battle.

 

What you describe is not a pro agrument for the spell slot system. The need to put some pieces of plastic etc up in addttion to the rules and tracking ways by the rules is something bad not good. It actuaslly shows how rigig and unceassary com,plicated the system

is cause you actually need to track not 1 but 5 recources from which only 1 can be used as substitute for the rest and even than you need to track all cause you need to know how much void remains.

With the spiritystem you just need to write down 1 number and than substract the points spent.

Also please not only cause we use a manapool system there is no need to bloat the numbers. So a a weakspell for example could still cost only 1 point and a very strong one could go for 6 or 8

so that you still have a number of spiritpoints you can oversee without much difficulty.

Also you no longer need to look hich resource you need cause you can cast each spell from the same one instead of tracking the 5 different recources of the rings.

Overall the system is much more streamlined and makes the spell casting much mroe flexible than it is now.

What he describes is an alternate way of handling things. It is a bit pointless though, as the character sheet already has slots for the player to mark how many spells of each Element he has access to.

Your claims of "it is more streamlined" are also false - you are introducing a new element into the game (mana) that has no equivalent whatsoever (something already mentioned hy WHV I think). And not only does it need to be tracked (just like the current system, so there is absolutely no advantage there), but it also involves calculations that need to be done every time a spell is cast (which immediately brands this as a worse alternative to the current state of affairs). So please, stop.

Edited by Bayushi Karyudo

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How does the spell casting work?

What do the spell effects look like?

What kind of spells are actually available for a shugenja player to learn?

How would you do it differently?

At this point I can't even remember which of the eight million threads is the one where I posted my taken on what more spiritual, East-Asian-folklore-based shugenja would look like. But I'll say that I'm less concerned with the underlying crunch of "spell slots" and "mastery levels" and so forth than what shugenja are designed to do, and on that front, I've said my bit already: improvement of the body (i.e. kiho), divination of several different kinds, and dealing with the Spirit Realms and their inhabitants in some way other than "I kill it dead." Two hundred eighty-seven different ways to inflict damage on your target gets really boring to me after a while, because it's really only good for one kind of story.

 

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How does the spell casting work?

What do the spell effects look like?

What kind of spells are actually available for a shugenja player to learn?

How would you do it differently?

At this point I can't even remember which of the eight million threads is the one where I posted my taken on what more spiritual, East-Asian-folklore-based shugenja would look like. But I'll say that I'm less concerned with the underlying crunch of "spell slots" and "mastery levels" and so forth than what shugenja are designed to do, and on that front, I've said my bit already: improvement of the body (i.e. kiho), divination of several different kinds, and dealing with the Spirit Realms and their inhabitants in some way other than "I kill it dead." Two hundred eighty-seven different ways to inflict damage on your target gets really boring to me after a while, because it's really only good for one kind of story.

 

 

I both agree with you, and find that actually translating that into playable mechanics is difficult, if not impossible.

For one, there are far less "kill it dead" spells than there are of other types.  ;)

But more importantly, there are only so many ways you can use kami of Fire to do things that don't involve burning stuff. Once you've covered Fire Ring manipulation with a small handful of spell options, all that's really left is different ways to burn stuff. And that's from a completely lore-based standpoint.

Earth has a couple of DR-related spells, but most of them only work on Shadowlands/Tainted stuff (because of Earth purity and what not). The only blatantly offensive Earth spell makes more sense as an Air spell (Earth Becomes Sky), and the other offensive option just make too much sense as it exists now (Earthquake).

Water only has a single offensive spell that I can think of off the top of my head, excluding the weapon (Suitengu's Embrace). (If anything Water, as the element of Strength, should have more offensive spells! But for some reason, the guys who wrote the thing gave all the "strength" related stuff to Earth for... reasons?)

And finally Air has spells that are offensive in that they hinder your opponent, but they're pretty bad at outright killing them.

 

I personally find that like, 90% of the complaints about Shugenja spells disappear when you actually read the spells available. I think people have a bad habit of just assuming the worst instead of actually reading.  :lol:

Edited by Bayushi Tsubaki

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There are plenty of options for fire that don't involve burning stuff.

 

You can take the more western slant, and approach fire as heat and light. That's a LOT of room for sheananigans right there. 

 

Or you could go with an eastern slant where fire is a bit more metaphorical, dealing with energy, will to leave, inner fire, metabolism and body heat. Also lots of room to expand on what fire is without making most of it involve "BURN STUFF!".  

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There are plenty of options for fire that don't involve burning stuff.

 

You can take the more western slant, and approach fire as heat and light. That's a LOT of room for sheananigans right there. 

 

Or you could go with an eastern slant where fire is a bit more metaphorical, dealing with energy, will to leave, inner fire, metabolism and body heat. Also lots of room to expand on what fire is without making most of it involve "BURN STUFF!".  

Could you provide specific examples that:

A) Don't already exist as spell options?

B) Aren't covered by use of Summon?

:)

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For one, there are far less "kill it dead" spells than there are of other types.  ;)

I was being hyperbolic with the "kill it dead" phrasing. If you say "how many spells are useful only in combat, vs. spells which are useful outside of combat," the ratio shifts dramatically. (I will grant that the ratio does depend on Ring. Air is pretty diverse; Earth, not so much.) The point is less "shugenja kill things" and more "shugenja supposedly don't go into battle all the time, and yet they seem to have put an awful lot of effort into developing stuff to do there."

 

But more importantly, there are only so many ways you can use kami of Fire to do things that don't involve burning stuff. Once you've covered Fire Ring manipulation with a small handful of spell options, all that's really left is different ways to burn stuff. And that's from a completely lore-based standpoint.

Uh.

Whut.

How about Fire spells that create stuff? That's lore. Or break stuff? Lore supports that, too. Or help you know stuff? Oh hey, Intelligence Trait; that's part of Fire. Three entire categories off the top of my head that are seriously under-utilized; when they exist, it's more "let's throw one spell at this idea and not worry about creating gradations of effectiveness like we do with exactly how much you burninate your target." (I count about a dozen burnination-type spells in the first three mastery levels alone.) Hell, what about a spell to create light? Sure, you can say "that's just Summon with some Raises" -- but isn't one of the founding concepts of the current spell system the notion that people created those spells by codifying the impromptu adaptations their forebears came up with for more basic spells?

 

(It isn't helped by the fact that some of the spells are just flat-out in the wrong place. Why is seeing hidden things and blowing away illusions part of Air, instead of Water? Why is gaining more knowledge of the skills you have not Fire? Bah.)

