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Defence scaling.

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What are your intentions with defence scaling?

defence should be universal for all samurai and especially bushi. Not something hidden in special techniques. That +1 flat value from a stance doesn't scale.

As you grow more competent at attacking, your defence should follow the same increase to maintain balance. Otherwise we'll see new samurai missing a lot and seasoned but equal opponents never missing. Wfrp has the same issue.

With the current rules the only option is to allow defence checks so attacking is competitive, and both parties Pick Their dice in secret at then reveal, to keep some choice in the system akin to raises.

Defence... really it is a fundamental part of combat.

Edited by Gallows

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21 minutes ago, Gallows said:

What are your intentions with defence scaling?

defence should be universal for all samurai and especially bushi. Not something hidden in special techniques. That +1 flat value from a stance doesn't scale.

As you grow more competent at attacking, your defence should follow the same increase to maintain balance. Otherwise we'll see new samurai missing a lot and seasoned but equal opponents never missing. Wfrp has the same issue.

With the current rules the only option is to allow defence checks so attacking is competitive, and both parties Pick Their dice in secret at then reveal, to keep some choice in the system akin to raises.

Defence... really it is a fundamental part of combat.

I support all of this.

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30 minutes ago, Gallows said:

What are your intentions with defence scaling?

defence should be universal for all samurai and especially bushi. Not something hidden in special techniques. That +1 flat value from a stance doesn't scale.

As you grow more competent at attacking, your defence should follow the same increase to maintain balance. Otherwise we'll see new samurai missing a lot and seasoned but equal opponents never missing. Wfrp has the same issue.

With the current rules the only option is to allow defence checks so attacking is competitive, and both parties Pick Their dice in secret at then reveal, to keep some choice in the system akin to raises.

Defence... really it is a fundamental part of combat.

This.

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47 minutes ago, Gallows said:

What are your intentions with defence scaling?

defence should be universal for all samurai and especially bushi. Not something hidden in special techniques. That +1 flat value from a stance doesn't scale.

As you grow more competent at attacking, your defence should follow the same increase to maintain balance. Otherwise we'll see new samurai missing a lot and seasoned but equal opponents never missing. Wfrp has the same issue.

With the current rules the only option is to allow defence checks so attacking is competitive, and both parties Pick Their dice in secret at then reveal, to keep some choice in the system akin to raises.

Defence... really it is a fundamental part of combat.

Strongly agree! 

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In part agree but..

The clash of professional, seasoned and expert swordsmen will become increasingly lethal and against any opponent (however skilled at their trade) who is not capable of wielding a weapon in defense a seasoned blade master will quickly cut them to pieces.

In part the question is realism vs narrative fantasy.  

I favor letting the players have a Defense skill they roll to avoid being hit.

NPC's and monsters have a Defense value which reflects their difficulty to be hit for whatever reasons or reasons be it superb skills, mystical talent, amazing equipment, incredible size/power/durability and/or supernatural ability.  So the Defense of opponents that players target is open to the storytelling narrative a young samurai may be low and experienced dark sorcerer protected by foul magics moderate and a mighty horror of the Shadowlands high.  

It is only when player clashes with player that the raw value vs. value becomes critical and then sadly a battle hardened samurai warrior probably will cut a long experienced academic courtier down very quickly unless the courtier possesses other surprises.   

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So far all of the L5R systems have had this "flaw". At least the lethality has been toned down a whole ton from previous iterations. 

Also, the way of the sword does not focus on defenses and parrying as much as position and striking. There are plenty of ways to defend yourself simply by using the right stance and moving into and out of range. Your also able to take a defensive stance and reduce damage to the point of it being a strong parry, and in a pinch, you can spend that Void point.

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1 hour ago, Mad Truckle said:

In part agree but..

The clash of professional, seasoned and expert swordsmen will become increasingly lethal and against any opponent (however skilled at their trade) who is not capable of wielding a weapon in defense a seasoned blade master will quickly cut them to pieces.

In part the question is realism vs narrative fantasy.  

I favor letting the players have a Defense skill they roll to avoid being hit.

NPC's and monsters have a Defense value which reflects their difficulty to be hit for whatever reasons or reasons be it superb skills, mystical talent, amazing equipment, incredible size/power/durability and/or supernatural ability.  So the Defense of opponents that players target is open to the storytelling narrative a young samurai may be low and experienced dark sorcerer protected by foul magics moderate and a mighty horror of the Shadowlands high.  

It is only when player clashes with player that the raw value vs. value becomes critical and then sadly a battle hardened samurai warrior probably will cut a long experienced academic courtier down very quickly unless the courtier possesses other surprises.   

