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2 minutes ago, Jennkryst said:

It should also be mentioned that YOU get to pick which dice you keep.  So you choose if you get strife or not.  Someone else pointed out somewhere this gives you the hilarious option to sometimes have to pick between saving face and succeeding at a task.  And if that isn't a thematic L5R dilemma, I don't know what is.

There is also the potential to annoy someone to the point that they shut up even if you can't beat their arguments.

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I'm liking what I see very much! I was expecting something closer to Genesys, so happy to see only 2 types or dice.

I agree on the fact that renaming 'Outburst' might be in order. It is obviously a failure of On, but your character is not flipping tables unless you want her or him to.

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I absolutely love the stress and outburst mechanic. That internal struggle for control is a huge part of the samurai fiction and the ability to make someone lose face is perfect for courtier interactions as well as military. A general who reaches a stress point might silently stalk back to his tent, a Crab Warrior on the Wall might fly into a berserk rage forgetting his own safety. A Scorpion might strike an underling in privacy for a failure. All of these interactions are just as important as combat. That was always something missing from the old systems and why there always seemed to be so few courtiers and social characters.

I also don't see any need for a defensive stat as it's just not how these battles are fought. Samurai didn't parry. They fought through stances they adapted to the needs of the battle. Often they would allow themselves to be injured to inflict greater injury on their opponents. Wounds are like superficial damage that can be interpreted as defending against the worst of an attack. The guard action makes someone pretty hard to hit, especially if they chose the stance that gives their opponents a +1TN. Also, I like that the game is not nearly as lethal as it used to be. In the older editions, he who struck first won most of the time due to injury penalties.

The layout of the book needs a lot of work, as it has you flipping back and forth too much. As far as character creation, I agree there needs to be a bonus point or exp point expenditure step to help customize your character at least a little bit. Maybe offer less bonuses for family and add in the custom bonuses. A little here goes a long way. I'd also like a detailed character creation example from start to finish, as I'm still not clear on advantages and disadvantages. Speaking of the latter, the Disadvantages are massive. I don't think many of those will be used. Too many make it so a samurai would have to retire right out of character creation. I don't want a campaign full of handicap samurai, as neat of a story as that might be, it shouldn't be THAT common for so many of those choices to be listed.

Great job on social combat, dueling and skirmish. My favorite though is mass combat. I love this system for mass combat. It makes sense, it's fluid in the ability to resolve it and cinematic in how it handles the characters involved. Couldn't be happier here.

Weapons and gear need a lot of work. Something as personal as a katana in this setting should be able to be personalized a bit more. There just isn't enough detail in most of the listings. For example, weapons with the tangling (or whatever its called), quality. What does it actually do? Can I use actions to grapple with it? Can I attempt to use disarm? There is no real information here. This section just needs a lot of fleshing out and detail.

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First impressions (I hope I did understand correctly most of the rules, sorry if I misinterpreted anything after a partial read) :

• I like a lot of the new mecanics. I find the custom dice an improvement (not sure yet about their design, I need to test them to see if it is easy to read in one glance, maybe it will be easier when we will see them color coded in the final product) since it allows a more ergonomic TN and avoid to have to do (even easy) mental calculation when you should read a result in one glance. I specially appreciate the general mechanic of the outburst. I believe it will create a lot of opportunities to create emotional depth during conflicts and involve the players beyond the dice rolling.

• I love the limited numbers of skills (I don't even want to use the subskill optional rules, but I think it's nice to propose it as an option rule).  

• I also love the whole mechanic of approaches. Previously, players tend to balance their rings to be able to progress and it created very similar characters, now it seems more interesting to give a character strong rings and weak rings and the mechanic allow to give different outcomes to successfull checks, depending on the approach. So, if I understand correctly,  a courtisan with a strong Earth Ring and a weak Air Ring is still interesting to play : even if he will have trouble to spread rumors or to lie, he can still try to navigate his way in the court with reason and patience. He can still be effective as a courtier, but there are still limitations in what action he can achieve.