 

Furthermore: if divination could do half the things it does in East Asian folklore, we could have easily half a dozen spells built around using it in different ways. If we had a well-developed concept of the Spirit Realms and spirits in Ningen-do as more than just a thing that shows up to attack people sometimes and is usually Tainted when it does, we could more easily develop concepts for spells that would allow shugenja to do more with those spirits than a couple of banishing spells are we're done. If the favor and wrath of Fortunes was really a force in people's daily lives (as opposed to those world-shaking events when the Fate of the Empire Is at Stake), then shugenja spells could interact with that in useful ways: currently, if you want to commune with a Fortune, you'd better be capable of casting Air 6 spells.

 

I could keep going, but I think you get my point.

 

That, to me, is the real issue, and one that can't be solved by getting rid of spell slots or increasing casting time or any other purely mechanical fix. You need a foundation before you build your house, and the spiritual foundation just isn't there in the current design.

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In adttion to reducing the number of different recources to track spiritpoints also enbale the balancing to become very elegant cause the possible power curve for the shungeja is much smoother than the current one.

In the current system the power curve of the Shugenja is not reall smooth since you allready can get a lvl 5 spell at Ir 2 with the right built and this breaks the balance of the Mastery lvls since you rings have not

enough influence as limiters to the spells.

If you go for the spiritpoint system you can get a better limiter with the spirit points, whcih are chained to the rings adn not to the mastery lvl and therefore you could have a very high Mastery lvl but simply not enough

spiritpoints to cast the spell. Also you can balance the sysetm easier cause you don´t need the mastery lvl anymore but can go for spellpower to spiritpoint cost realation and in addtion you can put

prequsites onto the spell.

All in all the system is mathematically elegant and removes the need to track 5 individual recources on your piece of paper in addtion to added flexabiulity and streamlining.

You are wrong. There is only one way of implementing such thing, and it is not elegant in the least - you would need to create -true- spell lists, like those present in D&D (or in an MMO), and say "You, Shugenja! You are Rank 2? You can only choose spells from this list, and no more!". It is akin to using a hammer to kill a house fly. There's absolutely no elegance to it (not to mention that it goes counter the feel of the setting and the game). I understand that that is what you want, as is clear by the rest of your post - but that approach (while functional in other games) is definitely not one that fits into L5R's setting, especially when speaking of Shugenja. That approach is good for D&D.

It is worth to say that such a division by levels (again, the ONLY WAY of having any semblance of balance or control in a 'mana' approach) would render the very concept of 'mana' superfluous - it'd be just a disguised "spells per day" approach, with a little more flexibility.

And if you're thinking of not using such a level system... don't. Otherwise, any claims of "balance" become simply ludicrous, as already demonstrated (mathematically, I might add) by Shosuro. Rhetoric fails in the face of math.

 

 

Yes, since one fire-spell costs one Fire-Spellslot or Void-Spellslot. And if you want to be able to keep a better track of your spellslots or the spellslots of your players, you could use colored chips. Have the right amount of red chips for fire, blue chips for water, brown for earth, black for void and light-blue/white/green for air in front of you and everytime you use a spellslot you could give a chip to your GM or lay them into a box or something, so everony can see how many spellslots are left.

 

And like I said in one of my earlier posts: It is sort of more work since the player has to write down the total number of Spiritpoints and subtract the cost for every spell, this would slow down a battle.

 

What you describe is not a pro agrument for the spell slot system. The need to put some pieces of plastic etc up in addttion to the rules and tracking ways by the rules is something bad not good. It actuaslly shows how rigig and unceassary com,plicated the system

is cause you actually need to track not 1 but 5 recources from which only 1 can be used as substitute for the rest and even than you need to track all cause you need to know how much void remains.

With the spiritystem you just need to write down 1 number and than substract the points spent.

Also please not only cause we use a manapool system there is no need to bloat the numbers. So a a weakspell for example could still cost only 1 point and a very strong one could go for 6 or 8

so that you still have a number of spiritpoints you can oversee without much difficulty.

Also you no longer need to look hich resource you need cause you can cast each spell from the same one instead of tracking the 5 different recources of the rings.

Overall the system is much more streamlined and makes the spell casting much mroe flexible than it is now.

 

What he describes is an alternate way of handling things. It is a bit pointless though, as the character sheet already has slots for the player to mark how many spells of each Element he has access to.

Your claims of "it is more streamlined" are also false - you are introducing a new element into the game (mana) that has no equivalent whatsoever (something already mentioned hy WHV I think). And not only does it need to be tracked (just like the current system, so there is absolutely no advantage there), but it also involves calculations that need to be done every time a spell is cast (which immediately brands this as a worse alternative to the current state of affairs). So please, stop.

 

 

And here we are at thge point where a setting should not restrict the mechnaics to much. The mechniacs have to work in order to get a good play exp.

 

First the system is far more elegenat. It may no seem so cause yes you got a new spell list which no longer has Mastery levels but Spiritpoint cost.What makes it elegant is the Math behind it. If you plot the current power level curve and than go for the Spoirit point

Curve you will see that the Spiritpoints are far smoother and elegant than the current system of power jumps and gaps you have.

 

The Spiritpoints are calculated trhough the elemental rings and are not coverted from spell slots. The Rings itself say how often you can use the same spell. Therefore a high fire lets you use the same spell more often than a low one but woudl not restrict the 

usage of firespells in general.. So by adding the rings together we get the spirit points the shugenja has. This means a Shugenja with all rings 3 would have 15 points. Now we look how high the cost of the spells should be. I  just exchange the mastery lvl with 

Spiritpoint cost and say Fires from within can be casted for 2 points. Now without the limitation of the ring this would mean he just casts it 7 times and thats it but since the ring limits the casting of the same spell the shugenja can only cast it 3 times in battle and

for the rest has to look for other things to do.

How add favored and unfavored in I have to think about caus the only Idea I have is not good.

So there is no way of just casting 1 spell over and over as there are still limitations but the whole thing is steamlined in terms of only having to track 1 recource and not 5 and also makes the balancing of the spells much more easier since you can balance them arround the cost.

For example the 10k10 death ray could cos0t like 15 spiritpoinst and counts as 2 spells for the maximum usage of the same spell per combat.

So for introducing a new element (Mana). You are wrong.  I never talked about mana and never said tzhis would be mana. I talked about spiritpoints which given by the Kami when they like you and when you are in tune with them. Spiritpoints are the soure of the Shugenjas

ability to make the thinsg the Kami tell him work in Rokugan. And while this is a new element it is not Mana and not really alien cause you can color it in a fitting way for the setting.

 

And no I will not stop cause I don´t see that there are any better ideas here.

Thing is. Removing the dmg spells, tuning the power down etc are very bad ways and actually are destructive solutions which I really want

to avoid casue it only destroys things instead of trying to keep them but in a better version.

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And here we are at thge point where a setting should not restrict the mechnaics to much. The mechniacs have to work in order to get a good play exp.

