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Kakita Onimaru

Big changes you want to see in new RPG

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I've got 2 things I personally want to see changed in this new version of the game.

1. I wan't to see Iaijutsu Dueling incorporated as an aspect of Kenjutsu rather than a complete separate thing.

2. I want money and superior forms of equipment to matter. 

 

Yes, I can already see you typing in your counter arguments. Once the first PDF drop I plan on opening threads for each of these topics to discuss them further.

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39 minutes ago, Kakita Onimaru said:

1. I wan't to see Iaijutsu Dueling incorporated as an aspect of Kenjutsu rather than a complete separate thing.

I'd be ok with Iaijutsu being independent from Kenjutsu if it more than a single skill representing master in a single subsystem.

 

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I want something about the law system as the magistrate (policeman) and investigation proofs being part of trials and cases. Im kinda tired of the "word of the samurai" thing. And of course about the the crime 

underworld.

Edited by Senimaru

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More cross skiling/abilities/pathing and less of the hyperspecialised power ranger aspect (each their colors and specialization)

Techniques could use a common tree and clan school would give bonuses by advantages. That would give less cookie cutter character.

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3 hours ago, Kakita Onimaru said:

2. I want money and superior forms of equipment to matter. 

Sorry, I'm on the exact opposite side of the spectrum.  I really like how 4e made equipment less significant; what type of sword didn't matter nearly so much as who who was wielding it.  I'd like to see equipment go even more abstract.  If I want to spend hours kitting out a character, I'll play Shadowrun (and I do!).  In l5r, honor is stronger than steel and I want a game to focus on that.

 

That said, things I do want:

1) Rings rather than individual Traits.  It reinforces the mythical aspect of the setting.  I don't want a Mirumoto whose agile and tough; I want one whose swords burn through the air and has the resilience of the mountains.

2) Social mechanics that aren't 100% GM interpretation.  While Courtier shouldn't be mind control and we don't need a social combat system, it would be nice having clearer guidelines on courtier and artisan characters can actually do.

3) As Kakita-san said, I would love iaijutsu folded into the main combat mechanics.  If it's supposed to be the pinnacle of swordsmanship, please let the two be connected.  For that matter, I also want taryu-jiai in the main system.

4) Mass combat that isn't a tacked on system.  Samurai go to war; the game should reflect it (note: not expecting this in beta).

5) Togashi monks that aren't massively over- or massively-underpowered.  This will depend greatly on the tattoo mechanics.  I can wait for a future supplement.

6) Shugenja that are great at being priests but don't overshadow other characters in their niche (I'm looking at you Tamori shugenja outfighting most bushi).

7) Faster combat.

8) Rules for glorious death.  Samurai lead deadly, often short lives, and must embrace death.  I want mechanics built into the game that incentivize players to embrace PC

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2 hours ago, Kakita Onimaru said:

I've got 2 things I personally want to see changed in this new version of the game.

1. I wan't to see Iaijutsu Dueling incorporated as an aspect of Kenjutsu rather than a complete separate thing.

2. I want money and superior forms of equipment to matter. 

 

Yes, I can already see you typing in your counter arguments. Once the first PDF drop I plan on opening threads for each of these topics to discuss them further.

I'm iffy on equipment.  I don't like the idea of magical items all over the place.

I like the idea of money mattering through the conflicts of merchant v samurai caste, and on a whole.  Like a Samurai shouldn't be counting pennies, but he should certainly understand the economic value of controlling rice fields, protecting harvests, trade routes ect.  Its not self-less virtue that Samurai Warlords fight for, and protect their lands.

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15 minutes ago, suburbaknght said:

Sorry, I'm on the exact opposite side of the spectrum.  I really like how 4e made equipment less significant; what type of sword didn't matter nearly so much as who who was wielding it.  I'd like to see equipment go even more abstract.  If I want to spend hours kitting out a character, I'll play Shadowrun (and I do!).  In l5r, honor is stronger than steel and I want a game to focus on that.

 

That said, things I do want:

1) Rings rather than individual Traits.  It reinforces the mythical aspect of the setting.  I don't want a Mirumoto whose agile and tough; I want one whose swords burn through the air and has the resilience of the mountains.

2) Social mechanics that aren't 100% GM interpretation.  While Courtier shouldn't be mind control and we don't need a social combat system, it would be nice having clearer guidelines on courtier and artisan characters can actually do.

