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mortthepirate

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

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Err... given those are different games, both setting and system-wise, I'm not sure I understand the question. :blink:

 

EDIT: I mean, the secret spell lists me and Crawd have been speaking of could be something as "Only Sith have access to Force-Lightning; only Jedi have access to Force-Heal". Is that what you meant?

 

It's just that I don't think FFG will use 4e for their game. In fact, If they decide on using customized dice, like the other two listed rpgs, then how would the idea of rolling spells together fit into existing FFG systems? I'd imagine that it would simply add extra dice, lower difficulties, or changing the result based on particular facings (i.e. kami gets angry or changes demeanor). Or would it fit more into how they've done classes?

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Well.... I get what you're saying. But.... we only have 4th (and previous) edition to base ourselves on. :/

 

Sort of? I suppose we could look at the other editions too for what they may have done right or wrong. Or even the other spin offs of the game (Clan Wars, Skirmish, DIscwars?). I'd also look at other FFG properties for a possible basis, which is why I bring up Warhammer or Star Wars.

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Kind of late to this discussion, which is a pity because there has been a lot of great back and forth on the topic.

 

My own personal perspective on the topic of shugenja is that they are fine the way they are. Are they more powerful than Joe Soap samurai? Of course they are, but in the lore they are meant to be.

 

Shugenja are blessed with a natural gift that occurs very rarely. This rarity is offset by the fact they can also be very very powerful. They can bring down fireballs on the enmy, climb walls, hurl boulders, part tides, fly becomes invisible etc.. they are basically superheroes of Rokugan and provide most of the fantasy elements of the setting.

 

Mechanically, I hear what people are saying and understand that there is a disparity of power (although in some cases, particularly at high ranks, I'd rather fight a rank 5 shug than a rank 5 bushi.).

 

The root of this discussion really is; Do you believe that this disparity should exist? Not "Shugenja are too powerful and need to be nerfed". Whether you believe it should exist or not is really down to personal preference, do you prefer lore and theme over mechanics? Obviously if you prefer the game to be purely mechanically fair, you sacrifice some of the theme to balance the mechanics. If you prefer theme and setting, then you will more likely think the disparity is fine to have.

 

There is another aspect to this too and I think it is something that is often overlooked by GM's and players. Shugenja, while in posession of great power, also cannot go around using it at a whim. Mechanically there is nothing stopping you from setting a building of bandits on fire, but from a social point of view, this is a crime that could end up with your seppukku. Likewise, if you are an earth shugenja, and you decide to use earth becomes sky to tear large boulders from the earth and throw it at a group of bandits (always the bandits! Poor guys!), you are disrupting the land of the local lord. This is again cause to get you in hot water.

 

L5r is a game with a huge emphasis on social consequences, the problem is, mechanically it is not written in as obviously, so it takes a really good GM to point these limits out to a shugenja. Flying around Ryoko Iwari simply because you can, or scaling the imperial palace with hands of clay, again jus tbecause you can, will land you in hot water with the law of rokugan.

 

Another thing with shugenja is, the kami are capricious little buggers and will not always do exactly what you want, there is also potential for them to become annoyed with you if you use them in an irresponsible manner.

 

It is things like these that keep shugenja in check. Simply nerfing mechanics to overcome and offset the power level of shugenja, instead of using the already well established and documented social/thematic of Rokugan is imo just lazy GM'ing. There are so many other, and much smarter ways of limiting the power of anything in the game without tampering with dice pools.

 

Just as an example of this, that extends to bushi in the game, which in my years of playing I've always seen new players do is they decide to walk around the whole time in light armor, mainly for the tn bonus above anything else. This is something that would be completely unacceptable in Rokugani society because you wear armor only when you intend on fighting, if you have no intention of fighting, wearing the armor is an implication that either

A) You are expecting trouble in the town, in which case it is insulting the local lord's ability to keep peace,

or

B) you are looking to start some trouble yourself, which is pretty shameful.

 

There really are so many things that players might consider normal that are just completely unacceptable in Rokugani society, it is up to the GM to use these to bring some order and honor into the game and keep players in check. If your Shugenja is being abusive, punish them for it, they will be more careful in the future.

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If you are an earth shugenja, and you decide to use earth becomes sky to tear large boulders from the earth and throw it at a group of bandits (always the bandits! Poor guys!), you are disrupting the land of the local lord. This is again cause to get you in hot water.

 

Just a thought. If the Shugenja is clever he uses water magic to get a hot srping implemented there and goes telling the lord. Yes I actually ruptured your land to defeeat the bandits but hey now you have a new hot spring for you people. ^^

 

 

Just as an example of this, that extends to bushi in the game, which in my years of playing I've always seen new players do is they decide to walk around the whole time in light armor, mainly for the tn bonus above anything else. This is something that would be completely unacceptable in Rokugani society because you wear armor only when you intend on fighting, if you have no intention of fighting, wearing the armor is an implication that either

A) You are expecting trouble in the town, in which case it is insulting the local lord's ability to keep peace,

or

B) you are looking to start some trouble yourself, which is pretty shameful.

 

C) You are a clan or emerald Magistrate or a member of the Imperial Legion and therefore are on duty. As Magsitrates and Soldiers are expected to guard people they are allowed to wear armor.