 

First the system is far more elegenat. It may no seem so cause yes you got a new spell list which no longer has Mastery levels but Spiritpoint cost.What makes it elegant is the Math behind it. If you plot the current power level curve and than go for the Spoirit point

Curve you will see that the Spiritpoints are far smoother and elegant than the current system of power jumps and gaps you have.

 

The Spiritpoints are calculated trhough the elemental rings and are not coverted from spell slots. The Rings itself say how often you can use the same spell. Therefore a high fire lets you use the same spell more often than a low one but woudl not restrict the 

usage of firespells in general.. So by adding the rings together we get the spirit points the shugenja has. This means a Shugenja with all rings 3 would have 15 points. Now we look how high the cost of the spells should be. I  just exchange the mastery lvl with 

Spiritpoint cost and say Fires from within can be casted for 2 points. Now without the limitation of the ring this would mean he just casts it 7 times and thats it but since the ring limits the casting of the same spell the shugenja can only cast it 3 times in battle and

for the rest has to look for other things to do.

How add favored and unfavored in I have to think about caus the only Idea I have is not good.

So there is no way of just casting 1 spell over and over as there are still limitations but the whole thing is steamlined in terms of only having to track 1 recource and not 5 and also makes the balancing of the spells much more easier since you can balance them arround the cost.

For example the 10k10 death ray could cos0t like 15 spiritpoinst and counts as 2 spells for the maximum usage of the same spell per combat.

So for introducing a new element (Mana). You are wrong.  I never talked about mana and never said tzhis would be mana. I talked about spiritpoints which given by the Kami when they like you and when you are in tune with them. Spiritpoints are the soure of the Shugenjas

ability to make the thinsg the Kami tell him work in Rokugan. And while this is a new element it is not Mana and not really alien cause you can color it in a fitting way for the setting.

 

And no I will not stop cause I don´t see that there are any better ideas here.

Thing is. Removing the dmg spells, tuning the power down etc are very bad ways and actually are destructive solutions which I really want

to avoid casue it only destroys things instead of trying to keep them but in a better version.

 

 

I'll be honest, I don't like your idea at all. Here's my reasons.

 

First, this makes the trackability way harder. Your saying that these "Spirit Points" (SP for the reste of the post) are simplier, yet you introdice the "Maximum spell usage" which requires to track both SP and maximum spell usage. While the actual system just keep 5 types of spells per day. I don't see how that is simplier, in fact, it's a lot more complicated for nothing.

 

Second, exchanging Mastery Level for SP cost. This removes the Shugenja some kind of progressions in his spells. He'll probably starts with strong spells at the beginning of the game, when it's played at lower ranks. Sure he'll cast it a few time, but these few times will seems way unbalanced. Then will comes his rank up where he'll learn new stuffs, the player will probably says: "So... ranking up just give me weaker spells? What's the point of gaining School Rank as a Shugenja?" Right now, the Mastery Level gives the Shugenja player a feeling of progression, where he'll says: "I just need X xp to have access to these spells!"

 

Third, lack of diversification. The fact that a Shugenja usually have 2 to 5 spells per day in each Rings gives a needs for diversification. Why? Because if you don't have spells in every Rings, these spellslots are wasted. With your system, it's no longer the case because you'll focus in what you only want. Will a Fire Shugenja take some Air or Water spells? Probably not besides the basic healing spell as a "Just in case". Pooling the SP to every spells seems a good idea at first but when you think about it, it creates a more focus mind, just like a MMO where you'll not use spells that you aren't specialized with except a few one.

 

Fourth, the removal of the synergy with the setting. This is one complain of a lot of people and your idea brings this at another level. Why? Because the setting is based on the balance of the elements. Sure there's exception, but the removal of Ring's spellslot per day for a pool destroy that balance between the elements. Like I said, there's exception like the Isawa Masters of Elements but it's not the case for every Shugenja. When you're looking at the Rings, they are split in both physical and mental attributes, this represent the balance between Mind and Body. The fact that every Ring has a different physical and mental trait represent the balance between the Elements to be stronger.

 

For these 4 reasons, I don't like your idea of SP and prefer the actual system. Because it's easy to track for both the Shugenja's player and the Storyteller, it gives a feeling of progression, it diversifies the Shugenja's spells and keeps a synergy with the setting.

 

I'll also give my 2 cents on the idea to remove the damaging spells, I don't know who suggested that, but I don't like the idea neither. Why? Because there's a lot of stuffs in the setting that may only be harm through magical means. Of course, these creatures may be changed, but it will not have the same flavor. Remove the Tsuno's physical resistance and the Lion's story with them will not have the same impact. Remove the Shadowland creatures' physical resistance and the Crab will have a much easier duty. Remove these spells and the Pheonix Clan will be hurt a lot since they rely a lot on their Shugenja to win wars. I feel this suggestion is to focus the Shugenja's "mind set" toward their "Priestly duty" and force them to be on "Healing/Supporting" duty. This removes the identity of the Shugenja... They aren't priests, they aren't mages, they are Shugenja. They wield all kind of magics, they just need a small tweek in the mechanics, not a complete rework...

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Tev, it is clear to me that you want a game where you can blow stuff up with no restraints. That's not L5R, sorry.

 

Er, sure it is.

Haven't you heard of Isawa? Sezaru? Chosai? Tamori? Shaitung? Tadaka? Tsuke? Koiso? Etc. (Heck, Ochiai was a noticeably unusual Master of Fire for not having a temper or blowing stuff up on the regular.)

Blowing stuff up with no restraint is par for the course for Rokugan.

Edited by Bayushi Tsubaki

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In adttion to reducing the number of different recources to track spiritpoints also enbale the balancing to become very elegant cause the possible power curve for the shungeja is much smoother than the current one.

In the current system the power curve of the Shugenja is not reall smooth since you allready can get a lvl 5 spell at Ir 2 with the right built and this breaks the balance of the Mastery lvls since you rings have not

enough influence as limiters to the spells.

If you go for the spiritpoint system you can get a better limiter with the spirit points, whcih are chained to the rings adn not to the mastery lvl and therefore you could have a very high Mastery lvl but simply not enough

spiritpoints to cast the spell. Also you can balance the sysetm easier cause you don´t need the mastery lvl anymore but can go for spellpower to spiritpoint cost realation and in addtion you can put

prequsites onto the spell.

All in all the system is mathematically elegant and removes the need to track 5 individual recources on your piece of paper in addtion to added flexabiulity and streamlining.

You are wrong. There is only one way of implementing such thing, and it is not elegant in the least - you would need to create -true- spell lists, like those present in D&D (or in an MMO), and say "You, Shugenja! You are Rank 2? You can only choose spells from this list, and no more!". It is akin to using a hammer to kill a house fly. There's absolutely no elegance to it (not to mention that it goes counter the feel of the setting and the game). I understand that that is what you want, as is clear by the rest of your post - but that approach (while functional in other games) is definitely not one that fits into L5R's setting, especially when speaking of Shugenja. That approach is good for D&D.

