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mortthepirate

[RPG] Shugenja (huh!) what are you good for?

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The system and mechanics in an RPG exist to model the "world" in the game is set, and the desired feel and tone. 

 

The setting, the characters, the tone, the feel, the genre, etc, those are all the actual TERRITORY -- the mechanics and system are the MAP. 

 

 

I like this metaphor!

Always hated those "Crunch haters" and "We are pure role, do not need bloody mechanics" people.

We need both: crunch & fluff.

Unfortunately the authors of many recent L5R books forget the first word....

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Ye ole roleplay vs roll play, story vs mechanic. Personally I like to side with roleplay and story any day over mechanics.

This is a false dichotomy. The rules and mechanics should not be dissociated from the story and setting the game is trying to convey. If you think the two interests are in conflict, you're flat-out wrong. 

 

People like to say "I'm I'm a role player, not a roll player" to defend holes in rules systems -- I'd buy that as a defense if I ever saw anyone say "I'm actually a roll player." I still haven't. Yes, the GM can fiat things to make them work, but by that token you don't need rules at all. It's a silly argument.

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@Huitzil37 I did say that, but read the entire post. You will see I advocate a balance of story and mechanics overall. I believe it takes a bit of creativity and co-operation to achieve the mix. When the two are balanced it makes for fun, exciting, dynamic games that are memorable. That is what I miss the most about past gaming groups I have been a party. My current group is a rules etched on stone, creativity to file 13, and will never make calls for the sake of story. Last campaign ended in total party wipe due to the gamemaster rolling a streak of good rolls, while the players were all rolling low. (Insert *swish*...*crunch*, GAME OVER.) and that was just when the story had passed the point of no return, and was beginning to feel alive and interesting. Ahh well another character for the shredder, move on to next campaign.

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This is a false dichotomy. The rules and mechanics should not be dissociated from the story and setting the game is trying to convey. If you think the two interests are in conflict, you're flat-out wrong. 

 

People like to say "I'm I'm a role player, not a roll player" to defend holes in rules systems -- I'd buy that as a defense if I ever saw anyone say "I'm actually a roll player." I still haven't. Yes, the GM can fiat things to make them work, but by that token you don't need rules at all. It's a silly argument.

 

This is also false dichotomy since the one, including myself, in the "I'm a role player" type never said there's no hole in the system. I won't talk for the other but my point is: "There's a hole, I'll fill it with what the setting is offering me instead of staring at the hole and wishing it will eventually fill up." I have some mechanics that I don't like, I made my own system and mechanics to not have to deal with them. One of them is the Mass Combat, I don't like it, it feels very static with very few place for the players to do strategy, but that's me. What I've done? I built my own Mass Combat system based on my experience on mini-wargaming. I'm fine with it and my players are fine with it. Will it be fine for others, surely not.

 

There's some holes, I've said several times that I would like to see fixes. If I like them, I'll use them, if not, I'll talk with my group for a way to see how they like it, if they don't, we'll change it to a way that we'll like it.

 

We have the chance to play a game that we can alter some rules to make it more enjoyable. It's all a matter of discussing this with the group as long as everyone in the group play the same game. It's like video games were you can add mods to change the game without breaking it, it's the same game with some tweeks to fill a need.

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I actually wrote an article about the false dichotomy of "Crunch vs. Fluff!" for Cardboard Republic, and it basically sums up my feelings on the matter. http://www.cardboardrepublic.com/articles/up-on-a-soapbox/the-archetypes-applied-to-roleplaying-gamesfor those who care.

 

Regarding Shugenja, they are one of the three pillars of the game, and really do need to be treated as such. A shugenja should be as essential to a well balanced group of L5R characters as a bushi and a courtier, meaning either more important in some games, less important in other games, and completely absent in other games. What shugenja bring to L5R that neither bushi nor courtiers can is, simply, access to the FANTASY part of Legend of the Five Rings.

 

Shugenja should be the means by which players can access the more fantastic elements of Rokugan's setting. They should be more than simply the Mage-Class. However, similar to how bushi and courtiers function, each different "style" (i.e. Great Clan) of shugenja should provide an entirely different flavor by which to access the fantastic elements. It is in the Supernatural stories that shugenja should be able to outshine the bushi and the courtier, just as Intrigue stories should allow the courtiers to shine, and Action stories should allow the bushi to shine.