3) As Kakita-san said, I would love iaijutsu folded into the main combat mechanics.  If it's supposed to be the pinnacle of swordsmanship, please let the two be connected.  For that matter, I also want taryu-jiai in the main system.

4) Mass combat that isn't a tacked on system.  Samurai go to war; the game should reflect it (note: not expecting this in beta).

8) Rules for glorious death.  Samurai lead deadly, often short lives, and must embrace death.  I want mechanics built into the game that incentivize players to embrace PC

All of these I agree with 100%  Especially point 2

What I'm trying out with my existing game - to give a more mechanical interaction to the social setting - is essentially using the Courier skill as a way of finding the right people or places, and then using a speaking skill (oratory, etiquette, or some other interaction) + awareness to find out something about the opponent (similar to iaijutsu awareness role) then allowing them to engage with the target using a skill they possess with Intelligence.  If the skill matches one the opponent also possesses they do a contested roll of skill + intelligence.  If this gives a favorable outcome to the player they can roll sincerity or that skill + perception to gain an amount of "influence" on that person.  This can be used to stress them out, talk them down, or gain a favorable opinion in that character's mind.  If there is no matching skill the character they are engaging will use their ettiquette skill as a deflection of the conversation, and the character will have to make 2 or more raises to gain a favorable outcome.

I like the idea of mechanics that define conversation as much as they define combat.  I don't think this takes away from the RPG elements, but we'll see as I run that in this game.

Edited by shosuko

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Maybe my issue was more a GM fail, but I hope for a system more accessible to new players who are less familiar with the setting. It was a huge turn off the one time I tried playing the old RPG (think it was 4th edition, but don't know for sure). I played a courtier who obviously would be familiar with court etiquette and the like, but I was expected as a brand new player, in a scenario that I was told was intended for brand new players, to actively roleplay an entire conversation with an NPC about etiquette and court behavior. I was told that's how the RPG was designed, doesn't use die rolls for skill checks like that. #1 reason I never tried playing again (#2 reason was because I had signed up for a different scenario at the convention that was supposed to be for new players, and was told when I showed up that I wasn't allowed to do that scenario, I had to play this other one). 

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1 minute ago, shosuko said:

What I'm trying out with my existing game - to give a more mechanical interaction to the social setting - is essentially using the Courier skill as a way of finding the right people or places, and then using a speaking skill (oratory, etiquette, or some other interaction) + awareness to find out something about the opponent (similar to iaijutsu awareness role) then allowing them to engage with the target using a skill they possess with Intelligence.  If the skill matches one the opponent also possesses they do a contested roll of skill + intelligence.  If this gives a favorable outcome to the player they can roll sincerity or that skill + perception to gain an amount of "influence" on that person.  This can be used to stress them out, talk them down, or gain a favorable opinion in that character's mind.  If there is no matching skill the character they are engaging will use their ettiquette skill as a deflection of the conversation, and the character will have to make 2 raises to gain a favorable outcome.

I like the idea of mechanics that define conversation as much as they define combat.  I don't think this takes away from the RPG elements, but we'll see as I run that in this game.

2e went along a path like that but the problem, as Shawn Carman said in the 3e design diaries, is that every time you introduce a new skill it makes the old skill that used to do that a little less significant.  In 1e and 2e a bushi really only needed two skills to be effective: a weapon skill and Defense.  Courtiers should really only need Courtier and Etiquette as their offense and defense skills respectively, and while other skills can be helpful (just like bushi can benefit from Athletics, Horsemanship, and Iaijutsu) those two skills are their bread and butter.

Rather, I'd like to see options.  One thing I've been toying around with in a home system is elemental based approaches.  Everything still uses Courtier (or a weapon skill in combat) but rolls a Ring based on the approach.  Trying to make a sound rhetorical point in a courtly debate would be a Courtier / Fire roll but droning on and on until your opponent just gives up and leaves would be Courtier / Earth.  Likewise a straight attempt to cut your opponent would be Kenjutsu / Fire but knocking them over would be Kenjutsu Water.  It's not a whole system and the idea of Trait substitution is hardly original, but it makes the game feel more thematic to me.