    

So there are possibilities to make wearing armor all the time expect in courts and when you sleep possible.

Edited by Teveshszat

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If you are an earth shugenja, and you decide to use earth becomes sky to tear large boulders from the earth and throw it at a group of bandits (always the bandits! Poor guys!), you are disrupting the land of the local lord. This is again cause to get you in hot water.

 

Just a thought. If the Shugenja is clever he uses water magic to get a hot srping implemented there and goes telling the lord. Yes I actually ruptured your land to defeeat the bandits but hey now you have a new hot spring for you people. ^^

 

 

Just as an example of this, that extends to bushi in the game, which in my years of playing I've always seen new players do is they decide to walk around the whole time in light armor, mainly for the tn bonus above anything else. This is something that would be completely unacceptable in Rokugani society because you wear armor only when you intend on fighting, if you have no intention of fighting, wearing the armor is an implication that either

A) You are expecting trouble in the town, in which case it is insulting the local lord's ability to keep peace,

or

B) you are looking to start some trouble yourself, which is pretty shameful.

 

C) You are a clan or emerald Magistrate or a member of the Imperial Legion and therefore are on duty. As Magsitrates and Soldiers are expected to guard people they are allowed to wear armor.

    

So there are possibilities to make wearing armor all the time expect in courts and when you sleep possible.

 

Nitpicker :P

 

Or D) : Working for the city guard.

 

I was working under the assumption you were not a guard,magistrate or that there wasn't a conflict going on in the area :)

 

I thought it was obvious? I presume you got my point nonetheless?

Edited by Moto Subodei

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If you are an earth shugenja, and you decide to use earth becomes sky to tear large boulders from the earth and throw it at a group of bandits (always the bandits! Poor guys!), you are disrupting the land of the local lord. This is again cause to get you in hot water.

 

Just a thought. If the Shugenja is clever he uses water magic to get a hot srping implemented there and goes telling the lord. Yes I actually ruptured your land to defeeat the bandits but hey now you have a new hot spring for you people. ^^

 

 

Just as an example of this, that extends to bushi in the game, which in my years of playing I've always seen new players do is they decide to walk around the whole time in light armor, mainly for the tn bonus above anything else. This is something that would be completely unacceptable in Rokugani society because you wear armor only when you intend on fighting, if you have no intention of fighting, wearing the armor is an implication that either

A) You are expecting trouble in the town, in which case it is insulting the local lord's ability to keep peace,

or

B) you are looking to start some trouble yourself, which is pretty shameful.

 

C) You are a clan or emerald Magistrate or a member of the Imperial Legion and therefore are on duty. As Magsitrates and Soldiers are expected to guard people they are allowed to wear armor.

    

So there are possibilities to make wearing armor all the time expect in courts and when you sleep possible.

 

Nitpicker :P

 

Or D) : Working for the city guard.

 

I was working under the assumption you were not a guard,magistrate or that there wasn't a conflict going on in the area :)

 

I thought it was obvious? I presume you got my point nonetheless?

 

 

Yes I got the point.

 Just wanted to demonstrate that there is allways something you can come up with which people can forget easily. ^^

So yes you are right there should be more concideration to the social consequences but to make sure there is I think a book i needed to help you with

the tremendous amount of possibilities and consequences and siautions they can occour in Rokugan. 

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If you are an earth shugenja, and you decide to use earth becomes sky to tear large boulders from the earth and throw it at a group of bandits (always the bandits! Poor guys!), you are disrupting the land of the local lord. This is again cause to get you in hot water.

 

Just a thought. If the Shugenja is clever he uses water magic to get a hot srping implemented there and goes telling the lord. Yes I actually ruptured your land to defeeat the bandits but hey now you have a new hot spring for you people. ^^

 

 

Just as an example of this, that extends to bushi in the game, which in my years of playing I've always seen new players do is they decide to walk around the whole time in light armor, mainly for the tn bonus above anything else. This is something that would be completely unacceptable in Rokugani society because you wear armor only when you intend on fighting, if you have no intention of fighting, wearing the armor is an implication that either

A) You are expecting trouble in the town, in which case it is insulting the local lord's ability to keep peace,

or

B) you are looking to start some trouble yourself, which is pretty shameful.

 

C) You are a clan or emerald Magistrate or a member of the Imperial Legion and therefore are on duty. As Magsitrates and Soldiers are expected to guard people they are allowed to wear armor.

    

So there are possibilities to make wearing armor all the time expect in courts and when you sleep possible.

 

Nitpicker :P

 

Or D) : Working for the city guard.

 

I was working under the assumption you were not a guard,magistrate or that there wasn't a conflict going on in the area :)

 

I thought it was obvious? I presume you got my point nonetheless?

 

 

Yes I got the point.

 Just wanted to demonstrate that there is allways something you can come up with which people can forget easily. ^^

So yes you are right there should be more concideration to the social consequences but to make sure there is I think a book i needed to help you with

the tremendous amount of possibilities and consequences and siautions they can occour in Rokugan. 

 

Yea I agree completely. And it is what separates good gms from bad gms.

 

There are no rules completely set in stone, a lot of it is intuition. Problem arises because there are a lot of people who prefer to have rules to go to rather than intuition, which is fine too, but a different mind set.