 

So, that's the key to this. The Shugenja should be the character who shines when the fantastic and supernatural elements of L5R are central to the story. How they go about doing this should vary from Great Clan to Great Clan. Having a default "priest who prays to the local spirits for aid" is very useful, just as "warrior trained to use weapons to kill their opponent" serves for a bushi and "diplomat trained to handle social conflicts" serves for courtier.

 

How the system goes about arranging this default role and showing the differences between the Great Clans? That depends on the system. But I do not feel that it is entirely unreasonable for my Kitsu Shugenja to play as different in mechanics and fluff as your Isawa Shugenja as my Akodo Bushi plays differently than your Shiba Bushi.

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While there's nothing wrong with homebrew and GM's tweaks and such -- IMO, they are to be encouraged -- I think the point of this discussion is potential new "rules as published" and what can be done to make them better.   Saying "that can be fixed at each game table, so it's no big deal" in response to any shortcoming or fault doesn't do anything to improve the core game. 

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 Specially when I've read the locust shell's post (I do not mean any offense). My Shugenja in my game has a hellish time right now, because I gave him some visions which involved spiritual problems. His reaction, after each vision that I gave him was: "Oh ****, I'll have to deal with that ****?". The other players are like: "You picked to be the Shugenja, so yes, deal with it" without even knowing the vision. I'll bring my question back: "Are the storytellers doing their job?" It's easy to say: "That archtype is doing someone else's job." but the real question is: "Is the storyteller gave the Shugenja a job?"

Oh, no offense taken, but what you write here does make me think you and I have very different GMing philosophies. If it wasn't sufficiently obvious from my post upthread, I prefer to give players challenges that might allow one character or another to take the lead, but in which everyone can participate collaboratively. If I spend too much time giving one character plot hooks that make all the other characters' players say, "You deal with it," I don't feel as if I've done my job well. That's true regardless of whether it's the shugenja or the bushi or whomever else. It's why I wish we could talk a bit more about the types of story (and mechanical) elements that could give shugenja a niche where they shine but the rest of the party also feels like they have interesting and useful stuff to contribute (which I think would take a lot of the sting out of deemphasizing and toning down shugenjas' explodey powers a bit).

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Something to think about when starting out on something like this:  

 

When it comes to "priests with powers" and spells and the supernatural and the role of "magic users" -- what do we see in the source material for L5R?  Japan and other Asian cultures, their actual religions, their myths and legends, their modern storytelling, their cinema and comics and novels and Wuxia and anime... 

 

Are the "casting styles" and actual spell effects appropriate to those source materials? 

 

Agreed

 

Fundementally, shooting fireballs out of your hands is not a thing that shows up in folklore much of anywhere -- Europe, Asia, the Americas, etc. That entire dimension of ability is much more of a modern concept than a historical one.

 

I've actually been researching this kind of thing for a novel, so I have it very much on the brain. Categories of stuff I do see in actual historical Japanese belief, regarding onmyouji and shugenja and Buddhist priests and so forth:

 

1) Improving your own body and what it can do. This is pretty well covered in L5R, via kiho. I personally allow shugenja to pick them up, not just monks; if there's an issue here, it's that the division between "priest" and "monk" is kind of bogus compared to the source material (i.e. history). Can be expanded to improving the bodies of others.

 

2) Divination. Not so much in the "foretell the future" or "find the name of the killer" sense, but more broadly than that: tomorrow will be an auspicious day for battle. The southern direction is unlucky today. Here is a map of the spiritual energies of this area; if you build your house or city according to those guidelines, it will be a more prosperous and harmonious place than if you ignore it. The killer is someone consumed by jealousy -- you don't know their name, but you have a lead to help you look for answers.

 

3) Dealing with spirits. Why are so many bad things happening here? Oh, because the city was built along the wrong alignment and has angered the spirit of the river. I'd better talk to it and figure out if we can institute a festival to placate it, or whether we just have to rebuild the city somewhere else. Why is this woman sick? Oh, the ghost of her dead husband is haunting her while she sleeps each night. We need to find his body and lay him to rest. Why has the Emperor gone insane? Crap -- an evil sorcerer has sent a malicious spirit to possess him. We have to banish the spirit, find the sorcerer, and kill him.