It is worth to say that such a division by levels (again, the ONLY WAY of having any semblance of balance or control in a 'mana' approach) would render the very concept of 'mana' superfluous - it'd be just a disguised "spells per day" approach, with a little more flexibility.

And if you're thinking of not using such a level system... don't. Otherwise, any claims of "balance" become simply ludicrous, as already demonstrated (mathematically, I might add) by Shosuro. Rhetoric fails in the face of math.

 

 

Yes, since one fire-spell costs one Fire-Spellslot or Void-Spellslot. And if you want to be able to keep a better track of your spellslots or the spellslots of your players, you could use colored chips. Have the right amount of red chips for fire, blue chips for water, brown for earth, black for void and light-blue/white/green for air in front of you and everytime you use a spellslot you could give a chip to your GM or lay them into a box or something, so everony can see how many spellslots are left.

 

And like I said in one of my earlier posts: It is sort of more work since the player has to write down the total number of Spiritpoints and subtract the cost for every spell, this would slow down a battle.

 

What you describe is not a pro agrument for the spell slot system. The need to put some pieces of plastic etc up in addttion to the rules and tracking ways by the rules is something bad not good. It actuaslly shows how rigig and unceassary com,plicated the system

is cause you actually need to track not 1 but 5 recources from which only 1 can be used as substitute for the rest and even than you need to track all cause you need to know how much void remains.

With the spiritystem you just need to write down 1 number and than substract the points spent.

Also please not only cause we use a manapool system there is no need to bloat the numbers. So a a weakspell for example could still cost only 1 point and a very strong one could go for 6 or 8

so that you still have a number of spiritpoints you can oversee without much difficulty.

Also you no longer need to look hich resource you need cause you can cast each spell from the same one instead of tracking the 5 different recources of the rings.

Overall the system is much more streamlined and makes the spell casting much mroe flexible than it is now.

 

What he describes is an alternate way of handling things. It is a bit pointless though, as the character sheet already has slots for the player to mark how many spells of each Element he has access to.

Your claims of "it is more streamlined" are also false - you are introducing a new element into the game (mana) that has no equivalent whatsoever (something already mentioned hy WHV I think). And not only does it need to be tracked (just like the current system, so there is absolutely no advantage there), but it also involves calculations that need to be done every time a spell is cast (which immediately brands this as a worse alternative to the current state of affairs). So please, stop.

 

 

Well, since I'm female it would be she.  :P  ;) But you couldn't know that.

Yes, I meant the thing with the colored-chips as a supportive, more obvious and visible approach of keeping track of your spellslots, which may be handy for new players. It is an idea which came to my mind a while ago and I just posted it.

 

It is not a must, just a suggestion.

 

 

 

 

In adttion to reducing the number of different recources to track spiritpoints also enbale the balancing to become very elegant cause the possible power curve for the shungeja is much smoother than the current one.

In the current system the power curve of the Shugenja is not reall smooth since you allready can get a lvl 5 spell at Ir 2 with the right built and this breaks the balance of the Mastery lvls since you rings have not

enough influence as limiters to the spells.

If you go for the spiritpoint system you can get a better limiter with the spirit points, whcih are chained to the rings adn not to the mastery lvl and therefore you could have a very high Mastery lvl but simply not enough

spiritpoints to cast the spell. Also you can balance the sysetm easier cause you don´t need the mastery lvl anymore but can go for spellpower to spiritpoint cost realation and in addtion you can put

prequsites onto the spell.

All in all the system is mathematically elegant and removes the need to track 5 individual recources on your piece of paper in addtion to added flexabiulity and streamlining.

You are wrong. There is only one way of implementing such thing, and it is not elegant in the least - you would need to create -true- spell lists, like those present in D&D (or in an MMO), and say "You, Shugenja! You are Rank 2? You can only choose spells from this list, and no more!". It is akin to using a hammer to kill a house fly. There's absolutely no elegance to it (not to mention that it goes counter the feel of the setting and the game). I understand that that is what you want, as is clear by the rest of your post - but that approach (while functional in other games) is definitely not one that fits into L5R's setting, especially when speaking of Shugenja. That approach is good for D&D.

It is worth to say that such a division by levels (again, the ONLY WAY of having any semblance of balance or control in a 'mana' approach) would render the very concept of 'mana' superfluous - it'd be just a disguised "spells per day" approach, with a little more flexibility.

And if you're thinking of not using such a level system... don't. Otherwise, any claims of "balance" become simply ludicrous, as already demonstrated (mathematically, I might add) by Shosuro. Rhetoric fails in the face of math.

 

 

Yes, since one fire-spell costs one Fire-Spellslot or Void-Spellslot. And if you want to be able to keep a better track of your spellslots or the spellslots of your players, you could use colored chips. Have the right amount of red chips for fire, blue chips for water, brown for earth, black for void and light-blue/white/green for air in front of you and everytime you use a spellslot you could give a chip to your GM or lay them into a box or something, so everony can see how many spellslots are left.

 

And like I said in one of my earlier posts: It is sort of more work since the player has to write down the total number of Spiritpoints and subtract the cost for every spell, this would slow down a battle.

 

What you describe is not a pro agrument for the spell slot system. The need to put some pieces of plastic etc up in addttion to the rules and tracking ways by the rules is something bad not good. It actuaslly shows how rigig and unceassary com,plicated the system

is cause you actually need to track not 1 but 5 recources from which only 1 can be used as substitute for the rest and even than you need to track all cause you need to know how much void remains.

With the spiritystem you just need to write down 1 number and than substract the points spent.

Also please not only cause we use a manapool system there is no need to bloat the numbers. So a a weakspell for example could still cost only 1 point and a very strong one could go for 6 or 8

so that you still have a number of spiritpoints you can oversee without much difficulty.

Also you no longer need to look hich resource you need cause you can cast each spell from the same one instead of tracking the 5 different recources of the rings.

Overall the system is much more streamlined and makes the spell casting much mroe flexible than it is now.

 

What he describes is an alternate way of handling things. It is a bit pointless though, as the character sheet already has slots for the player to mark how many spells of each Element he has access to.

Your claims of "it is more streamlined" are also false - you are introducing a new element into the game (mana) that has no equivalent whatsoever (something already mentioned hy WHV I think). And not only does it need to be tracked (just like the current system, so there is absolutely no advantage there), but it also involves calculations that need to be done every time a spell is cast (which immediately brands this as a worse alternative to the current state of affairs). So please, stop.

 

 

And here we are at thge point where a setting should not restrict the mechnaics to much. The mechniacs have to work in order to get a good play exp.