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To be fair the problem arises cause most people fail to see that intuition is nothing you shoul base a rule system on since the inution of each human is different and opinions differ. Yes you can say for some details you could go for it but for the main part of the system and the desired effects you need mechnics to prevent arguments and differences about hwo things workout and how a char normaly reacts and behaves.
The whoel disucssion here is a prove that we need rules for the social system cause it is clear that we all have different oinions and I don´t want a game with all these cause this would go like ok GM says and than some players are just not playing cause they feel not treated well cause they think the system shoudl hebave in a other way. With clear rules this is not a problem cause you know exactly what you can and how the system is handleing it and the whole thought of the GM is just wanting to restrict you or to mness with you goes south.

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If you are an earth shugenja, and you decide to use earth becomes sky to tear large boulders from the earth and throw it at a group of bandits (always the bandits! Poor guys!), you are disrupting the land of the local lord. This is again cause to get you in hot water.

 

Just a thought. If the Shugenja is clever he uses water magic to get a hot srping implemented there and goes telling the lord. Yes I actually ruptured your land to defeeat the bandits but hey now you have a new hot spring for you people. ^^

 

 

Just as an example of this, that extends to bushi in the game, which in my years of playing I've always seen new players do is they decide to walk around the whole time in light armor, mainly for the tn bonus above anything else. This is something that would be completely unacceptable in Rokugani society because you wear armor only when you intend on fighting, if you have no intention of fighting, wearing the armor is an implication that either

A) You are expecting trouble in the town, in which case it is insulting the local lord's ability to keep peace,

or

B) you are looking to start some trouble yourself, which is pretty shameful.

 

C) You are a clan or emerald Magistrate or a member of the Imperial Legion and therefore are on duty. As Magsitrates and Soldiers are expected to guard people they are allowed to wear armor.

    

So there are possibilities to make wearing armor all the time expect in courts and when you sleep possible.

 

Nitpicker :P

 

Or D) : Working for the city guard.

 

I was working under the assumption you were not a guard,magistrate or that there wasn't a conflict going on in the area :)

 

I thought it was obvious? I presume you got my point nonetheless?

 

 

Yes I got the point.

 Just wanted to demonstrate that there is allways something you can come up with which people can forget easily. ^^

So yes you are right there should be more concideration to the social consequences but to make sure there is I think a book i needed to help you with

the tremendous amount of possibilities and consequences and siautions they can occour in Rokugan. 

 

Yea I agree completely. And it is what separates good gms from bad gms.

 

There are no rules completely set in stone, a lot of it is intuition. Problem arises because there are a lot of people who prefer to have rules to go to rather than intuition, which is fine too, but a different mind set.

 

 

Another big part of it is that there are lots of players where the only setting assumptions are from explicitly 4th ed.  Calling up previous editions is kind of superfluous because it is outside of the common frame of reference. There is some surprising details left out of this edition that players I know who have been involved with the game for much longer take for granted.

 

My favorite example of this is the Scorpion.  Nowhere in the corebook does it mention that Scorpion where masks and why.  This is a MAJOR setting conceit, and my first character was a lion who rocked around everywhere with a demon mempo on.  I pointed at some of the artwork to show 'samurai totally wear masks, look at these ones!'  I was only partially correct ^_^

 

I prefer rules than intuition, its true.  This is mostly because intuition is so VARIED between people.  I would never assume that someone casting earth becomes sky would make anyone angry, unless you threw that rock against their house or personal property.  

 

Most of the examples above are ones that can easily be subverted by role playing, or clever planning.  

 

I mean I'm clearly in the minority here, and I get that.  But I don't know why my view seems so.... axiomatic to the idea of L5R.  I mean, I love this game, I really do! currently it keeps fighting for number one spot of all time with me (exalted is another one I love) based almost entirely on the setting alone.  The feel of the clans alone are fantastic.

 

As to shugenja are supposed to be better than everyone else, I have never seen any bit of setting material, fiction, or play advice advocating that Shugenja should job the other schools when they choose to specialize certain ways.  But like I said before, my arguement is based solely on 4th edition information I have, not anything else.

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To be fair the problem arises cause most people fail to see that intuition is nothing you shoul base a rule system on since the inution of each human is different and opinions differ. Yes you can say for some details you could go for it but for the main part of the system and the desired effects you need mechnics to prevent arguments and differences about hwo things workout and how a char normaly reacts and behaves.

The whoel disucssion here is a prove that we need rules for the social system cause it is clear that we all have different oinions and I don´t want a game with all these cause this would go like ok GM says and than some players are just not playing cause they feel not treated well cause they think the system shoudl hebave in a other way. With clear rules this is not a problem cause you know exactly what you can and how the system is handleing it and the whole thought of the GM is just wanting to restrict you or to mness with you goes south.

How do you make rules for it though where every single situation is covered? With a sword it's pretty straightforward because it does one thing really, beats the crap out of people and the End effect will always be the same, either the guy is wounded or dead.

 

The outcomes from social interactions are much more far reaching and broader.Because it's not as narrow as combat.

 

At the end of the day, every gm is going to run it differently. I know when myself and my buddies were playing fourth ed, we homebrewed some things, like disarming with some magistrate weapon (not sure exactly which), because in context of the duties of a magistrate it felt far too difficult to achieve.