 

There's also a dimension of activity that's about making sure you arrive in the appropriate paradisical land after you die (Pure Land or whatever), but I see that being more a matter of skills (Lore: Theology to advise people on good conduct) than magic as such. The three things above, though, are the core of what I see actual historical Japanese magic/spiritualism doing . . . and of the three, only #1 is well-supported in the system, and even then, only for monks. Others have said it, and I'll repeat it: if you want shugenja to look more like East Asian priests than modern game wizards, you need to develop the spirit world as a thing shugenja can and do interact with on a regular basis, in some fashion other than "we get into a fight and kill it." You need more spirit creatures that aren't Tainted, so their hostility or friendliness becomes a matter of context. You need not just generic "water kami" but "the kami of this river, which is an intelligent and self-aware entity with its own agenda." You need the will of the Heavens to be more than just Oracles descending from the sky to order people around; it needs to permeate daily life, so that the notion of needing a specialist to advise you about it is more than just lip service.

 

You need a game system that says there are three major areas in which characters can function: combat, talking to people, and spiritual matters. And then you develop all three, instead of developing one and nodding vaguely in the direction of the other two.

 

 

I really like what Kinzen has going here. I would like to see the shugenja's religious beliefs outlined. Sure the shugenja have the ability to sense, commune, summon. I also see the clan abilities sort of a connection to their association with their Kami. However where is the cost for these abilities? How do you outline, and define the shugenja's religious duties? (I believe others have brought this point up as well.)

 

I will take a look at some of my favorite fictions: I love J.R.R. Tolkien, magic in his world came at a cost. Gandalf's spells would fatigue him. This is not the only fiction I have ever seen a fatigue factor applied to spell casting. I remember a few anime also included the fatigue factor. Perhaps create non lethal wound system for casting that would make it increasingly harder to cast yet another spell for that day.

 

Perhaps the player has to quest for, or perform task for the spirits, or kami that will fuel the spells before they can acquire  said spells. You may want to create rules for this initial acquisition as well as limitations or qualifiers that will keep the spirit appeased for each time the spell is used?

 

Maybe the player has to sacrifice a portion of their essence their being in order to attune to a spirit, and acquire a spell. This could be temporary loss each time the spell is cast, or a one time permanent loss when it is acquired. (i.e. taking a penalty to fire ring, for acquiring a water spell, and so forth.) 

 

This is just a few suggestions after reading through this thread once again. Inspired by you who have already given us much of this information already. Thanks for your time.

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The question is not what stop the player or Gm from reading it. Actually most do. The real problem comes up when people refer to their interpreation of the setting as the right one and on this basis they jugde your interpretation of how a Shugenja behavs, works, lives etc as wrong one.

This they back up with things like realsim and co. This is a problem cause nothing can be proven wrong or right since there is a lact of mechanics.

Yes the optional rules in the Archiev book can help but they are optional and therefore people can´t use them as default base of argumentation.

Mechanics are needed to avoid problems like how to play something and if your version right or wrong. Which actually is not done with the Shuegnja and therefore people have the problems we describe here.

 

 

What are you suggesting then? Beside: "Plz bring mechanics". I would like to see them. There's a lot of suggestion that we said that you simply deny, I would like to see yours now.

 

I actually did this but ok lets go for a new round.

What we can do is a mechanic that encourges priets stuff so why not create a prayer mechnic which resembles the meditiation mechnic for the monks and let them regenerate spell slot when they pray.

Also I think Shuegnaj shoudl restricted but not with tuning down power. So why not making some spells prequisites so that you no longer can get straight to the most powerful version.

Another thing I sugested is that you tie the very powerful speels directly to certain pueqisitues in the setting. Like getting the INferno ray only after visiting the volcano in the dragonn lands and learning it from a

Kami there. So things you have to do IC to get the spells and make quests for it.

Also to solve the spell slot problem. Why not go for things like Spirit poinst which the shugenja use to cast spells. Yee this is a bit abstact but with them you could also encurage prietsly rp and make ways

to get more or regenerate faster when being a devote priest.

 

The rules which grant boni to devote priests would be ofcourse optional while the rules which restrict the spells you can know should not be optional. So that the default game looks for balance

but does not punish people for a certtain playsytle by default.

Edited by Teveshszat

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The point is in the setting of Rokugan a Shugenja does not need to have an incentive to become a Shugenja.

He can speak with the kami so he is expected to become one as simple as that. 

Shugenja don't need to be more powerful then anything. It is their sacred duty to learn the stuff.