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3 minutes ago, Zesu Shadaban said:

Maybe my issue was more a GM fail, but I hope for a system more accessible to new players who are less familiar with the setting. It was a huge turn off the one time I tried playing the old RPG (think it was 4th edition, but don't know for sure). I played a courtier who obviously would be familiar with court etiquette and the like, but I was expected as a brand new player, in a scenario that I was told was intended for brand new players, to actively roleplay an entire conversation with an NPC about etiquette and court behavior. I was told that's how the RPG was designed, doesn't use die rolls for skill checks like that. #1 reason I never tried playing again (#2 reason was because I had signed up for a different scenario at the convention that was supposed to be for new players, and was told when I showed up that I wasn't allowed to do that scenario, I had to play this other one). 

That is extremely unfortunate, and I would say it is not a total GM fail.  L5R has largely had courtiers and conversation / social skills present - but not well defined.  Check my post just above to see what I'm trying to do about it ^

In my games I've typically been able to guide players into the social interactions, while assigning reasonable die rolls to facilitate the drama - but I think a more defined system is in order.  I like to think that social interaction can be as straight forward as combat for players who aren't into actually RP'ing a conversation.  I also hope that adding some flavorful RP to a combat session helps tilt the dice as much as it would during social interactions ^_~

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15 minutes ago, suburbaknght said:

2e went along a path like that but the problem, as Shawn Carman said in the 3e design diaries, is that every time you introduce a new skill it makes the old skill that used to do that a little less significant.  In 1e and 2e a bushi really only needed two skills to be effective: a weapon skill and Defense.  Courtiers should really only need Courtier and Etiquette as their offense and defense skills respectively, and while other skills can be helpful (just like bushi can benefit from Athletics, Horsemanship, and Iaijutsu) those two skills are their bread and butter.

Rather, I'd like to see options.  One thing I've been toying around with in a home system is elemental based approaches.  Everything still uses Courtier (or a weapon skill in combat) but rolls a Ring based on the approach.  Trying to make a sound rhetorical point in a courtly debate would be a Courtier / Fire roll but droning on and on until your opponent just gives up and leaves would be Courtier / Earth.  Likewise a straight attempt to cut your opponent would be Kenjutsu / Fire but knocking them over would be Kenjutsu Water.  It's not a whole system and the idea of Trait substitution is hardly original, but it makes the game feel more thematic to me.

I think that is more a symptom of the perpetual release schedule... Every release has to have something shiny, new, and likely more potent.  This will not go away for either combat or social mechanics until game designers find a way to supplement a system without tacking on redundant or overlapping mechanics.

I would wonder if a system should NEED supplements if the addition devalues present mechanics without creating a better replacement (such as if the Core has standard iaijutsu duels, but a dueling supplement adds a new system that is more involved, with more options for weapons and styles evolving the system not just tacking onto it.)  I don't mind the subscription model of LCG, but I would prefer the RPG to release scenarios and deeper systems, not just tacking on redundant mechanics or adding power creep.

I like the idea of using more skills for a courtier, just as a bushi could use more weapons.  A good, engaging combat system should include leveraging the advantages and disadvantages of the different weapon types.  The reach of a spear, the agility of a sword, the tactical advantage of a jitte to disarm, ect.  A bushi would have multiple weapons, and the multiple weapons of a Courtier would be the skills in the way I've envisioned it.  There would be a clear focus on Courtier, Etiquette, and Sincerity as the "core" weapons, with the additional skills being ways to engage the targets.  We'll see how well it turns out for me ^_^

I will keep your comment in mind though - perhaps rather than using common skills, I could find a different way to engage the target npc, and then use a more focused system for how to gain influence with them so they can have a real focus on their approach.  I don't think Courtier, Etiquette or Sincerity are actually the method of conversation though...  Any skills for "method of engaging" come to mind?  I was thinking it would be thematic to say, have a conversation about horse riding, or sharing a go match as a way of engaging the target character and as such I used that skill as the "method" of influencing them, while the courtier, etiquette, and sincerity define the effectiveness of the results.

Edited by shosuko

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Personally, one of the things I really liked from the Star Wars Saga Edition RPG was how new supplements added new archetypes for players to choose from and specialize in. Sometimes these were provided in the form of new "prestige classes" (advanced classes beyond the basic Scout, Soldier, Noble, Jedi, etc.) and sometimes they were provided through skill trees with specializations within a class. While sometimes this created a bit of overlap in skills, overall they did a pretty good job of introducing new skills (or talents) to let you customize your character in a slightly different direction. And since the base character creation and leveling system remained the same, it forced players to choose between different paths within their chosen class/prestige class, rather than just pick the new supplement stuff because it's outright better. 