 

Ideally yea, clear rules would be great. i'd argue however, it wouldn't be possible to implement it for social mechanics without making it extremely narrow and restrictive to the point where you would no longer feel like you are having realistic social interactions.

 

The crux of the issue is this. With weapons you know what the raises do, and it is much clearer to identify what is a raise and what is not. With social actions, it is much less clear and requires interpretation from the GM. This is where it falls down, because really it's up to the gm how much higher the roll needs to be to reflect the difficulty of the persuasion. If you want to disarm a guy with a weapon its 3 raises (iirc!), that is clear, you can put it in a book. What exactly quantifies 3 raises in a manipulation roll? Who knows? You can try give examples in the book, but that's it, you cannot cover every eventuality.

 

Can you think of a way that would actually concisely and unequivocally quantify what a raise does in a social roll? And if you can, is it completely objective?

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If you are an earth shugenja, and you decide to use earth becomes sky to tear large boulders from the earth and throw it at a group of bandits (always the bandits! Poor guys!), you are disrupting the land of the local lord. This is again cause to get you in hot water.

 

Just a thought. If the Shugenja is clever he uses water magic to get a hot srping implemented there and goes telling the lord. Yes I actually ruptured your land to defeeat the bandits but hey now you have a new hot spring for you people. ^^

 

 

Just as an example of this, that extends to bushi in the game, which in my years of playing I've always seen new players do is they decide to walk around the whole time in light armor, mainly for the tn bonus above anything else. This is something that would be completely unacceptable in Rokugani society because you wear armor only when you intend on fighting, if you have no intention of fighting, wearing the armor is an implication that either

A) You are expecting trouble in the town, in which case it is insulting the local lord's ability to keep peace,

or

B) you are looking to start some trouble yourself, which is pretty shameful.

 

C) You are a clan or emerald Magistrate or a member of the Imperial Legion and therefore are on duty. As Magsitrates and Soldiers are expected to guard people they are allowed to wear armor.

    

So there are possibilities to make wearing armor all the time expect in courts and when you sleep possible.

 

Nitpicker :P

 

Or D) : Working for the city guard.

 

I was working under the assumption you were not a guard,magistrate or that there wasn't a conflict going on in the area :)

 

I thought it was obvious? I presume you got my point nonetheless?

 

 

Yes I got the point.

 Just wanted to demonstrate that there is allways something you can come up with which people can forget easily. ^^

So yes you are right there should be more concideration to the social consequences but to make sure there is I think a book i needed to help you with

the tremendous amount of possibilities and consequences and siautions they can occour in Rokugan. 

 

Yea I agree completely. And it is what separates good gms from bad gms.

 

There are no rules completely set in stone, a lot of it is intuition. Problem arises because there are a lot of people who prefer to have rules to go to rather than intuition, which is fine too, but a different mind set.

 

 

Another big part of it is that there are lots of players where the only setting assumptions are from explicitly 4th ed.  Calling up previous editions is kind of superfluous because it is outside of the common frame of reference. There is some surprising details left out of this edition that players I know who have been involved with the game for much longer take for granted.

 

My favorite example of this is the Scorpion.  Nowhere in the corebook does it mention that Scorpion where masks and why.  This is a MAJOR setting conceit, and my first character was a lion who rocked around everywhere with a demon mempo on.  I pointed at some of the artwork to show 'samurai totally wear masks, look at these ones!'  I was only partially correct ^_^

 

I prefer rules than intuition, its true.  This is mostly because intuition is so VARIED between people.  I would never assume that someone casting earth becomes sky would make anyone angry, unless you threw that rock against their house or personal property.  

 

Most of the examples above are ones that can easily be subverted by role playing, or clever planning.  

 

I mean I'm clearly in the minority here, and I get that.  But I don't know why my view seems so.... axiomatic to the idea of L5R.  I mean, I love this game, I really do! currently it keeps fighting for number one spot of all time with me (exalted is another one I love) based almost entirely on the setting alone.  The feel of the clans alone are fantastic.

 

As to shugenja are supposed to be better than everyone else, I have never seen any bit of setting material, fiction, or play advice advocating that Shugenja should job the other schools when they choose to specialize certain ways.  But like I said before, my arguement is based solely on 4th edition information I have, not anything else.

 

 

After just browsing through the 4th ed book myself you are correct, there is indeed very sparse information on Shugenja, their role in society and how unique/powerful they are. So looking at it from a 4th edition perspective, If I had never played L5R before I guess I would wonder why shugenja seemed so powerful. Espcially if I was playing a fire one who would have high agility stats for melee combat. So for me coming into it with knowledge of playing a campaign of every single L5R rpg edition through the years, I probably came to accept the strength of shugenja. (Had a guy we played with who always held out on the heals unless we did what he wanted in pretty much every campaign!!)

 

I think really, you don't need to convince anyone here on the internet that your interpretation is right, and likewise, I don't need to convince you of anything either! The beauty of RPG's is you can just homebrew it and it still works pretty much the same! As long as you enjoy it, and your buddies are having fun with it what is the harm? :)

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Ideally yea, clear rules would be great. i'd argue however, it wouldn't be possible to implement it for social mechanics without making it extremely narrow and restrictive to the point where you would no longer feel like you are having realistic social interactions.