 

First the system is far more elegenat. It may no seem so cause yes you got a new spell list which no longer has Mastery levels but Spiritpoint cost.What makes it elegant is the Math behind it. If you plot the current power level curve and than go for the Spoirit point

Curve you will see that the Spiritpoints are far smoother and elegant than the current system of power jumps and gaps you have.

 

The Spiritpoints are calculated trhough the elemental rings and are not coverted from spell slots. The Rings itself say how often you can use the same spell. Therefore a high fire lets you use the same spell more often than a low one but woudl not restrict the 

usage of firespells in general.. So by adding the rings together we get the spirit points the shugenja has. This means a Shugenja with all rings 3 would have 15 points. Now we look how high the cost of the spells should be. I  just exchange the mastery lvl with 

Spiritpoint cost and say Fires from within can be casted for 2 points. Now without the limitation of the ring this would mean he just casts it 7 times and thats it but since the ring limits the casting of the same spell the shugenja can only cast it 3 times in battle and

for the rest has to look for other things to do.

How add favored and unfavored in I have to think about caus the only Idea I have is not good.

So there is no way of just casting 1 spell over and over as there are still limitations but the whole thing is steamlined in terms of only having to track 1 recource and not 5 and also makes the balancing of the spells much more easier since you can balance them arround the cost.

For example the 10k10 death ray could cos0t like 15 spiritpoinst and counts as 2 spells for the maximum usage of the same spell per combat.

So for introducing a new element (Mana). You are wrong.  I never talked about mana and never said tzhis would be mana. I talked about spiritpoints which given by the Kami when they like you and when you are in tune with them. Spiritpoints are the soure of the Shugenjas

ability to make the thinsg the Kami tell him work in Rokugan. And while this is a new element it is not Mana and not really alien cause you can color it in a fitting way for the setting.

 

And no I will not stop cause I don´t see that there are any better ideas here.

Thing is. Removing the dmg spells, tuning the power down etc are very bad ways and actually are destructive solutions which I really want

to avoid casue it only destroys things instead of trying to keep them but in a better version.

 

 

First: Sometimes your posts are hard to read, due to your spelling...please try to check it before posting...I'm not perfect either, but I try.

 

Second: So...your suggestions includes VOID in calculating the Spiritpoints, but without the advantage Ishiken-Do no one is able to cast VOID-Spells...so in your example the Shugenja would either have 3 unusable Spiritpoints, would get Void-Spells without adavtage or would still have the same effect as before and so he would be able to cast the same spell at a maximum of 6 times. Which would mean: NOTHING CHANGES, except that you have more Spiritpoints than you can use, except you'd have spells at a cost for ine spiritpoint.

 

Third: In what way exactly are the Spitipoint different from Mana/ Zeon/ Magicpoints?

---

 

I totally agree with you, Crawd. What Kuni-Shugenja would not want to use at least one offensive spell?

 

--

 

I have to point out that I play and love L5R (mostly) the way it is. Yes, I'd love to get some more information on some things. Yes, I'd love to get some clarifications on some things. Yes, I miss some additional Paths or advanced schools. 

But: Magic is overpowered to begin with. In most of my groups the background/ fluff of L5R has influence on the rules and on how we do things. And I can alsways talk to my players if something seems to be amiss, as well as I can talk to the GM and we always find a solution.

We created a new Ancestor for one of the players, we created a new Advanced school for my Shosuro-Actress and many more stuff. If we need an answer and don't find it in the rulebooks, we think about how it would be in China, Japan or the other asian countries and fill this in. And it works.

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How about Fire spells that create stuff? That's lore. 

[Craft] spells are a thing. They're kind of all over the place. There are two schools, in fact, that specialize in them.

 

Or break stuff? Lore supports that, too.

 

Fiery Wrath - Fire 3 (Does there need to be more than one spell that specifically breaks items? Why?)

 

Or help you know stuff? Oh hey, Intelligence Trait; that's part of Fire.

 

Mental Quickness - Fire 2

Fire Kami's Blessing - Fire 1

(How would you expand upon these spells for your argument's sake? They kind of cover "knowing stuff" pretty completely.)

 

Hell, what about a spell to create light? Sure, you can say "that's just Summon with some Raises" -- but isn't one of the founding concepts of the current spell system the notion that people created those spells by codifying the impromptu adaptations their forebears came up with for more basic spells?

 

Fire creates it's own light. So I'm still going to suggest that Summon (even without raises - all you need is something to ignite) goes a long way.
But for the sake of argument; Gift of Amaterasu - Fire 1

 

(It isn't helped by the fact that some of the spells are just flat-out in the wrong place. Why is seeing hidden things and blowing away illusions part of Air, instead of Water? Why is gaining more knowledge of the skills you have not Fire? Bah.)

 

Totally agree with you here.

 

Furthermore: if divination could do half the things it does in East Asian folklore, we could have easily half a dozen spells built around using it in different ways. If we had a well-developed concept of the Spirit Realms and spirits in Ningen-do as more than just a thing that shows up to attack people sometimes and is usually Tainted when it does, we could more easily develop concepts for spells that would allow shugenja to do more with those spirits than a couple of banishing spells are we're done.

 

Sense and Commune can go a long way towards all sorts of different "interact with the spirit world" stories you want to tell.

If you were to say that the RPG writers did a horrid job of explaining the nature of the kami and how shugenja using Commune might interact with them in various ways, I would totally agree.
But the tools to do so were provided.

 

If the favor and wrath of Fortunes was really a force in people's daily lives (as opposed to those world-shaking events when the Fate of the Empire Is at Stake), then shugenja spells could interact with that in useful ways: currently, if you want to commune with a Fortune, you'd better be capable of casting Air 6 spells.

 

Another area we totally agree on. A LOT of 4th Edition spells were very poorly placed in their Mastery Level unfortunately.

Edited by Bayushi Tsubaki

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How about Fire spells that create stuff? That's lore.

[Craft] spells are a thing. They're kind of all over the place. There are two schools, in fact, that specialize in them.

 

I count nineteen spells with the Craft keyword. Of those, ten create things purely for combat purposes (including four of the six Fire spells), and four of the remaining nine create illusions. Craft can be more than that.

 

 

Or break stuff? Lore supports that, too.

Fiery Wrath - Fire 3 (Does there need to be more than one spell that specifically breaks items? Why?)

 

Do we really need more than a dozen ways to burn somebody in the first three mastery levels of Fire? Why?

Fundamentally, I think the answer to that question is "we're used to treating the finer details of how many people you're burning how badly for how long as important." And the answer to your question is "we aren't used to treating other aspects of Fire as important." But that doesn't mean it can't be done, and couldn't be interesting if it were.

 

 

Or help you know stuff? Oh hey, Intelligence Trait; that's part of Fire.