• I 'm in awe with the whole Ninjo and Giri chapters : clearly well thought and really helpful.

• I really like the new school mechanic and the technique categories. I like the freedom it gives. But I fear that for high rank bushi having 15 techniques may create a lot of complexity and uncertainty about what to do when you roll dice (especially when you obtain opportunities). Of course, I have to test it to know if this fear has any ground.

• I never cared for the Honor Mechanic. It seems to have improved, but I'm not sold yet. For me, the first problem is that the name is (like it always was) misleading : Honor can be a lot of things in Rokugan (familial honor, for instance, can be harmed by the actions of a spouse or a son) and not only the adherence to the tenets of Bushido. I never understood why it is not called Bushido Points since it would prevent quite a few headaches. Plus, the moral complexities of the bushido make sometimes really hard to know where is a character on such a numeric scale because tenets of the bushido can (should) be incompatible from time to time. P182 even states that"The other rich story opportunity associated with Bushidō occurs when its tenets inevitably come into conflict with each other." But the mechanic seems at odd with that statement. I find anticlimatic to end a beautiful scene in which a PC has sacrificed a Bushido precept for another and the player is heartbroken by such a choice by explaining step by step what happened, trying to keep track and stating out loud what should be best left unsaid. "By the way, you should loose 6 points of honor for this action since you choose not to tell the complete truth to your daimyo when he specifically asked for it… Of course, it was because you didn't want to tell him about the shameful way its youngest and most beloved son acted just before he died. But I guess it was a compassionate act. And it was loyal since you surely understood that your daimyo would be weakened by this testimony when he needs to be strong of mind because he must obtain a difficult treaty with his enemy in one hour with the whole future of its house at stake. And your lie was the only comfort he could have since this tragic death. Well maybe you should regain the honor you forfeited but then this great scene would have no impact on your character honor which seems absurd… Okaaay… I'm realllllllly not sure how it works!". I believe there should be an elegant way to resolve this issue, and not put the GM in a spot where he has to comment complex moral actions of the PCs with tricky Honor reward or Loss just after the fact, because sometimes the consequences of a choice will appear later… and the player himself should be unsure (or decide later) if what his PC did was the honorable choice or not.

• The whole Glory Mechanic and explanation has also improved from the 4th Edition, but some of what I said about honor points can be transposed here. Numbers seems to me as a clumsy way to keep tracks of complex situations. It doesn't help that the Glory (and Honor) mechanics seems scattered between two chapters… (P22 and P182)


Nitpicking :

• P40 : "If your character has a fundamental disagreement with their clan’s beliefs, policies, or practices and has defied these in the past, gain an additional rank in one of the following skills based on clan (…) Dragon Clan: Seafaring" So when a Dragon bushi hates meditation and prefer to act first, he learns how to navigate a boat?…
OK I may be wrong, but maybe I understand the idea behind it  : seafaring, as a Trade Skill, can be a good way to set apart a free-thinker samurai of a mountain clan. Even if I'm right, it seems a bit silly and I don't think it works as a common creation rule – an argument could be made that a faithful to his roots Dragon Clan samurai is even less likely to be proficient in "Current events, historical trends, and etiquette" (even if courtier is not a Trade Skill) than able to "Sail and live on the ocean"…

 

Edited by Kocho

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I've read more - just passed the weapons area - and I love it.  The min and max ranges allow you to narratively shift combat so that it isn't always "I draw my normal weapon and make a normal attack."  The ability to move inside an opponent's range, or outside its range can be impactful.  This means a character who can always get within a katana range can be annoying, and challenging without simply having high stats.  If you can finally keep him outside of 0 range you can slaughter him.

I like how the armor is represented.  It allows a good amount of soak, and even includes that normal cloth offers protection!  This is an important thing as cloth armor wasn't that bad actually.  Razor edge weapons becoming damaged for beating them against hard armor is fitting.  The grips allow multiple uses of the same weapon, and make these uses clear.  Fully I like the weapons and armor design of the game.