Not really relevant when we're talking about why a player, who is outside of the setting, would choose to play one.

 

From a player perspective I want cool options to build my character and I only get these in a halfway balanced system. When one option becomes so strong that the others don't even compare. I end up with less options. So the only thing you have to do is to make Shugenja on par with the other classes in the game. If I make you an offer to either have 200€ in 100€ notes or 300€ in 50€ notes, you usually don't need long to take the 300€ except you get something weird out of possessing 100€ notes. The 200€ are a non-option.

 

The only reason why I made that point is that studies of becoming a mage/shugenja a described as longer, more tedious, and little rewarding then the fighter/bushi education. However this is a perfectly good in-game reason why you would become a shugenja in the setting anyway without ending up as a god of flames. So in the end it was an argument for balance nothing more nothing less.

 

As for role vs roll player debate. I am a roll player because it is the superior RP style. Joking aside there is some truth to that because for me: Crunch builds fluff.

 

Or perhaps let me phrase that a little different. The optimal system in my eyes is the system where the most power-gamed character concept is also the most fluffy. If that is the case I did everything right as a game designer. My rules match the world perfectly because the best things available to the player are the things that represent the world best. If for some reason a non-fluffy concept ends up beating out the fluffy concepts, I did a poor job as game designer. It is as simple as that and it is the standard I apply to every RPG I pick up.

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Yeah and if a Gm does this with me I stand up and go. The reason you normaly talk about the powerlevel you want to have before the game and also about the roles you want to fill and get to an agreement with all players. This means a siuation like the one above should not occuring since we all said ok you can go for the dmg Shugenja here.  If this talk does not happen and you did not inform him about any houserules which say, you can´t learn this spell, what you are doing is very abitary and a bad way of restriction. Btw  a very bad, bcause very easy abusable mechanic to let you lord decide waht you get and what not. Because as you demonstrated you Gm canjust troll you if he wants to punish you for no reason at alll. And yes I don´t count the stupid envy of you do more than I do a vaild reason where people should be focused on what they can do and not what other can do better.

My example presumes the GM has already explained that the shugenja is not meant to be a one-man artillery regiment.

And your "I stand up and go" response is the sort of petulant foot-stomping that no gaming group I've been part of for the past twenty years has had to put up with because you DO have those conversations good and early.

If you're playing L5R, you're playing in a hierarchical culture that is manifestly unfair at every level, and where the setting's cultural rules really do stomp all over a lot of pragmatic, common-sense decisions- why hasn't weapons technology advanced appreciably in a thousand years? Why hasn't ship-building changed? Why have their two sojourns in the Burning Sands not changed the Scorpion more? Why are the Phoenix still a Great Clan after getting all but wiped out in the Clan Wars? Why do the Rokugani have such a problem trusting the Naga or Nezumi, despite the fact that both species clearly oppose the same existential threats that Rokugan does? Why have the Phoenix never won a war, despite having the most shugenja and actually using them in military formations? Why does anyone agree to duel a Crane Kenshinzen as if it actually proves who's right or wrong on a given issue?

 

Because that's what Rokugani do. They're not a culture terribly concerned with logic (which has led me to tooth-gnashing frustration more than once).

With that said, I agree it's a far from perfect solution- but at a base design level, the only real, effective choices seem to be either knocking shugenja down a peg...or jacking Bushi, Courtiers, et al up to meet them.

 

 

Note that even the fiction depictions of shugenja, while light on fumbling for scrolls or keeping track of spell slots, often have them employing magic on an almost unconscious level, and very casually slinging effect around. Rokugan has been portrayed as a higher-fantasy setting than the average Kurosawa film for quite some time now. Maybe FFG will change that, but when you have Ise Zumi jumping over castle gates to hold off hordes of Yobanjin who are actively on fire, or bushi (that's clearly all Seiken was) conversing with celestial beings, or Crab samurai attacking house-sized oni with what are basically metal baseball bats, I think the low-magic nature of the setting is a bit overstated by those who want to play Sanjuro instead of Ranma 1/2...

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The setting, the characters, the tone, the feel, the genre, etc, those are all the actual TERRITORY -- the mechanics and system are the MAP.