Mental Quickness - Fire 2

Fire Kami's Blessing - Fire 1

(How would you expand upon these spells for your argument's sake? They kind of cover "knowing stuff" pretty completely.)

 

They cover it pretty completely because the designers didn't feel like putting in nuance. (Kind of like how the Spy Network advantage gives you an Empire-wide array of informants who can get you information on anything instantaneously. Didn't leave much room for designing techniques around espionage, because the official mechanic gives you everything you might ever want for eight XP.)

If broken up, "knowing stuff" spells could involve minor or major dice boosts for recalling stuff, for reasoning through stuff, for breaking ciphers (all three Intelligence-based, but different uses of the Trait), setting your brain to perfectly record what you see for the next X period, divining your way toward sources of information on a thing, communing directly with the Fire Dragon to get facts . . . that's off the top of my head.

 

 

Hell, what about aspell to create light? Sure, you can say "that's just Summon with some Raises" -- but isn't one of the founding concepts of the current spell system the notion that people created those spells by codifying the impromptu adaptations their forebears came up with for more basic spells?

Fire creates it's own light. So I'm still going to suggest that Summon (even without raises - all you need is something to ignite) goes a long way.

But for the sake of argument; Gift of Amaterasu - Fire 1

 

The game was around for years before Gift of Amaterasu got added; also, that light doesn't move with you. And there are situations were you don't want actual fire around (e.g. when near hanabi or gaijin pepper) or you *can't* have fire (e.g. underwater; this became an issue in my own campaign). It's a basic concept. I don't buy that shugenja would never have bothered to develop it, especially in a society with such flammable architecture.

 

 

Furthermore: if divination could do half the things it does in East Asian folklore, we could have easily half a dozen spells built around using it in different ways. If we had a well-developed concept of the Spirit Realms and spirits in Ningen-do as more than just a thing that shows up to attack people sometimes and is usually Tainted when it does, we could more easily develop concepts for spells that would allow shugenja to do more with those spirits than a couple of banishing spells are we're done.

Sense and Commune can go a long way towards all sorts of different "interact with the spirit world" stories you want to tell.

If you were to say that the RPG writers did a horrid job of explaining the nature of the kami and how shugenja using Commune might interact with them in various ways, I would totally agree.

But the tools to do so were provided.

 

"Spirits" =/= "just kami." I'm talking about ghosts, gaki, mujina, kitsune, yuki no onna, slaughter spirits . . . I could keep going. Interacting with those things is almost 100% the domain of specialty schools and paths (Toritaka Exorcist, Sodan-Senzo), which means most shugenja aren't any better at dealing with that sort of thing than a bushi or a courtier. If normal spells gave a good assortment of ways to sense spirits, divine their nature, influence them (e.g. temporarily calming a slaughter spirit or forcing an incorporeal creature to become corporeal), and so forth, then shugenja would bring something unique to the table in the supernatural realm.

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Tev, it is clear to me that you want a game where you can blow stuff up with no restraints. That's not L5R, sorry.

 

Er, sure it is.

Haven't you heard of Isawa? Sezaru? Chosai? Tamori? Shaitung? Tadaka? Tsuke? Koiso? Etc. (Heck, Ochiai was a noticeably unusual Master of Fire for not having a temper or blowing stuff up on the regular.)

Blowing stuff up with no restraint is par for the course for Rokugan.

 

I meant it player-wise (ie, without mechanical/system restraints), not character-wise :) 

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I can talk later about mana points magic system and how it worked in play in DND (Psionics, which I loved dearly) if someone is interested in somewhat neutral analysis on one of proposed models.

Also, I kinda love how "Shugenja are outdoing Bushi in skirmish" somewhat was equalized to "Shugenja should lose damage spells", because damage spells aren't really the problem in battles. Sure, Auto-Aim 100% Accuracy Ranged Ono hurts, but stuff like "no, you can't move" or "no, you are floating midair and can't move" or "no, you fall on your ass and can't move" is usually more problematic and encounter-deciding. THE difference between Shugenja and Bushi is the fact that Shugenja have access to guaranteed Damage and often-guaranteed Control, while Bushi have access only to not-guaranteed Damage and not-guaranteed two Control effects - Knockdown (Knockdown is actually superpowerful and singlehandely makes high Strength builds viable) and Disarm (which comes at price of "you do no damage pretty much", and "most of your opponents can ignore your special effect by Free Action drawing weapon". 

 

Mental Quickness - Fire 2

Fire Kami's Blessing - Fire 1

(How would you expand upon these spells for your argument's sake? They kind of cover "knowing stuff" pretty completely.)

These spells are problem spell on their own, simply because they singlehandely make Lore-Person obsolete. 

 

As for "blowing up stuff is bad and not L5R" - let's not go into judging quality of people's playstyles. Some people prefer romances, some prefer investigations, and some prefer blowing people up. Neither is inherently superior or inferior. They are just stories, and different people enjoy different stories. 

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Also, I kinda love how "Shugenja are outdoing Bushi in skirmish" somewhat was equalized to "Shugenja should lose damage spells", because damage spells aren't really the problem in battles. Sure, Auto-Aim 100% Accuracy Ranged Ono hurts, but stuff like "no, you can't move" or "no, you are floating midair and can't move" or "no, you fall on your ass and can't move" is usually more problematic and encounter-deciding. THE difference between Shugenja and Bushi is the fact that Shugenja have access to guaranteed Damage and often-guaranteed Control, while Bushi have access only to not-guaranteed Damage and not-guaranteed two Control effects - Knockdown (Knockdown is actually superpowerful and singlehandely makes high Strength builds viable) and Disarm (which comes at price of "you do no damage pretty much", and "most of your opponents can ignore your special effect by Free Action drawing weapon". 

Nothing shugenja do is guaranteed. Most "control" effects either offer contested rolls to resist or take more time than typical spells to cast, and that's not even touching the possibility of failing your casting roll.

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If you have Ring equal to Mastery Level of spell you are casting and you are willing to spend a Void Point, you literally are going to have at least 85% chances of success at spellcasting, and probably higher because you are going to get free rolled dice from Shugenja Rank. It's like saying that Bushi has game-impacting chance of missing an attack against a naked, unmoving person with no Defence skill and Reflexes equal to spell level. Like, literally:

LVL1 spell - 5+5 TN (10)

Reflexes 1 person - 5+5 ATN

LVL2 spell - 5+10 (15)

Reflexes 2 person - 5+10 (15)

LVL 3 spell - 5+15 (20)

Reflexes 3 - 5+15 (20)

LVL 4 spell - 5+20 (25)

Reflexes 4 - 5 +20 (25)

LVL 5 spell - 5+25 (30)

Reflexes 5 - 5 + 25 (30)

Hitting your Crab Bushi with Reflexes 3 and Heavy Armor (which is, pretty much, a starting character) is as hard as casting a LVL 5 spell. 