 

And there is the problem. Realism has no place in RPGS at least nto for me. So I don´t look for a system that paints me arealistic conversation. I look for a system that giives me clarity and can be painted as convesation.  So no I don´t think the system itself woiuld be able to be represent

a realitic convesation but that is not what the mechanic has to do. What the mechnic should do is saying ok you can´t field the "This is mind Control" Argument by making clear that if you beat the TN and had sucess in the roll the defending character has to act on what you told him.

 

 

Can you think of a way that would actually concisely and unequivocally quantify what a raise does in a social roll? And if you can, is it completely objective?

Yes that I can do. Cause there are objective ways to analyse arguments. If you want a bit of realism than take them.

Raises could do

let the argument sound logical

come up with suporting examples

find conections and references to important events and persons

let your argument sound more beliefable

 

That is what raises can and should do. So with enough raises you actually can talk people into anything cause they are going to believe what you say even if it is kill the Mantis cause they steal our Money and have ugly noses.

 

I think there is a way to present a good social mechanic but as you said it would be very complex and liekly to cover 1 whoel book cause it would have to be very detailed to cover up most siuations and examples for hwo to aply it

and which modifications put together.

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Ideally yea, clear rules would be great. i'd argue however, it wouldn't be possible to implement it for social mechanics without making it extremely narrow and restrictive to the point where you would no longer feel like you are having realistic social interactions.

 

And there is the problem. Realism has no place in RPGS at least nto for me. So I don´t look for a system that paints me arealistic conversation. I look for a system that giives me clarity and can be painted as convesation.  So no I don´t think the system itself woiuld be able to be represent

a realitic convesation but that is not what the mechanic has to do. What the mechnic should do is saying ok you can´t field the "This is mind Control" Argument by making clear that if you beat the TN and had sucess in the roll the defending character has to act on what you told him.

 

 

Can you think of a way that would actually concisely and unequivocally quantify what a raise does in a social roll? And if you can, is it completely objective?

Yes that I can do. Cause there are objective ways to analyse arguments. If you want a bit of realism than take them.

Raises could do

let the argument sound logical

come up with suporting examples

find conections and references to important events and persons

let your argument sound more beliefable

 

 

what am I missing? This is pretty much how it has always worked?

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That's likely because what I am want is a semblance of MECHANICAL parity between Shugenja and the other options.  Now perhaps I go about this the wrong way.  People seem to be really upset about the idea of losing the spell list aspect of the school type.  But asking to Nerf ONE type of character option is infinitely easier than boosting bushi, artisan, and courtier options to be the level of shugenja in play.  

 

Bringing them more in line with actually BEING holy men of one sort or another simply seems to be the default direction to take the changes, as they currently are severely lacking. 

 

I actually like your idea for the Moshi shugenja as a place to start.  A 5 skill progression is exactly what they need (like every other school).  

 

But as I said above, really any suggestion that doesn't start bringing all the school options into some sort of parity is a bad one (as far as I'm concerned) because the setting as written assumes a PVP mentality, and I have never seen the game played otherwise.  In PVP, options need to be different, but as equally viable as possible. 

 

I wouldn't mind if they got 1 or 2 spells per SR (instead of 3) and got a technique instead. Or you could give them 1 spell/SR plus a "technique" to get another spell from a limited list consistent with the school's theme. Really, if you want to cast them in the role of spiritual advisors and experts at the other realms, they don't need a lot of spells; just beef up Commune and let them use that to get useful and interesting information from the kami.

 

I think the combat power of shugs could be easily reined in by not allowing spells to be cast faster for raises and then tweaking some of the R1-R2 spells.  Maybe a similar small amount of tweaking to spells that allow them social bonuses so the courtiers are superior in that area, and you're done.  Alternately, the system could make higher IR characters harder to affect (but I wouldn't do that and nerf the casting at the same time). The 'odd' abilities like moving through the earth,limited flight, etc. they can keep, I think that adds to the party's capabilities and so helps everyone.

 

Frankly I'm with you in not minding if all or the vast majority of combat spells and social buffs were eliminated. That would be a radical departure from earlier versions but if you got rid of the "they are very rare, and pacifist" theming of the role, they could just carry weapons like every other samurai and their high rings would make them reasonably effective in combat. It would be just like an Air 4 courtier carrying a bow, a fire 4 courtier carrying his daisho, a water 4 courtier grappling everyone, etc.  That would also eliminate the disjointedness of most PC groups having powerful Shugs that they regularly fling into very dangerous missions, in a setting where Shugs are supposed to  be highly prized and guarded.  They're just another type of samurai, and like any samurai, they need to be ready to do their Daimyo's wishes whether that's going to court, to war, investigating a murder, pacifying bandits, etc...  (though I'm biased in this respect; I think the rpg puts way too little emphasis on their social rank and too much on their schools; I'd like to see a rebalancing of that where you're considered samurai first, with all the duties that entails, and bushi/courtier/shug/whatever second).

Edited by easl

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(though I'm biased in this respect; I think the rpg puts way too little emphasis on their social rank and too much on their schools; I'd like to see a rebalancing of that where you're considered samurai first, with all the duties that entails, and bushi/courtier/shug/whatever second).

That would only work if the game involved interacting with peasants on a regular basis. Otherwise there's no contrast: everybody's a samurai, except those people you talk to once in a blue moon. The duties entailed by your social status are the duties you get because you're a bushi/courtier/shugenja/whatever.