This is a good way of encapsulating it. If you're a new player to L5R, you may have a vague sense that the territory is supposed to be that shugenja are priests who spend a lot of time praying and thinking about theology and dealing with spiritual matters . . . but the map you've been handed is for a D&D dungeon, where you can reveal hidden doors and cast fireball at whatever's behind them. One group may choose to explore the territory and not worry about using a map (I played in a D&D game that was more a romantic comedy than anything else, where we went an entire session with the only roll being a Spot check to see if you noticed somebody checking you out), but it's easier going if the map helps you out.

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The setting, the characters, the tone, the feel, the genre, etc, those are all the actual TERRITORY -- the mechanics and system are the MAP.

This is a good way of encapsulating it. If you're a new player to L5R, you may have a vague sense that the territory is supposed to be that shugenja are priests who spend a lot of time praying and thinking about theology and dealing with spiritual matters . . . but the map you've been handed is for a D&D dungeon, where you can reveal hidden doors and cast fireball at whatever's behind them. One group may choose to explore the territory and not worry about using a map (I played in a D&D game that was more a romantic comedy than anything else, where we went an entire session with the only roll being a Spot check to see if you noticed somebody checking you out), but it's easier going if the map helps you out.

 

 

That's the big downside to the basic rpg. Some times you just get min/maxers and people who just care about killing stuff for dem shiny lootz. The only true solution I know of to combat that is having a good GM and good players.

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"Magic has to be more powerful" is an assumption, not a universal truth.

 

If it isn't most magic casters would just pick up a sword for their starting levels like in most mmorpg games.

So for short games, being a magic caster would just be equal to a understat warrior.

 

They have to be strong at the start. ie lvl drain life is way stronger than a swing of a sword when you can kite and block

Its like trying to compare a archer with a warrior. warrior and archer meet each other, try to fight each other, archer gets two shots in before warrior closes gap, normally in other games unlike L5R there is no wound penalty, but here you see, if those arrows hit, warrior will mostly likely miss his first swing, and that ends the game.

Same concept as a mage, only they have a wider range of skills to access.

 

We've had rps in L5R where our GMs explicitly only allow Bushi as the only class available, that or first come first serve on the shuggy spot.

In online games, usually they either spread out the shuggies, if there are too much, they bunch them up in 1 group and they have their own deadly high lvl adventure.

 

Shuggies will always have an advantage over warriors in the start of a game. You can't simply tell them you aren't allowed to get this spell first or lvl up this spell first etc...

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Some who warriors just don't know their duty. Bushi are always cannon fodder for Shuggies, cuz without them, those puny earth 2 or even 1 shuggies are as good as dead in those nice kimonos. Its just a matter of people knowing their roles. Can't help it in a environment where some people want to prove something or want to be useful in showy way.

 

You enjoy the character for what it is. Not for what it can do.

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The setting, the characters, the tone, the feel, the genre, etc, those are all the actual TERRITORY -- the mechanics and system are the MAP.

This is a good way of encapsulating it. If you're a new player to L5R, you may have a vague sense that the territory is supposed to be that shugenja are priests who spend a lot of time praying and thinking about theology and dealing with spiritual matters . . . but the map you've been handed is for a D&D dungeon, where you can reveal hidden doors and cast fireball at whatever's behind them. One group may choose to explore the territory and not worry about using a map (I played in a D&D game that was more a romantic comedy than anything else, where we went an entire session with the only roll being a Spot check to see if you noticed somebody checking you out), but it's easier going if the map helps you out.

Right now, reading through the book, comparing the setting info to the rules for shugenja spell-casting, it sometimes feels like coming to a road sign that looks like this.

<------- Shugenja

Shugenja-------->

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That's the big downside to the basic rpg. Some times you just get min/maxers and people who just care about killing stuff for dem shiny lootz. The only true solution I know of to combat that is having a good GM and good players.

While this is true to some extent, game design can be part of the solution. Some games encourage min/maxing more than others. Some games require min/maxing if you want to be anything like effective. Some games provide material and mechanics for stuff other than combat; some are really just there for the killinatin' and the loot.

 

Or: it's easier to be a good GM and good players when the game helps you be more than just a murderhobo.

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That's the big downside to the basic rpg. Some times you just get min/maxers and people who just care about killing stuff for dem shiny lootz. The only true solution I know of to combat that is having a good GM and good players.

While this is true to some extent, game design can be part of the solution. Some games encourage min/maxing more than others. Some games require min/maxing if you want to be anything like effective. Some games provide material and mechanics for stuff other than combat; some are really just there for the killinatin' and the loot.