Also on the player side of things, my own gaming group would often have the GM of the new one-shot or campaign we were playing provide a list of which supplements would be allowed for character creation. While this obviously narrowed the field a bit for customization, it also allowed for a more focused build for the team, since supplements often had a specific focus (Scum and Villainy, Old Republic, Unknown Regions, etc.). I know not everyone is a fan of the d20 system, but I hope at least when it comes to planning supplements this system can serve as a source of inspiration for FFG to draw from and improve upon. 

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Decreased player-aimed lethality. There are ways to make combat feel deadly and serious without actually making each damage roll a chance of turning characters involved into a bloody mist of suddenly unresolved plot threads. Player-wielded lethality, on the other hand, isn't as bad.

Edited by WHW

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4 hours ago, Kakita Onimaru said:

2. I want money and superior forms of equipment to matter. 

I would like to note my vehement opposition to this. What I loved about the L5R RPG was that a Bushi character's powers came from her abilities not her gear. The oldschool DnD approach of having the Fighter's power linked to their wardrobe would be a massive step back in my opinion.

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3 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

- More tactics and special tricks for combat.

I second this. The raise system in 4e was really good. I'd love for them to build on it with more combat tactics to go along with feints, knockdowns, and disarms.

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Social encounters in FFG Star Wars are excellent, well structured, well supported by the rules and the pc options available, and can entirely rely on skill checks. "I'm not an inspiring leader but my character is, I don't know what they say but it works by the looks of the dice roll" is an entirely acceptable and functional part of that system. If this game is anything like SW/Genesys then combat skills will be 1/6 of what makes up a character, and hence 1/6 of what a GM can put into a session.

 

I really hope they flesh out guidelines on duels too. There's been quite a few easy to implement house systems for FFG Star Wars that all point toward possible methods. My favourite is where the attack action is only part of the story and other skills are just as important; a snide quip, a nimble leap, some parkour to gain height, a distracting smile.

FFG managed to capture the feel of Star Wars in their game, I really hope they can do the same here.

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Follow up to my money/gear point were as expected. Let me clarify briefly.

I would be fine ignoring money if it didnt create plot holes all over the place. Not only do economics play a deliberate role in every samurais life but there are several families that explicitly deal with the subject. (After all, just because a samurai must act as if money is no concern to them doesnt make it true).  

Things like Bribery, acquiring rare objects, the ability to do manage resources are all linked to having at least a partially sketched out economy. Gift giving becomes almost pointless if everyone can just as easily get access to the same things.

(Common Counter argument: "Its about how the meaning of the gift/importance of the gift giver." Yes, that is significant, but leaves out large swathes of potential scenarios. For instance, gifting a samurai with a bottle of rare tea loses value if the bottle is readily available and all the favors and connections from important NPCs leads to a price-tag sooner or later in the connection chain, thats what makes it rare.)

Even a scenario seeped in RP avenues can have a price-tag over it. For instance, if a samurai wishes to purchase the contract of skilled geisha so she can be his concubine, no matter how many favors, preferences, and receptions are made, and amount of money must be exchanged sooner or later, an amount that can vary WILDLY from GM to GM as there is no economy is guage off of. 

 

I dont even need it to be something a strict as an excact count of Koku in pocket, it could easily be an abstract "level of wealthiness" that could be rolled against or an advantage that gives a certain level of goods on a list of "general things this samurai can acquire with little hassle).

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2 hours ago, suburbaknght said:

 

8) Rules for glorious death.  Samurai lead deadly, often short lives, and must embrace death.  I want mechanics built into the game that incentivize players to embrace PC

Yeah, getting around the fairly alien mindset (for Westerners and gamers) was always a major stumbling block for the L5R RPG.  Not that there's anything wrong with D&D with katanas, but it would be nice to see a system that gave players and GMs the tools to run more authentic games and settings without having to mire themselves in hundreds of hours of studying and documentaries on samurai, lol.  Some people love L5R because they love the samurai mythos and how Rokugan adapts it.  Other people just think samurai are cool but don't really know much else.  A game that can help all of those people would be great.

As far as the "money and gear" thing, I could go either way.  Some players like the details. If gear has different tiers, I think there should be a close gap (think how 5E D&D works where there's not a clear "best" way to make a fighter as opposed to older editions where it was long sword, bastard sword or "WTF are you doing?") and not wildly different tiers of weapons. I mean, it's really difficult to build a system that is Munchkin-proof. So players are either going to figure out the best mathematical combinations of gear, or the best combinations of stats, or both. 

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