This also means that your starting Shugenja 1 with Ring at 3 would have pretty good shot at casting a Rank 4 spell. 

Failing spells is *hard*. 

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I count nineteen spells with the Craft keyword. Of those, ten create things purely for combat purposes (including four of the six Fire spells), and four of the remaining nine create illusions. Craft can be more than that.

Should it, though? Should there be spells that just *make stuff* and bypass entirely the Crafting/Artisan skills? Not to mention, most "things" are made up of more than a single element.

 

Do we really need more than a dozen ways to burn somebody in the first three mastery levels of Fire? Why?

Fundamentally, I think the answer to that question is "we're used to treating the finer details of how many people you're burning how badly for how long as important." And the answer to your question is "we aren't used to treating other aspects of Fire as important." But that doesn't mean it can't be done, and couldn't be interesting if it were.

 

And in the last 3 mastery levels there's not nearly as many. So let's look at totals for all mastery levels:

Total Fire Spells (not counting multi-element): 58

Fire Spells obviously designed for combat: 32 (only 20 of which are used to burn your opponent with Fire).

So only slightly above half of all the Fire spells are combat spells, and only 2/3rds of those actually burn a foe. And, contrary to your claim, there is plenty of non-combat utility in the Fire options.

Coming from the element of Fire, who's very fundamental nature is "burn it!" ... I just don't see the problem.

 

They cover it pretty completely because the designers didn't feel like putting in nuance. (Kind of like how the Spy Network advantage gives you an Empire-wide array of informants who can get you information on anything instantaneously. Didn't leave much room for designing techniques around espionage, because the official mechanic gives you everything you might ever want for eight XP.)

 

The RPG mechanics are chock full of examples of a lack of nuance. Glory, for example. (If you're famous for doing things in Dragon lands, why are you also famous in Crab lands on the other side of the Empire?)

Nuance is up to the GM and players to craft. No RPG mechanics have ever done nuance well, because it's not their role.

 

The game was around for years before Gift of Amaterasu got added; also, that light doesn't move with you. And there are situations were you don't want actual fire around (e.g. when near hanabi or gaijin pepper) or you *can't* have fire (e.g. underwater; this became an issue in my own campaign). It's a basic concept. I don't buy that shugenja would never have bothered to develop it, especially in a society with such flammable architecture.

 

Fair enough. So make that spell. There has never been anything saying the spells included in the book(s) are all there is. Here:

Torch's Flame

Ring/Mastery: Fire 1

Range: Personal

Area of Effect: 20ft

Duration: Concentration

Raises: Area of Effect (+5ft)

You entice a Fire kami to ignite and follow you, shedding light as a lantern but giving off no heat. The flame will not harm any creatures it comes into contact with, nor will it set aflame any objects.

 

As for underwater light... Well, I can't help you there. Good luck even finding a Fire kami when submerged in it's natural antithesis.  :lol:

 

"Spirits" =/= "just kami." I'm talking about ghosts, gaki, mujina, kitsune, yuki no onna, slaughter spirits . . . I could keep going. Interacting with those things is almost 100% the domain of specialty schools and paths (Toritaka Exorcist, Sodan-Senzo), which means most shugenja aren't any better at dealing with that sort of thing than a bushi or a courtier. If normal spells gave a good assortment of ways to sense spirits, divine their nature, influence them (e.g. temporarily calming a slaughter spirit or forcing an incorporeal creature to become corporeal), and so forth, then shugenja would bring something unique to the table in the supernatural realm.

 

Shugenja are not "masters of communicating with all things spiritual," for one. They are simply samurai who are blessed with an ability to speak with the elemental kami. That gives them zero inherent benefit when dealing with other spiritual forces, because there is nothing to suggest that the kami themselves are any more capable with other spirit realms.

A shugenja will almost always know more about the spirit realms than a bushi, just from study alone, but there is nothing in the lore to suggest that they are any more capable of interacting with said spirits than any other mortal. The only exceptions are those schools that specialize in such things, such as the Kitsu and Kitsune, both of whom have this capability because of their direct connection to said Spirit creatures and not because of any shugenja talent.

The Toritaka, in contrast, exist specifically to deal with non-kami spiritual issues. This is why their bushi are more capable against spirit creatures and why their shugenja are more capable at exorcisms; because that's not something that shugenja can typically do, but it IS something that Toritaka typically do.

 

Now, if you would rather the game allow shugenja to interact with Spirits more than canon suggests they do, hey, go for it. Sounds like fun in fact. But that's not the default assumption of the setting.

Edited by Bayushi Tsubaki

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Craft can be more than that.

Should it, though? Should there be spells that just *make stuff* and bypass entirely the Crafting/Artisan skills? Not to mention, most "things" are made up of more than a single element.

 

Why do you leap to assuming that "doing more with Craft" = "bypassing the skills"? You could have a spell that boosts your Craft skill (which doesn't do you any good if you don't have the skill to begin with). Heck, you could have a couple of spells of that kind, providing different kinds of/variable levels of benefit. You could have a Craft-keyword spell that shrinks an item for a time (or permanently), or makes it bigger. Again, that's me thinking for about fifteen seconds about what else Craft-keyword spells can do. I bet if I spent an hour on this, I could come up with a lot more.

 

Total Fire Spells (not counting multi-element): 58

Fire Spells obviously designed for combat: 32 (only 20 of which are used to burn your opponent with Fire).

So only slightly above half of all the Fire spells are combat spells, and only 2/3rds of those actually burn a foe.

Twenty ways to burn a guy is more than enough to bore me stiff. And I've already given plenty of examples for how I think non-combat uses of Fire could be made more interesting, but haven't been.

 

Nuance is up to the GM and players to craft. No RPG mechanics have ever done nuance well, because it's not their role.

Dude, they do nuance all the time: see the aforementioned twenty different ways to burn a guy. It's just that game systems historically care about some kinds of nuance (combat) more than others (social things like Glory).

 

 

The game was around for years before Gift of Amaterasu got added; also, that light doesn't move with you. And there are situations were you don't want actual fire around (e.g. when near hanabi or gaijin pepper) or you *can't* have fire (e.g. underwater; this became an issue in my own campaign). It's a basic concept. I don't buy that shugenja would never have bothered to develop it, especially in a society with such flammable architecture.

Fair enough. So make that spell. There has never been anything saying the spells included in the book(s) are all there is.

 

. . . I feel like we're losing the thread of the argument, here.