 

Or: it's easier to be a good GM and good players when the game helps you be more than just a murderhobo.

 

 

Do you have any suggestion to (I hate the word) discourage min/maxing besides what Kubernes said: "A good storyteller and good players"? From my experiences, I still haven't found any mechanics that does it, unless it's a "Pre-determined progression" but this removes all the personalisation of your character. I feel like the game designers can't do much about min/maxers and rely on the story designer to give hooks on how a person in the world behaves, behaviours isn't something that you implement in a game through mechanics.

 

So I'm asking you because I really want to see a suggestion, how do you "discourage" min/maxing on a mechanics way?

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So I have often played Shugenja's and I have done so for what I consider to be good reasons, I want to play a spiritual character.

 

That being said, I think that there were some things that should have not been done away with in 3rd that should not have been. The first being the 8 rank spell system that the universe was expanded into in the supliments. 4th edition should have stared with 8 mastery levels. Things would have moved along so much better in many games had certian Osano-Wo Spells had to have been taken at higher mastery levels. Also this really does push the epic spells off into the advanced schools. This is actually something quite easy to fix in a home game. 

 

I agree with those who say that counterspelling has to be integrated as a mastery ability for spellcraft; though it should be rank 3 not rank 5. You should also get a free raise to it at Spellcraft 7. I will admit that the write-up in book of fire was clunky for it but once you realize that really it is a one round action it also keeps the other shugenja from getting crazy as well. 

 

Use the optional rules presented in the Imperial Archives for shugenja. I would also require them to do ritual purification in the morning of at least an hour or two or not recharge their spell slots. It honestly makes more sence to require the ritual purification instead of sleap but if you do that you can make it two hours. (remember a rokugani hour is two regular hours.) If you are honest to your players at the begining of the game and you keep to it you will have players running around doing things while shugenja are ritually purifyuing. Though everyonce in a while make an essencial clue pop up here so player does not feal like they are just being punished.

 

As for limiting them to the spells given at school ranks jumps. People can claim what they want about things but the game is designed to work that way. If you are giving players lots of extra spells then it is you the GM who is changing the game. Don't blaim way the gaim is designed when you houserule in a lot of additional spells. This warning has been stated many times in many supliments since 1st edition. You can not expect a game to be what it is not designed to be.

 

Finally, if you want shugenja to not be overpowered or overspecialized you have to run spiritual adventures with spiritual interactions. Its all about motivations. Make them take the spells that would be of less use in other situations. Such as the one to bless dead bodies or purify the fields.

 

Cap rings to rank 5. Officially rings are not caped. I once saw a Isawa fire shugenja running around at rank 4 with Fire 7, Its crazy and it really hurts no-one to do this. Most campaigns should have been over by then anyways.

 

L5R has always had shugenja who have nuked the planet. Just read the fictions where the Isawa actually march in war, Its crazy but it happens.

Edited by Bremathon

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That's the big downside to the basic rpg. Some times you just get min/maxers and people who just care about killing stuff for dem shiny lootz. The only true solution I know of to combat that is having a good GM and good players.

While this is true to some extent, game design can be part of the solution. Some games encourage min/maxing more than others. Some games require min/maxing if you want to be anything like effective. Some games provide material and mechanics for stuff other than combat; some are really just there for the killinatin' and the loot.

 

Or: it's easier to be a good GM and good players when the game helps you be more than just a murderhobo.

 

 

Do you have any suggestion to (I hate the word) discourage min/maxing besides what Kubernes said: "A good storyteller and good players"? From my experiences, I still haven't found any mechanics that does it, unless it's a "Pre-determined progression" but this removes all the personalisation of your character. I feel like the game designers can't do much about min/maxers and rely on the story designer to give hooks on how a person in the world behaves, behaviours isn't something that you implement in a game through mechanics.

 

So I'm asking you because I really want to see a suggestion, how do you "discourage" min/maxing on a mechanics way?

 

 

I can´t see why you want do something against MIn/maxers. I actually find these people very usefull cause their drive for the best mnechanical character and stats also helps in finding weaknesses of the game and than people an designers can come up with suitable fixes and rules to close the gaps the MIn/maxers found.

Doing something against them is actuall hurting the game cause yoiu than will protect the weak parts of the game.

