Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Our fourth and (currently) final character has been completed:

  • Bayushi Nobunaga - A scorpion assigned as legal aide to the Emerald Magistrate, he is absolutely definitely not in any way a graduate of the Shosuro Infiltrator school (which doesn't exist in the first place, so he couldn't be, could he?). Any suggestion he occasionally removes threats to the stability of the empire within his Magistrate's jurisdiction without bringing them to his master's attention to 'keep the paperwork down' is purely speculation and likely to be taken as an insult. He has a carefully crafted persona as a bumbling bureaucrat followed by Whispers of Failure, and like Takeshi, is given to Irrepressable Flirtation, and 'wasting' time with games and hawking with his Animal Bond, a prize hawk called Yasoroku. He is much more careful who is aware of his private self as a Scorpion Clan trained spy and assassin; Ambidextrous, trained with Daisho, Yumi and Fist, rather gifted at impersonating those of lower status (having spent enough time pretending to be a peasant, he would make a fairly capable farmer if the need arose), and with an utter Disdain for Righteousness - he enjoys being a killer rather more than he lets on even to his private allies.

 

We also ran a quick test activity with Nobunaga (since he won't be about for our proper run through 'A Ronin's Path' - where he had set himself the goal of removing the corrupt headman, Kabe, and his cronies from a local peasant village without bothering the Magistrate about the issue.

  • Arriving in the vicinity, a Skullduggery [Air] check to spend a proportion of the day observing the village entrance. Thanks to two opportunities, he was able to watch the village secretly, and spotted one of the Ashigaru sentries was especially lax in his duty watching villagers going in and out, and was able to time his entry when he would be on duty.
  • An easy Labor [Earth] fashioned a convincing bundle of sapling firewood within which he could hide his Yumi and Arrows - the Concealable knife and wakizashi he kept under his straw cloak, and his other gear he hid, leaving Yasoroku to keep an eye on them with a handful of dried meat.
  • Skullduggery [Void] let him blend into the crowd of peasants returning from the woods and fields. Whilst his Void ring is low, the TN was very low too - having noticed the lazy guard, he was let past with the most perfunctory observation and didn't even need the Performance [Air] check that would have been required had the guard bothered to question him.
  • We then ran a quick Intrigue - his social objective to start rumours amongst the peasants that Kabe was corrupt, whilst one of Kabe's guards (an ashigaru) would have the objective of discrediting him.
    • This was probably the easiest intrigue you can imagine; an Ashigaru is not exactly the most...erm...diplomatically gifted of opponents, and since both the Peasants and Ashigaru only had a vigilance of 2, a single Whispers Of Court (given Nobunaga's Air ring of 3) was more than enough to start convincing (true) rumours of how much Kabe had been skimming off the villages' tax contributions, whilst the Ashigaru managed to do nothing but annoy the audience.
    • As an opportunity, Nobunaga was able to learn another rumour - that Kabe had been spending a lot of his ill-gotten gains 'enjoying the company' at a nearby inn, and would be on the balcony of the master bedroom, sleeping off a highly impolite quantity of sake by that time of night.
  • A brisk walk through the village, a swing of a grappling hook and one Fitness [Air] check later (with two opportunities to ensure no-one hear him), and the Scorpion was on the opposite roof, stringing his Yumi and sighting up on the snoring shape of Kabe.
  • In a...somewhat unheroic and frustrating...way, despite spending a void point on it his first shot went astray, slamming into the bedframe and waking Kabe. Kabe suffered strife (unsurprisingly!) from one opportunity, and Nobunaga took more careful aim with the second (on a failure, assist the next character to try a similar check) and it turned into a skirmish.
  • With the Scorpion's Focus versus the Ashigaru's Vigilance, it's not surprising that the second arrow was on its way before the hungover, half-naked thug made it a couple of steps. This one was on target, and with the bonus successes from Fire Stance, caused excess wounds and an incapacitated condition. The critical was unimportant (Kabe's fitness check reduced it to severity 0 and he wasn't wearing armour - or much of anything else), and Kabe's screams alerted a guard on the floor below that something was wrong.
  • Kabe obviously did nothing much in his turn (being incapacitated) but an Ashigaru did arrive from the floor below, and saw Nobunaga - he would need to actively escape rather than just sneaking off calmly.
  • A third shot put a second arrow into Kabe - with Way of the Scorpion now applying, this one hurt a lot; rendering Kabe Unconscious, Bleeding and with a Fractured Spine (I know he's a minion but we did criticals 'properly' to show the player how they worked).
  • At this point, the ninja made a break for it before any guards (now bundling out of the inn) caught up with him. A Fitness [Fire] check let him leap from the roof he was on to another nearby, and in the process apply further strife to Kabe - Bleeding causing him to gain the Dying (1 round) condition and finishing him off.
  • A Fitness [Air] check let him lose his pursuers through the village, though he suffered an outburst in the process - agreed to be his crueller killer instincts surfacing, and that he felt compelled to make himself feel better about taking four arrows to kill a single unarmoured peasant by sneaking up on and murdering the lazy guard at the village gate with a Martial Arts [Air] check. After all, if the gate sentries don't do their job, anyone could get into the village. A murderer might get in. I mean, another murderer. Another murderer who wasn't working in the Empires' best interests. Oh, you know what I mean...