The outburst mechanic is probably my favorite because its so real.  I see this as a proper incentive to bring a player to a point of actually role playing.  When you say "Yeah, your character is so frustrated right now that they break face.  What does your character do?"  And they can be like "I shut down, I can't listen to anything any more.  I can't put any more effort into this."  Or they say "I slam my fist into the wall, and tear down the painted scrolls hanging on the wall.  !@#$ this."  These are losses just like losing blood in a skirmish, but they effect the social side - and they really allow a character to rp something I don't think many players think to rp.

I'm still wary of the dice, but I'm going to actually try some dice rolls today as I run through some scenarios to test out the mechanics.  I'll get back on that...  super worried that success is going to be too random.

Edited by shosuko

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56 minutes ago, Kocho said:


• P40 : "If your character has a fundamental disagreement with their clan’s beliefs, policies, or practices and has defied these in the past, gain an additional rank in one of the following skills based on clan (…) Dragon Clan: Seafaring" So when a Dragon bushi hates meditation and prefer to act first, he learns how to navigate a boat?…
OK I may be wrong, but maybe I understand the idea behind it  : seafaring, as a Trade Skill, can be a good way to set apart a free-thinker samurai of a mountain clan. Even if I'm right, it seems a bit silly and I don't think it works as a common creation rule – an argument could be made that a faithful to his roots Dragon Clan samurai is even less likely to be proficient in "Current events, historical trends, and etiquette" (even if courtier is not a Trade Skill) than able to "Sail and live on the ocean"…

 

That whole section is entirely about being SuperContrary!  It's pretty bad.

The Lion learns Skullduggery, which is basically the opposite of being a proud noble Lion.  The Dragon learns to sail a boat because... you guessed it, living on the ocean is like the opposite of living in the mountains, where Dragons are supposed to live, lol.   Crab learns to paint! Unicorn learns to be cultured!  If this is going to be kept, it needs to be a selection of skills. Not every Lion who rails against the strict discipline and warlike nature of the Lion is going to become a thug, and not every disaffected Dragon is going to sail the seas. 

Either that or Rokugan is just full of Former-Lion Kolat and the Mantis Clan is actually just all former Dragon samurai.

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First impression 

 

What we liked

  1. Seems a balance to traits and skills.
  2. Two types of die skills and rings, new players thank for that.
  3. New angles to some school techniques, like Kakita Bushi, Shiba Guardian.
  4. Number of skills.

 

What we wish we could see

  1. 3 basic schools of each Clan. We understand that’s limited but we would like to see a Bushi or iconic class (don’t mind dragon monks or scorpion Nin... err black pajama users), Courtier and Shugenja. Just a wishful thought.

 

Dubious 

  1. Family skill bonuses. Don’t like the pigeonhole aspect. Like VaeVictis said: “If Families are going to offer Skill upgrades, they should probably be in a "Pick Two" format, with perhaps 4-5 choices.“
  2. Anxieties. Half of my group is not sold on this. They don’t want a rule to trigger and tell them how to act. However they will test the mechanics as objectively as possible.

 

What we think needs some work

  1. Layout needs lots of work, have to jump around constantly to learn mechanic or create a Character.
  2. I’ll refrain to comment on combat mechanics for the moment until we run the first adventure. I did a comment before about defense and maybe I was wrong...

 

That’s it for the moment I’ll be back to post more after we run the adventure... Currently I am planning to play one session and GM another. 

Edited by Nheko

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12 minutes ago, VaeVictis said:

That whole section is entirely about being SuperContrary!  It's pretty bad.