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I can´t see why you want do something against MIn/maxers. I actually find these people very usefull cause their drive for the best mnechanical character and stats also helps in finding weaknesses of the game and than people an designers can come up with suitable fixes and rules to close the gaps the MIn/maxers found.

Doing something against them is actuall hurting the game cause yoiu than will protect the weak parts of the game.

 

 

The more I think about that, the less sense it makes.

 

Are you talking about the design and play-testing phase, or... what?  Are you confusing min-maxing (the act) with min-maxers (the players engaging in said act)? 

 

It seems like you're saying that publishing the rules in a form that discourages or reduces the act of min-maxing is bad for the game because it is the min-maxers who would find "weak parts of the game"... when it's those weak parts of the game that you've intentionally left in for them to find, because otherwise they won't find them, and that's bad?  

 

 

Huh?  :huh:

 

~~~~

 

Some select hardcore min-maxers are great to have around during the design and playtesting phases.  At the actual gaming table, in a group that's just trying to play the game?  Eh... I tend to say "not so much". 

Edited by MaxKilljoy

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Do you have any suggestion to (I hate the word) discourage min/maxing besides what Kubernes said: "A good storyteller and good players"? From my experiences, I still haven't found any mechanics that does it, unless it's a "Pre-determined progression" but this removes all the personalisation of your character. I feel like the game designers can't do much about min/maxers and rely on the story designer to give hooks on how a person in the world behaves, behaviours isn't something that you implement in a game through mechanics.

 

So I'm asking you because I really want to see a suggestion, how do you "discourage" min/maxing on a mechanics way?

To pick one example: integration of mechanics, so that you can't easily focus on one thing to the exclusion of everything else. Or rather, that doing so is detrimental in the long run.

 

Many game systems make it perfectly easy to pour all your XP into your main attack stat (Agility, in this case) and designate something else as your "dump stat" (often Intelligence, since the player can just use their own brain and ignore that "roleplaying" thing where their character should be dumb as a rock). If I do that with my bushi PC in L5R, I can chase my Agility up to 5 as my top priority . . . but that's of limited use, since it isn't giving me Insight, which means I won't advance in my school. My one attack a round will hit, but I only get the one -- and god help me if my opponent is more than a Free Move Action away, since I can't Simple Move and attack. I need both Stamina and Willpower to get more hit points; I need both Strength and Perception to move farther; the closest thing I have to a "dump stat" is Awareness. And even then, the game gives me reason to think that being able to talk without putting my foot in my mouth is a good idea: lack of Awareness will get me into duels, and I need Awareness in a duel. It isn't as directly quantifiable as Insight and Earth Ring = Wounds, but it's a palpable force, especially when you have courtier schools sitting there giving you an idea of what you can accomplish by having a socially adept PC.

 

Can you run a game where a chunk of that doesn't matter? Sure. A Shadowlands campaign not intended to get past IR2 would be perfectly fine for my Agility-jacked bushi with no social skills. Just like a short-run campaign entirely focused on courtly intrigue would let people ignore their physical traits. But if you want to play for a more extended period of time, the mechanics will encourage a more well-rounded build, rather than one twinked solely to kill. I find that much more effective than a system that says "bushi are expected to develop their minds as well as their bodies!" but gives me zero incentive to buy up anything but my combat skills.

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I can´t see why you want do something against MIn/maxers. I actually find these people very usefull cause their drive for the best mnechanical character and stats also helps in finding weaknesses of the game and than people an designers can come up with suitable fixes and rules to close the gaps the MIn/maxers found.

Doing something against them is actuall hurting the game cause yoiu than will protect the weak parts of the game.

 

 

The more I think about that, the less sense it makes.

 

Are you talking about the design and play-testing phase, or... what?  Are you confusing min-maxing (the act) with min-maxers (the players engaging in said act)? 

 

It seems like you're saying that publishing the rules in a form that discourages or reduces the act of min-maxing is bad for the game because it is the min-maxers who would find "weak parts of the game"... when it's those weak parts of the game that you've intentionally left in for them to find, because otherwise they won't find them, and that's bad?  

 

 

Huh?  :huh:

 

~~~~

 

Some select hardcore min-maxers are great to have around during the design and playtesting phases.  At the actual gaming table, in a group that's just trying to play the game?  Eh... I tend to say "not so much". 