I disagree, what makes you a "expert swordsmen" is not getting hit and being able to open your opponent. Two experts facing each other should be a slow fight where no one wants to make the first mistake.  Right now, an expert swordsman on the game just hit more.

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Well, base TN to hit is 2. Some techniques raise that TN, as does Air Stance (to 3).

You can also guard someone else, raising their TN per success.

One suggestion I would make which I think would allow for some better scaling is if using Air approach for any action, you may spend opportunities to raise your TN for the round.

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All of this gets tricky because of the dice system. Starting characters are rarely going to get more than 3 successes on a roll as they are limited by the cap to starting ring. Maxing out your attack ring, you're more or less topping out at 5 successes (on an average roll, exploding dice push up the average some but not a huge amount) and unlikely to be getting a lot of opportunities if you have to hit higher TNs.

With a keep 5 and 5 skill dice and a TN of 2 using a Katana you're likely to get 7 damage. 5-2=3 extra success + 4 damage = 7.

Traveling Clothes give an armor of 2 (about a middle value for armor). So that is 5 damage that gets through. With the right stance that drops to 4 damage.  So it will take about 2-3 hits before you start inflicting crits, then it takes about 2-3 hits to either finish the job or knock the PC out.

So you're looking at 4-6 rounds of combat. If the TN to hit goes up too much then combat drags on or never ends as no one can hit.

*Note that it is late and my math could be off.

 

Edited by jmoschner

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Yeah the system is problematic in regards to defence, but then again, many rpgs Seem to neglect defence.

4th edition works decently in terms of defence with a slight tweak making defend scale better. But really static defence is poor design. EotE has decent active defence, although it's not balanced well across different specializations. But the system is there. 

defence should be a choice, you can go for that reckless attack or be more defensive. It can work of a ressource like strain or it can work on a round to round basis where you split your attention between offence and defence. The main point should be that two seasoned warriors will not just hack at each other like two sacks of potatoes with more damage, but also more potatoes in the sack.

Now they are doing special dice, one easy solution would be to add a TN die, with 0-2 failures. Balancing that die would be easy math, so it can be used for defence scaling. The current TN is not fine enough to balance it. 

Parry is also scaled flat to a value of 4 reduction.

it's going to work fine for new samurai, but I see big issues at higher level of play.

The whole idea of soaking up critical strikes with fitness instead of moving out of the way just seems so wrong. Potato sack samurai.

Edited by Gallows

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You aren't really soaking up anything when it comes to Critical Hits. If you get Critted naturally (and not from someone spending Opportunity) you are automatically Incapacitated which means you cannot perform actions and Crits against you are more Severe. .

I do agree that TN2 seems low, but we will need to test it out quite a bit. See what all can increase that TN as well. Verdict is still out there.


 

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Hmm, yes, outside of air stance and guarding there seem to be kata's, kiho's and invocations that can raise your TN, so it does scale. Also there are techniques to attack and maintain distance and those that increase resistance and all add to a character's defensive capabilities beyond increasing the difficulty to get hit.

I think must see it all in action first before we can make a judgement on this.

Also, the fitness roll is not soaking it, but also mentions getting out of the way, so it is a sort of active defense.

 

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Let me put it this way:

We have two targets to attack - Akodo Toturi, Master Of The Lion Clan, and a Sack Of Potatoes.

Should Toturi be detectably harder to hit than the potatoes? 

After all, he's a man-sized target, just standing there taking blows. There is no magic sword-repelling effect from being a samurai which makes him discernably harder to hit than the root vegetables.

Granted, he is harder to injure. It's highly unlikely the potatoes are wearing lacquer and plate armour.

Now this comparison is stupid. Because, rules aside, we know if we try and attack the Right Hand Of The Emperor, we're going to be looking for our heads in the sewer. So clearly there must be a way to make attacks harder built into the rules. And there is - but it involves Toturi actively doing something - either taking actions or invoking special rules associated with Kata. If he keeps attacking another opponent with no consideration for defending himself against us, or is unconcious, chained up, magically immobilized, or whatever, then again, why is he harder to hit than the potatoes?

If he does things like Centre, or....I'm reaching for Dark Heresy 2nd Edition concepts here....Defensive Stance? Counter-Attack? Then I can try and whale on him all day and all that happens is I get a mountains of strife at such a rate to the point that the continuous outbursts make it look like I've developed torrettes.

Yes, that requires him to get an action first, but who gets to go first is an opposed check, and one that the Lion Clan's champion shouldn't be losing to a sack of potatoes (sarcastic Scorpion Clan jokes aside). 