 

And for the game to involve interacting with peasants on a regular basis, peasants would have to be built in a way (or samurai limited in a way) that made the interactions anything like a challenge. The current assumptions of the system and setting mean that your average IR2 samurai would just paste every heimin they dealt with, story over.

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(though I'm biased in this respect; I think the rpg puts way too little emphasis on their social rank and too much on their schools; I'd like to see a rebalancing of that where you're considered samurai first, with all the duties that entails, and bushi/courtier/shug/whatever second).

That would only work if the game involved interacting with peasants on a regular basis. Otherwise there's no contrast: everybody's a samurai, except those people you talk to once in a blue moon. The duties entailed by your social status are the duties you get because you're a bushi/courtier/shugenja/whatever.

 

And for the game to involve interacting with peasants on a regular basis, peasants would have to be built in a way (or samurai limited in a way) that made the interactions anything like a challenge. The current assumptions of the system and setting mean that your average IR2 samurai would just paste every heimin they dealt with, story over.

 

This is true, however there is another level of detail in the hierarchy of samurai. Different levels of samurai, apart from just daimyo, champ etc. (the tier names escape me now)

 

The most regular non samurai you deal with are merchants funnily enough, and are usually the best medium to push the patience of your party :D . You can technically tell them what to do, but push them around too much and they may become less helpful :P

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Ideally yea, clear rules would be great. i'd argue however, it wouldn't be possible to implement it for social mechanics without making it extremely narrow and restrictive to the point where you would no longer feel like you are having realistic social interactions.

 

And there is the problem. Realism has no place in RPGS at least nto for me. So I don´t look for a system that paints me arealistic conversation. I look for a system that giives me clarity and can be painted as convesation.  So no I don´t think the system itself woiuld be able to be represent

a realitic convesation but that is not what the mechanic has to do. What the mechnic should do is saying ok you can´t field the "This is mind Control" Argument by making clear that if you beat the TN and had sucess in the roll the defending character has to act on what you told him.

 

 

As Mark Twain said, "It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense."

 

To be blunt, every time you say something like that (your post, not the Twain quote), it honestly does make me wonder if you've ever actually read a fictional work or played an RPG.  Suspension of disbelief is a precious commodity for anyone trying to immerse the people partaking of his/her work -- novel, RPG, movie, whatever -- in a fictional world.  The system/mechanics of an RPG are meant to model a fictional world, some form of "other reality".  That "other reality" is the territory, and the game mechanics are just the map used to find one's way through that territory. 

 

Every time the mechanics for a game return a result that make the players think or say "Wait, that makes no **** sense, that's nothing like how that actually works.  What the heck?", then the mechanics have failed.  The players are thrust out of the "other reality" that their characters inhabit -- it has been shown to be unbelievable, incoherent, lacking in verisimilitude.  Another measure of suspension is wasted.  

 

Specifically to human interaction -- when the mechanics are clearly divorced from how human interactions actually work, and create nonsensical results, then there's a problem there, and it's not the GM, and it's not the players. 

 

When you say "So I don´t look for a system that paints me a realistic conversation", what that actually implies (even if you don't realize it) is that the supposed-people in the "other reality" we're talking about work in a fundamentally different way than the people we all interact with every day, that they're not really human beings at all.

Edited by MaxKilljoy

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Ideally yea, clear rules would be great. i'd argue however, it wouldn't be possible to implement it for social mechanics without making it extremely narrow and restrictive to the point where you would no longer feel like you are having realistic social interactions.

 

And there is the problem. Realism has no place in RPGS at least nto for me. So I don´t look for a system that paints me arealistic conversation. I look for a system that giives me clarity and can be painted as convesation.  So no I don´t think the system itself woiuld be able to be represent

a realitic convesation but that is not what the mechanic has to do. What the mechnic should do is saying ok you can´t field the "This is mind Control" Argument by making clear that if you beat the TN and had sucess in the roll the defending character has to act on what you told him.

 

 

As Mark Twain said, "It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense."

 

To be blunt, every time you say something like that, it honestly does make me wonder if you've ever actually read a fictional work or played an RPG.  Suspension of disbelief is a precious commodity for anyone trying to immerse the people partaking of his/her work -- novel, RPG, movie, whatever -- in a fictional world.  The system/mechanics of an RPG are meant to model a fictional world, some form of "other reality".  That "other reality" is the territory, and the game mechanics are just the map used to find one's way through that territory. 

 

Every time the mechanics for a game return a result that make the players think or say "Wait, that makes no **** sense, that's nothing like how that actually works.  What the heck?", then the mechanics have failed.  The players are thrust out of the "other reality" that their characters inhabit -- it has been shown to be unbelievable, incoherent, lacking in verisimilitude.  Another measure of suspension is wasted.  

 

Specifically to human interaction -- when the mechanics are clearly divorced from how human interactions actually work, and create nonsensical results, then there's a problem there, and it's not the GM, and it's not the players. 

 

When you say "So I don´t look for a system that paints me a realistic conversation", what that actually implies (even if you don't realize it) is that the supposed-people in the "other reality" we're talking about work in a fundamentally different way than the people we all interact with every day, that they're not really human beings at all.