 

 

No I actually talk about the people who are playing the game after it hit the market. The MIn/maxers which want to build the optimal character(statwise) for the area they want to play him in. Like if I want to play a sniper I go and doa min Max run on this topic looking what

the system provides me to make it most efficient.

This often leads to the fact that these players find ways to exploit the game cause they find the weaknesses the rules provide. For example that somehow nobody cared to say thta you cann´t do sneaking with a No Dachi. Or the classic sneak attack with a ballista (before it was fixed).

Finding these weaknesses helps the game to get better cause when they are found they can be fixed.

So if you implement mechnics to dicourge playerf from striving for a maximum of efficiency it will keep the system from evoling and getting better cause a system with less inconsitent rules is defiently better than before.

 

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I can´t see why you want do something against MIn/maxers. I actually find these people very usefull cause their drive for the best mnechanical character and stats also helps in finding weaknesses of the game and than people an designers can come up with suitable fixes and rules to close the gaps the MIn/maxers found.

Doing something against them is actuall hurting the game cause yoiu than will protect the weak parts of the game.

 

 

The more I think about that, the less sense it makes.

 

Are you talking about the design and play-testing phase, or... what?  Are you confusing min-maxing (the act) with min-maxers (the players engaging in said act)? 

 

It seems like you're saying that publishing the rules in a form that discourages or reduces the act of min-maxing is bad for the game because it is the min-maxers who would find "weak parts of the game"... when it's those weak parts of the game that you've intentionally left in for them to find, because otherwise they won't find them, and that's bad?  

 

 

Huh?  :huh:

 

~~~~

 

Some select hardcore min-maxers are great to have around during the design and playtesting phases.  At the actual gaming table, in a group that's just trying to play the game?  Eh... I tend to say "not so much". 

 

 

No I actually talk about the people who are playing the game after it hit the market. The MIn/maxers which want to build the optimal character(statwise) for the area they want to play him in. Like if I want to play a sniper I go and doa min Max run on this topic looking what

the system provides me to make it most efficient.

This often leads to the fact that these players find ways to exploit the game cause they find the weaknesses the rules provide. For example that somehow nobody cared to say thta you cann´t do sneaking with a No Dachi. Or the classic sneak attack with a ballista (before it was fixed).

Finding these weaknesses helps the game to get better cause when they are found they can be fixed.

So if you implement mechnics to dicourge playerf from striving for a maximum of efficiency it will keep the system from evoling and getting better cause a system with less inconsitent rules is defiently better than before.

 

 

 

So in other words, yes, you do want to leave the system vulnerable to min-maxing, because it's the min-maxers who will find the "exploits" and thus somehow make the game better...

 

...after it's been published.    :huh:

 

 

We aren't talking about an MMO that can be patched every time someone stumbles on an unintended synergy or exponential return.   Once a pen-and-paper game is published, it's too **** late to go back and fix these things, unless you're going to publish a revised edition a year after putting out the original.  (And that's just a recipe for pissing off your customers...)

Edited by MaxKilljoy

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Pretty much what kinzen said. 

In general, please note - saying "we want to gameplay acknowledge and notice that Shugenja are spiritual" or something doesn't mean we literally want "rules on what to roll when blessing a bowl of rice". Good mechanical design is, as pictured above, doesn't equal to "more rolling dice on everything" (often, in fact, it will streamline the rolls and make them more elegant in process). "Emphasize spiritual side of Shugenja" doesn't have to mean "write up more roll x for y", it means "provide us with gameplay tools that help bring spiritualness of shugenja to live"..

 

As for min/maxers - I really don't want this argument here, because we already have some weird front of "complainers vs non complainers" (I kinda thought that purpose of these threads was to point out stuff that could, should be changed, and that usually means focusing on parts that didn't necessarily work perfectly?). Let's just say that there is nothing wrong with desiring or constructing effective character, as long as it fits the group and the game. In fact, making creating effective characters intuitive and easy instead of accumulating system mastery is a mark of a good designed game.

Basically, if your game is about lightning fast samurai, "minmaxed lightning fast samurai" should be easy and intuitive to create. L5R 4th edition is quite okay in this regard, minus skills (and in general, certain specific elements of larger systems - specific school techniques, specific ancestors, and so on) being little underpowered and whole whackgenja thing. This is mostly because, especially in advantages/disadvantages department, there is clear lack of coherent vision and direction; whole system is incoherent and in general could use a major rebalance; lot's of cost points seem assigned on random.

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