The Lion learns Skullduggery, which is basically the opposite of being a proud noble Lion.  The Dragon learns to sail a boat because... you guessed it, living on the ocean is like the opposite of living in the mountains, where Dragons are supposed to live, lol.   Crab learns to paint! Unicorn learns to be cultured!  If this is going to be kept, it needs to be a selection of skills. Not every Lion who rails against the strict discipline and warlike nature of the Lion is going to become a thug, and not every disaffected Dragon is going to sail the seas. 

Either that or Rokugan is just full of Former-Lion Kolat and the Mantis Clan is actually just all former Dragon samurai.

Ikoma Lion’s Shadows...:ph34r:

Edited by Nheko

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Geez I go to sleep for one night and you guys go hog wild...8D 

Glad to see such healthy discussions going on, I have yet to do my more through read-through; hopefully tonight. 

The one other thing I noted and had a discussion in our local HoR FB group was that starting with extra Void is stupid easy potentially up to 3 Void for free. granted with the new system while Void is still important its not quite the big deal it was before. My concern is seeing a bunch of Phoenix PCs with 3 Void, or more if starting XP can be used on Rings. 

The overall impression I got was Simple yet Complex...

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I got your point, and I agree with you ;).

It is that my love for that school backfired to me as an Outburst... Sorry man I couldn’t resist. ^_^

In all seriousness I agree with you.

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It's all good. I personally don't mind there being an option for "I'm not like those other guys."  It just needs to be more flexible than "Screw you guys and your mountains, I'm going to sail a boat."

 

I have a similar problem with the Family mechanics adding skill points.  It pigeonholes characters immensely in a game where skill points are at a premium for starting characters.  Poor Ikoma Tsanuri.  It's a testament to her dedication to the art of warfighting that she managed to overcome throwing away 5 of her 7 starting skill points on Composition and Performance, which apparently all young Ikoma are forced to learn.

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I agree with you wholeheartedly on the family subject. I even quoted you on my preliminary review. :)

I will like to see that they reconsider that, hoping that they heed your suggestion. :unsure:

Edited by Nheko

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9 minutes ago, GandofGand said:

To be fair, it make sense that families provide SOME initial skill, you always learn something from them. Not saying the current skill options are great but...overall a nice touch. 

I would be fine with it providing a skill increase, but fixing it at two specific skills creates a pigeonhole where family choice becomes part of an optimization process rather than a customization process.   If families are going to give skill bonuses, they should be in a similar format to schools, in a "Pick 2" format or something from an existing list. 

Ideally though, I don't like the idea of Family skills. The lore has samurai attending their schools from a young age.  Give the players their school skills, then two skills of choice.  In previous editions, the School gave its skill selection, and the rest was up to the player to choose how to spend experience points.  This game removes way too much choice from character creation, and when you do that, you end up with a lot of character templates.  I mean, sure, there are tons of Advantages and Disadvantages, but the disparity between them is so way off that 75% of them will only see the tabletop with the most ambitious roleplayers. 

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I must say I am impressed on my first read through.

Not a surprise, but FFG has diverged in major ways from all previous editions.

The Strife mechanics are the most intriguing new system to me. Players maintain control by largely choosing when they gain Strife. The Staredown in duels adds interesting possibilities. As to the term "Outburst" I can see why others might dislike it. It is an outburst of emotion, but I can see the term giving a false impression of how loud and obnoxious an outburst must be. "Tell my spouse I love them," during a battle is an outburst, and fits with the whole duty versus passion set up of Samurai fiction. If one is already suffering the Dying condition, breaking Face/On to express honest emotion while succeeding at a task is a very classic trope of warrior fiction. Perhaps a name change like Breaking/Dropping Face/On?

Much of the mechanics seem based around keeping natural fluidity and varied workable approaches. A big plus in my mind. Good to see some very basic actions like hampering others, guarding, ect that is widely applicable in multiple situations. The largely static TNs also help keep up the lethality. The high levels of Severity needed appear to blunt it. I would prefer a set of optional mechanics in the core book to scale that in either direction. Currently the severity levels feel much like the SW RPG which works in that style, but I prefer the razor's edge whenever there is combat in a samurai drama. Actually play might steer me to feeling this is the right level though. 