 

 

And doubt that you ever thought about what consequences it has when you really want to bring realism into a fictional world cause this means, real physics, real biology, real chemestry, real weather condittions and ofcourse also real medcine and the illnesses that come with it like the black death cause rokugan has no way to get their excrements out of the way etc.

So no realism has nothing to do with fiction. Yes there are some movies where I found the realitsic application of some parts of physics for exmaple the underwatert explosion in pacific rim good but believability trhough the try to bring real world priciples into a fictional world is nothing I like.

 

What does this means. I think the world iin itself should be believeable and when the world somehow has magic most things become believeable cause magic is a concept which is only limited as the author wants it to be. Therefore I have no problem with a Rokugan where hordes of Zombies walk the eartha and Shugenja burn away complete armies cause the world showed trhough the fiction that it is possible and inclusion of Magic into the worlds principles also says it is possible.

 

Therefore I also don´t need a realistic conversatin cause the world defines on its own what is true for it and not what we has players of a complete different world think is the right way to go. Thats why I want mechanics to finaly be able to say thats the wway how rokugani social live is handles it. Because without them

we just have guesses and opinions which can differ and shoudl not be the basis of a large part of a game cause this creates to many differences.

Also on human interaction. There is nothing like the human interaction. There are so many different kinds of it and o many people who have different ways ot interact or interpret signals that you can´t go and say the human interaction is not believable cause for example the asisan way is totaly alien to most of the western people.  So a non sensical result could be maming sense for a different player and here we are again why we need rules for it cause this is a problem whcih comes from the lack of the mechanics.

 

Ofcourse the people in the otehr world are not human beings caus they don´t live at all. It is just a fiction not the reality they can be seen as human beings or can be appear to be human and even can have human traits and skills and features but they aren´t humans cause fo that they need to live and that they don´t.

So there are no humans in the world of Rokugan cause are neitehr real and that means they don´t live nor do they have a free will cause that is the position you as player are taking when you play your char.

IN the end that makes really close to humans but not Humans.

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And doubt that you ever thought about what consequences it has when you really want to bring realism into a fictional world cause this means, real physics, real biology, real chemestry, real weather condittions and of course also real medcine and the illnesses that come with it like the black death cause rokugan has no way to get their excrements out of the way etc.

Actually, yes, I have. I think about that sort of thing all the time, both as a reader and as a would-be writer. 

When a writer or other "creator" just ignores those things, they're setting themselves up to fail. When they consciously decide that the setting is going to not work the way our world does, then they've made a commitment to think about how it does work, and to be consistent and coherent in how that facet of the setting is depicted. If things don't work the way they work in our world, then why is that, and how do they work instead? "Just because" or "it's fiction so don't worry about it" are not answers, they're excuses.

 

If a fictional setting has magic, then how does that magic work, what can it do and not do, and how does it change other aspects of life.  Do spells that ward against or treat disease exist, and does that explain the relative lack of mundane plagues in a setting? 

 

So no realism has nothing to do with fiction. Yes there are some movies where I found the realitsic application of some parts of physics for exmaple the underwatert explosion in pacific rim good but believability trhough the try to bring real world priciples into a fictional world is nothing I like.

 

The "consumer" of your work is going to have certain expectations of how things function, based on the world they actually live in (reality) and when your world doesn't match those expectations, they're going to want to know why, and to know more.  If you make the conscious decision to say "this functions differently", then you've taken on the responsibility to deal with that reaction from the "consumer" of your work. 

 

 

What does this means. I think the world iin itself should be believeable and when the world somehow has magic most things become believeable cause magic is a concept which is only limited as the author wants it to be. Therefore I have no problem with a Rokugan where hordes of Zombies walk the eartha and Shugenja burn away complete armies cause the world showed trhough the fiction that it is possible and inclusion of Magic into the worlds principles also says it is possible.

If the writer is doing their job, that magic still gets internal rules and limits and stuctures, and forms part of the "physics" of that other reality.  There are things it allows and things that it doesn't.  There is a certain way in which it works.  This never has to be mentioned in the actual fictional work, it doesn't need to be hard and fast, but the thought put into it will almost always show through into the quality and depth of the work. 

 

I don't think we've seen anything about Rokugan that says "magic exists, and therefore people don't act like people".  And even if there's a kami-based explanation for all of it instead of what we know about our world, there's still something we can call gravity, day and night still happen, people are still born, grow up, live lives a lot like real people in our real world, grow old, and die. 

 

 

Therefore I also don´t need a realistic conversatin cause the world defines on its own what is true for it and not what we has players of a complete different world think is the right way to go. Thats why I want mechanics to finaly be able to say thats the wway how rokugani social live is handles it. Because without them we just have guesses and opinions which can differ and shoudl not be the basis of a large part of a game cause this creates to many differences.

Also on human interaction. There is nothing like the human interaction. There are so many different kinds of it and o many people who have different ways ot interact or interpret signals that you can´t go and say the human interaction is not believable cause for example the asisan way is totaly alien to most of the western people.  So a non sensical result could be maming sense for a different player and here we are again why we need rules for it cause this is a problem whcih comes from the lack of the mechanics.

 

Ofcourse the people in the otehr world are not human beings caus they don´t live at all. It is just a fiction not the reality they can be seen as human beings or can be appear to be human and even can have human traits and skills and features but they aren´t humans cause fo that they need to live and that they don´t.