 

Random beta thoughts:

  1. Bleeding turns strife into damage. But someone who's unconscious - the most likely time to receive a bleeding condition - doesn't take actions (even checks to reduce further criticals), meaning that barring someone in fire stance lobbing strife at them, it rarely does anything.
  2. Definitely going to need to wrap my head around what an Animal Bond pet can and can not be made to do, and how often a survival check and/or bribe of food will be required to do so. Yasoroku the hawk is really, really mean: Air 4, Martial Arts (Unarmed) 2, and with Damage 2, Deadliness 5 claws he's not exactly going to be ripping open armour, but he's actually pretty darn scary when attacking an opponent with little or no armour!
Edited by Magnus Grendel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He has a carefully crafted persona as a bumbling bureaucrat followed by

Whispers of Failure

A fairly amusing exploitation of the rules where a character turns an Disadvantage into a Void-Producing Advantage.  Side effect of a game that is trying to push the players into playing Noble Samurai in a setting where not every character is a Noble Samurai.  The GM should not have allowed this, but give the player credit for gaming the system well.

"Come on people! Follow me (the wrong way)!  What, no?"


The idea of a ninja who can't help but bring attention to himself by flirting "irrepressibly" is fairly amusing.  A GM could easily destroy this character if he wanted to, but fortunately the character is getting all those Free Void Points by getting super anxious doing the things he wants to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, TheVeteranSergeant said:

The GM should not have allowed this, but give the player credit for gaming the system well.

I am the GM, as it happens. I disagreed that's it's gaming the system  - he wants to look like someone who's not especially competent; which is fair enough - but means that if he ever tries to come 'out of character' people won't trust him (because they all know him as 'that inept lecher from the emerald magistrate's courthouse' so saying 'follow me! I will lead you into battle' is likely to receive the response 'yeah..errrm..no.').

I thought that was a logical negative consequence of his behaviour - hence pretty fitting, and actually suggested it to him.

He can always choose to not flirt too much - that's the whole point of the disadvantage; you get strife when you're trying to keep a lid on it and not be inappropriately flirtatious.

It's at least better than Hida Takeshi, who has the twin disadvantages of Bluntness and Irrepressable Flirtation meaning that not only is he forever taking the opportunity to flirt but he's also extremely bad at it. His first encounter with a female Bushi came this close to him getting challenged over it.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem is, in a party-based system, how often is he really going to try to come out and lead people? Let's be seriously for a second. Nobody plays the "foolhardy courtier who's actually a ninja" character because they plan to ever care about taking command on a regular basis. How many points in Command do you ever expect that character to take (lol)? It's not a Disadvantage if most of the time it's good and once in a blue moon it's bad.  That's like Large in 4E.  Most of the time, you're just getting an extra damage dice.  It's not suddenly a Disadvantage because he got stuck in a tight passage once.

I mean, if your group likes fun, campy campaigns, that's cool. There's no wrong or right way to play, so I guess I shouldn't suggest that the GM "shouldn't allow it."

It's just important to point out that that character is, in fact, cheese, and inarguably gaming the system by using a Disadvantage in a manner other than which it was intended in order to routinely produce an advantageous effect. It's like taking Dark Fate in 4E, or Daikoku's Curse for your Crane Duelist or Dragon Monk, lol.  Pointing out this Exploit Ninja means other GMs who don't like The Samurai Adventures of Bayushi Bond  or other sorts of powergaming can recognize when a player is powergaming. It's also important to point out to the developers that players have, one week into this, figured out how to defeat the Disadvantage system.