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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21 minutes ago, Magnus Grendel said:

Let me put it this way:

We have two targets to attack - Akodo Toturi, Master Of The Lion Clan, and a Sack Of Potatoes.

Should Toturi be detectably harder to hit than the potatoes? 

After all, he's a man-sized target, just standing there taking blows. There is no magic sword-repelling effect from being a samurai which makes him discernably harder to hit than the root vegetables.

Granted, he is harder to injure. It's highly unlikely the potatoes are wearing lacquer and plate armour.

Now this comparison is stupid. Because, rules aside, we know if we try and attack the Right Hand Of The Emperor, we're going to be looking for our heads in the sewer. So clearly there must be a way to make attacks harder built into the rules. And there is - but it involves Toturi actively doing something - either taking actions or invoking special rules associated with Kata. If he keeps attacking another opponent with no consideration for defending himself against us, then again, why is he harder to hit than the potatoes?

If he does things like Centre, or....I'm reaching for Dark Heresy 2nd Edition concepts here....Defensive Stance? Counter-Attack? Then I can try and whale on him all day and all that happens is I get a mountains of strife at such a rate to the point that the continuous outbursts make it look like I've developed torrettes.

Yes, that requires him to get an action first, but who gets to go first is an opposed check, and one that the Lion Clan's champion shouldn't be losing to a sack of potatoes (sarcastic Scorpion Clan jokes aside). 

I am theorizing that initiative is going to become very important at the higher levels. Whoever strikes first, gets a killing blow with all their successes, and game over. This is pretty vicious if that's the case.

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I agree this needs to be addressed. A skilled combatant ought to be harder to hit naturally, without doing anything special.  If a skilled (or agile) combatant also opts to take various defensive actions to further bolster his survivability, so be it.  

In previous versions of L5R, Reflexes determined the base TN to be hit in combat. For this version I would use either the Air ring or the Vigilance derived attribute to determine base TN to be hit. Have the base TN either equal to Air or Vigilance, keeping the other existing options to modify combat and TN in place.

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1 minute ago, shadowgriffon99 said:

I agree this needs to be addressed. A skilled combatant ought to be harder to hit naturally, without doing anything special.  If a skilled (or agile) combatant also opts to take various defensive actions to further bolster his survivability, so be it.  

In previous versions of L5R, Reflexes determined the base TN to be hit in combat. For this version I would use either the Air ring or the Vigilance derived attribute to determine base TN to be hit. Have the base TN either equal to Air or Vigilance, keeping the other existing options to modify combat and TN in place.

Real life sword combat isn't like the movies. A few strikes can quickly end a battle. I'm wondering if they are going more realistic, and as mentioned above, are trying to focus on initiative. Go first, get a solid kill. That's how you are outplaying your opponents. Quick, deadly strikes. I don't know though.

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16 minutes ago, shadowgriffon99 said:

A skilled combatant ought to be harder to hit naturally, without doing anything special.  If a skilled (or agile) combatant also opts to take various defensive actions to further bolster his survivability, so be it.  

Okay, but how is his skill expressing itself? By him taking actions, either deliberately defensive actions or simply rolling many, many dice due to awesomness (high skill and ring scores) and throwing the resulting shedloads of opportunity at 'make me hard to hit' effects - and because those actions are skill checks; so not only is Toturi doing a defensive action but his defensive action is better than the potatoes, because he has more bonus successes.

Now, should there be a 'guarded attack' action, which allows for a reduced quality attack, in return for a less dramatic increase in defence? Maybe (I'm not sure if there might not be already!). That's a question about what actions are available to a given character, rather than a core mechanic, though. 

22 minutes ago, marshzd said:

I am theorizing that initiative is going to become very important at the higher levels. Whoever strikes first, gets a killing blow with all their successes, and game over. This is pretty vicious if that's the case.

That is a fair concern; if high melee skill needs to be paired with high initiative-granting stats to work. It's not unreasonable, though, and Kata or similar talents which might like the two would not be unreasonable for a given school, especially iaijutsu-focused ones.

That's the difference between a swirling melee and a duel, though. A duel should be one-and-done if it's going to look like most historically recorded samurai duels. 

In a duel, both participants start within melee range, so....yes. Initiative gives the first swing before the other can react. So unless you let one another have a round to centre yourselves (and in a serious fight, why would you?), you get one exchange of blows against an unprepared opponent. 

In a battle, you should always have one round before swords meet to do a defensive action, unless it's an ambush and you haven't seen your opponent coming - in which case, sack of potatoes time. Yes, a master swordsman like toturi should never be vulnerable like that but that's because he should never have failed the check to see the sack of potatoes coming.

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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