So there are no humans in the world of Rokugan cause are neitehr real and that means they don´t live nor do they have a free will cause that is the position you as player are taking when you play your char.

IN the end that makes really close to humans but not Humans.

 

So the Rokugani samurai that people are playing in RPG, and reading about in the fiction, are not human characters? Really?

That is patently ridiculous.  What are they, then, if not human characters? 

They're not mysterious and inscrutable alien creatures.  They're still human characters, who can be expected to have human needs, human drives, human fears, and human limitations, that they seek to address, ignore, or overcome in their own ways that are purposefully similar to historical cultures in our world. 

 

That they have spirits and magic and can use that to meet their needs and interact with their world is not so different from how we have science and technology. 

 

We even see glimpses of them using the same sort of logic and analysis we'd use, to understand their world, in the way the Kuni study the shadowlands creatures, in the way the Kitsuki investigative method, etc. 

 

They are not us, and they are fictional, but that doesn't mean that they're not like us in a lot of ways that count.   It doesn't matter at all if they're real -- they have to feel real

 

 

Someone help me out here -- is there a way to explain this that doesn't involve unpacking volumes and volumes of underlying principle and theory from the craft of worldbuilding? 

Edited by MaxKilljoy

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Read the books? They are filled with numerous examples and are relatively easy reads. The Scorpion one alone lets you see the history of the Clan War from the view point of the initial "bad guy".

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So the Rokugani samurai that people are playing in RPG, and reading about in the fiction, are not human characters? Really?

That is patently ridiculous.  What are they, then, if not human characters? 

They're not mysterious and inscrutable alien creatures.  They're still human characters, who can be expected to have human needs, human drives, human fears, and human limitations, that they seek to address, ignore, or overcome in their own ways that are purposefully similar to historical cultures in our world. 

 

That they have spirits and magic and can use that to meet their needs and interact with their world is not so different from how we have science and technology. 

 

We even see glimpses of them using the same sort of logic and analysis we'd use, to understand their world, in the way the Kuni study the shadowlands creatures, in the way the Kitsuki investigative method, etc. 

 

They are not us, and they are fictional, but that doesn't mean that they're not like us in a lot of ways that count.   It doesn't matter at all if they're real -- they have to feel real

 

 

They are fictional characters. If the author is good they are feeling real and have human like emotions and motivations etc but they are not humans.

Humans are part of the real world they have a free will and think for their own.

The characters of the fictional world don´t do this. They are not thinking for their own but taking action and reaction acording to what the author want them to do and they

react how the author want them to react. If this feels human like the author did a good job with his characters but they are not Humans cause this would mean that

they live in an actual real world which is not the case.

 

Also magic is totaly different from sience cause Magic is not something that has laws we can understand. Sience is somthing that is working after some laws we found out with experiments and logic but this does not

work for Magic cause there is no way to come up with experiments how it is behaviing, which boundaries it has or how the effects come together. If you go and look for magci as siences you will not do well cause Magic

is a word we use to explain something our mind can not understand and/ or find a logical explanation for.

 

The glimpses you see is a trick the author of the setting is using to make them human like but that does not make them humans. Also these logics make them easier to understand since it makes the setting less alien from our current moral fiewpoint.

 

And I actually understand that settings want to be consistent and believeable and that you want characters with feel like they are humsn with motivations and stuff. The thing is that magic is an element whcih makes the impossible possible cause it

is a word shell which can be used as you please to explain a wide range of things without getting inconsistent cause with the acceptance of magic you opend the door for the all is possible thought.

In addtion let me get the most famous DSA reference when asked abotu relative phsics and particle physics the creator just said "They are no Atoms in the world of DSA." so even a creator of a simunlation based game see that  realism is not something

you really want caus this opens a door into a area I last saw in the Mage game where yoiu can turn the whole game into a mess with the Force discipline and a Physics book.

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I think, Tev, that I can speak with some certainty when I say this isn't a point you're going to carry because it runs counter to every human instinct for believing a story.

 

Heck, L5R itself seethes we examples of "because we said so" not being enough- we all suspend our disbelief to accept characters speaking to the spirits in all things to perform magical feats, yes. But there are limits to how far suspension of disbelief can go before it simply snaps.

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Heck, L5R itself seethes we examples of "because we said so" not being enough- we all suspend our disbelief to accept characters speaking to the spirits in all things to perform magical feats, yes. But there are limits to how far suspension of disbelief can go before it simply snaps.

 

Exhibit A: the polarized reactions to the Spider being made a Great Clan.

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Heck, L5R itself seethes we examples of "because we said so" not being enough- we all suspend our disbelief to accept characters speaking to the spirits in all things to perform magical feats, yes. But there are limits to how far suspension of disbelief can go before it simply snaps.

 

Exhibit A: the polarized reactions to the Spider being made a Great Clan.

 

 

You mean the outrage of the people who still don´t understand that a good story is not made of victory only but also defeat and setback. The only reason why they where outraged when Spider became greeat Clan is because the Spider won and wasn´t defeated.

I for my part am also not happy what was made of the Spider as great Clan but I liked the Idea to get them into the Empire and destroying it from within cause this was a oppotunity for a good story.

So the only thing what this exhibit proves to me is that people want to even if losing would make the better story.

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