My underlying point is that fluff tells me that shugenja in combat are overall pretty rare, but the mechanics of what a shugenja can do includes a vast array of interesting things to do in combat. This isn't surprising given the history of game design and the assumptions that tend to be baked into it, but it does mean that the game *as written* encourages people to play shugenja as arcane cannons, and does not do a lot to encourage playing them as spiritual scholars and priests. One of the arguments against that latter approach is, what would you do with magic if it isn't combat-related? I've given a bunch of examples, but nobody's paying me to design fifty non-combat spells to flesh out what shugenja are supposed to be doing a lot of in the setting.

 

 

"Spirits" =/= "just kami." I'm talking about ghosts, gaki, mujina, kitsune, yuki no onna, slaughter spirits . . . I could keep going. Interacting with those things is almost 100% the domain of specialty schools and paths (Toritaka Exorcist, Sodan-Senzo), which means most shugenja aren't any better at dealing with that sort of thing than a bushi or a courtier. If normal spells gave a good assortment of ways to sense spirits, divine their nature, influence them (e.g. temporarily calming a slaughter spirit or forcing an incorporeal creature to become corporeal), and so forth, then shugenja would bring something unique to the table in the supernatural realm.

Shugenja are not "masters of communicating with all things spiritual," for one.

 

arrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

They are *priests*. If they aren't in charge of dealing with spiritual stuff, then that word has lost all meaning for me, and I give up.

Do they have an inherent benefit when dealing with things that aren't kami? No more than bushi have an inherent benefit when hitting things, or courtiers have an inherent benefit when talking to people. But this is the kind of thing priests *should be taught how to do*. And as I've said a million times on like six different threads now, it puts them on an equal footing with courtiers and bushi -- people with their own area of specialty -- rather than mechanizing them as courtiers and bushi who just use the kami to do the talky and hitty stuff.

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If you have Ring equal to Mastery Level of spell you are casting and you are willing to spend a Void Point, you literally are going to have at least 85% chances of success at spellcasting, and probably higher because you are going to get free rolled dice from Shugenja Rank. It's like saying that Bushi has game-impacting chance of missing an attack against a naked, unmoving person with no Defence skill and Reflexes equal to spell level. Like, literally:

LVL1 spell - 5+5 TN (10)

Reflexes 1 person - 5+5 ATN

LVL2 spell - 5+10 (15)

Reflexes 2 person - 5+10 (15)

LVL 3 spell - 5+15 (20)

Reflexes 3 - 5+15 (20)

LVL 4 spell - 5+20 (25)

Reflexes 4 - 5 +20 (25)

LVL 5 spell - 5+25 (30)

Reflexes 5 - 5 + 25 (30)

Hitting your Crab Bushi with Reflexes 3 and Heavy Armor (which is, pretty much, a starting character) is as hard as casting a LVL 5 spell. 

This also means that your starting Shugenja 1 with Ring at 3 would have pretty good shot at casting a Rank 4 spell. 

Failing spells is *hard*. 

 

Nice numbers but this is wrongly done. But a Shugenja 1 cannot cast a Rank 4 spell. Also, casting a Rank 4 spell without raise would mean that he'll need 4 Complex Action to cast it. That means 4 turns as a sitting duck waiting to be killed. Oh yeah, it's easier, at the round 4, meanwhile, the other Bushi had 4 attacks. Where's the problem here?

 

Let's say now that he has 3 Void points. He takes 3 raises to cast it in 1 round, the TN is now 40, is failing still not possible? Nope, plus failing his cast would also mean losing his spellslot. Meanwhile a Bushi that didn't successfully hit didn't lose his weapon (unless the storyteller is saying so depending on the attack roll, but that's not an official rule).

 

Now, you can always spend a Void point, yes, but that's also mean that if the Shugenja get hits, he won't have a Void point for the -10 damage reduction. That's a tough decision when you want to cast a spell.

 

Now, I take a look at the absurd situation you've mentionned: "your starting Shugenja 1 with Ring at 3 would have pretty good shot at casting a Rank 4 spell.", even if it's not possible, since the fastest way to cast a Rank 4 spell is with an Isawa Tensai. He wants to cast it in 1 turn, which is TN40, I'll even give him a Free Raise, that's means a TN of 35. Without a void, he has a chance of 11% of success. With a Void, it goes up to 32%.

 

In addition, let's not forget the disrupting rule in the Casting rule, each time he's interrupted, he'll have to do a Willpower Roll with a TN 10 or, when he's damaged, a Will power Roll of 5 + damage he's taken that hit. This interruption doesn't make him lose his spellslot, but that's still annoying, specially if you have to cast more than 1 turn.

 

So, when we include everything, as it should be, is it really that easy?

 

Edit note: Changing Full Action for Complex Action.

Edited by Crawd

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Shugenja are not "masters of communicating with all things spiritual," for one. They are simply samurai who are blessed with an ability to speak with the elemental kami. That gives them zero inherent benefit when dealing with other spiritual forces, because there is nothing to suggest that the kami themselves are any more capable with other spirit realms.

A shugenja will almost always know more about the spirit realms than a bushi, just from study alone, but there is nothing in the lore to suggest that they are any more capable of interacting with said spirits than any other mortal. The only exceptions are those schools that specialize in such things, such as the Kitsu and Kitsune, both of whom have this capability because of their direct connection to said Spirit creatures and not because of any shugenja talent.

The Toritaka, in contrast, exist specifically to deal with non-kami spiritual issues. This is why their bushi are more capable against spirit creatures and why their shugenja are more capable at exorcisms; because that's not something that shugenja can typically do, but it IS something that Toritaka typically do.

 

Now, if you would rather the game allow shugenja to interact with Spirits more than canon suggests they do, hey, go for it. Sounds like fun in fact. But that's not the default assumption of the setting.

 

 

It's a default disconnect built into the setting as it exists right now.  Are the shugenja priests, or are they magic missile troops with "talk to kami" as their enabling tidbit of lore? 

 

And for whatever reason, maybe edition-to-edition baggage and conflicting writer opinions on what the "story of L5R" should be focused on and CCG vs RPG issues, it's like the game can't decide what the role of "non-kami" spirits is.  Sometimes they're all minions of a greater malefic force seeking to corrupt or lead astray, sometimes they're just mysterious alien entities with inscrutable motives, sometimes they're your friendly local spirit, sometimes this, sometimes that, but seemingly never "all of the above". 

 

If spirits are supposed to be an integral part of the world, a la Shinto, then why is so much of the spiritual "stuff" locked away in far realms with alien or downright hostile natures?  Ancestor spirits are real, but only the famous ones talk to people, and that's mainly as an excuse for a mechanical bonus and a quirky limitation on the PC.

 

EDIT:  now, if you wanted to put some of the filed off edges back on the setting, there's a case to be made for some more internal conflict between the various shugenja philosophies, the "10000 small gods" approach to the kami versus the "beasts of burden" approach to the kami versus the "these are my friends the kami" approach versus...

Edited by MaxKilljoy

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