Character creation does need some clean up. That was the most confusing part of the play test document so far. Too much is scattered. I agree with others that there should be a nice diagram or chart to accompany the nice 20 Questions sheet. I'm of two minds about skill grants from Clan and Family. It does make a certain amount of sense that specific cultures and families impart certain skills at even a young age... but it leads to very similar characters and sort of steps on how important school training is. Maybe if clan choice provided a specific two skills or one of any skill. Then families could grant something like a specific Advantage/Skill or XP. For instance Hida could grant Large Stature or a small amount of experience. That could also open up possibilities such as all Yogo granting their famous curse but more XP than usual. The mentor options actually seem very well done. The opinion of clan should probably be any skill that isn't granted by family/clan/school rather than some specific anti-clan skill. Sort of like in Star Wars something can give you a non-career skill rank.

Overall I'm happy with the new direction. This is not what I would have chosen but I am excited to try it out. 

 

 

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My first impressions are very positive, I am so glad it is not Genesys. I like that that there are just two dice d6 and d12, and that they have strife on them, thus they directly have the internal conflict of the characters directly tied with the competence, which was annoying in Star Wars that they had separated there the positive and negative dice.

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15 hours ago, tenchi2a said:

Well here's the first run a Character creation.

Shiba Shoju

Clan: Phoenix

Family: Shiba

School: Shiba Guardian

EARTH: 2 FIRE: 2 AIR: 1 WATER: 3 VOID: 2

RESILIENCE: 10 COMPOSURE: 8 FOCUS: 3 VIGILANCE: 2

Skills: Fitness: 1, Martial Arts[Melee]: 1, Meditation: 1, Tactics: 3, Courtesy: 2, Theology: 1

Advantages: Keen Sight, Karmic Tie (Brother), Animal Bond

Disadvantages: Bluntness, Bitter Betrothal.

Typical Outburst: Trembling hands

Honor: 60 Glory: 45 Status: 30

Ninjō: Spending Time with his Cat (Makoto)

Giri: To protect his charge no matter the cost.

Abilities: Way of the Phoenix

Gear (equipped): Katana, wakizashi, Ashigaru armor, travel clothing, naginata, traveling pack, 5 koku

Techniques

Striking as Water

Lord Shiba’s Selflessness

I've been looking in to L5R because of the LCG. I was watching the RPG because I was pretty excited about Genesys.

Thank you for writing this up. This pretty succinctly tells me this is not the RPG for me.

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As much as I liked L5R in the past (especially 4th edition), my initial impression of this iteration is that I'm not impressed.  While the dice rolling seems simple enough, it just feels like there's way more fiddly-ness involved in interpreting the results than is really necessary; it frankly comes across as being complicated for the sake of being complicated, without adding anything of substantial value to the gaming experience in the process.

Given how dice and skills work, it seems that most starting PCs are falling into the realm of "barely trained newb" which is something I'm generally not a fan of.  Having the option to tweak/customize a character with a small pool of XP (not unlike AEG's versions or FFG's own Star Wars RPG) would have been nice.  Having the Rings start at 2 each instead of 1 would probably help avert this.

Barring any major revisions, odds are very high that I won't be buying any of the books for this line, and am more likely to stick with 7th Sea: Khitai or AEG's 4th edition L5R if I get the urge to run an Eastern-themed RPG.

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So far I like what I see. The dice mechanics look good, so my greatest fear for the new edition is a gone conclusion. My problems can be distilled into two points:

  • There are needlessly complicated things (combat, I'm looking at you), rules need lots of streamlining
  • There are needlessly silly things (I know that cheap soap opera drama is a big thing in L5R, but making a whole set of rules for it feels like pushing the envelope), stuff needs lots of rework

I have my test group up tho, we will make our characters tomorrow, stay tuned for my adventures with the beta!

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