Don't get me wrong. I think that whole system of Void Point Regeneration needs to be scrapped, so hopefully that won't be an issue in the end game. But, it's important to point out the issue. If you want to give players bonus Advantages in your sessions, nobody will kick down your door.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, TheVeteranSergeant said:

The problem is, in a party-based system, how often is he really going to try to come out and lead people? Let's be seriously for a second. Nobody plays the "foolhardy courtier who's actually a ninja" character because they plan to ever care about taking command on a regular basis. How many points in Command do you ever expect that character to take (lol)? It's not a Disadvantage if most of the time it's good and once in a blue moon it's bad.  That's like Large in 4E.  Most of the time, you're just getting an extra damage dice.  It's not suddenly a Disadvantage because he got stuck in a tight passage once.

I mean, if your group likes fun, campy campaigns, that's cool. There's no wrong or right way to play, so I guess I shouldn't suggest that the GM "shouldn't allow it."

It's just important to point out that that character is, in fact, cheese, and inarguably gaming the system by using a Disadvantage in a manner other than which it was intended in order to routinely produce an advantageous effect. It's like taking Dark Fate in 4E, or Daikoku's Curse for your Crane Duelist or Dragon Monk, lol.  Pointing out this Exploit Ninja means other GMs who don't like The Samurai Adventures of Bayushi Bond  or other sorts of powergaming can recognize when a player is powergaming. It's also important to point out to the developers that players have, one week into this, figured out how to defeat the Disadvantage system.

Don't get me wrong. I think that whole system of Void Point Regeneration needs to be scrapped, so hopefully that won't be an issue in the end game. But, it's important to point out the issue. If you want to give players bonus Advantages in your sessions, nobody will kick down your door.

I like the way the GM set this up - and as a GM the story is in his hands.  The GM can devise a way by which the character may really want to take charge, or even may be needed to take charge of a situation and can then deal with the fall out of their reputation then.  How often advantages and disadvantages come into play likely varies among groups and story types.  I would leave it up to this GM to put the pressure on the character.

Is it cheese?  Maybe...  but its up to that GM to decide how the story and characters in the group are made, and played.  Its up to FFG to fix anything if it is exposed as a problem, which is why we are in beta.  They may give some corrective action on this if they feel it is a problem, and if you really disagree with disadvantages being potentially strong then you could make a more broad argument on how disadvantages work entirely rather than worrying about this specific situation. 

idk - I think I defend this because I feel the character concept is great.  It fits well with Appendix II ninja philosophy, and examples of this can be found in many different stories.

Edited by shosuko

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

if you really disagree with disadvantages being potentially strong then you could make a more broad argument on how disadvantages work entirely rather than worrying about this specific situation. 


Um, I did both of those things. 

And it's not worrying about "this specific situation."  It actually reveals about a dozen potential ways to build Exploit Ninja once you scan the list of "Adversities" and realize just how many of them a Ninja with a cover persona of Crappy Courtier would gain an Advantage by taking.  In fact, if it says "Whispers of" then you can tack it on right away, lol. "Scorn of"  "Maimed Visage." "Disdain for Bushido."  None of these things are a problem for Exploit Ninja in his quest to "Fail At Things I'm Not Trying To Succeed At."  Some of them will be better than others, as is always the case.  "Whispers of Failure" is a pretty good one, because the character is just seen as kind of a buffoon rather than truly contemptible. 

The reason this is problematic is that the Disadvantage is for an imaginary character, and not a real one. Whereas every other character is constantly plagued by their Disadvantages, the Exploit Ninja is only bothered when they try to use Persona Role sometimes.  If I'm Akodo Broturi with aspirations of one day leading a Lion Army and winning glory for myself and the Clan, Whispers of Failure is near-crippling. No matter how hard I try, people think I'm a scrub.  Bond, Bayushi Bond, doesn't really have this problem, since he's never using the skills in question unless specifically to do them wrong. Would only be funny if he spends a lot of time at his ninja dojo and  they trained him wrong on purpose, as a joke.

The character concept is fine. What makes it gaming the system is giving the character a mechanical bonus when he is supposed to be taking a trait that is an Adversity that's the problem.  The other players are taking 2 Advantages and 2 Disadavantages. Bond, Bayushi Bond, is getting 3 Advantages and only taking 1 Disadvantage.

Edited by TheVeteranSergeant

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great character and very nice gameplay about your test game, Magnus. But I'd like to comment on something:

On 12/10/2017 at 6:25 AM, Magnus Grendel said:

Arriving in the vicinity, a Skullduggery [Air] check to spend a proportion of the day observing the village entrance. Thanks to two opportunities, he was able to watch the village secretly, and spotted one of the Ashigaru sentries was especially lax in his duty watching villagers going in and out, and was able to time his entry when he would be on duty.

One thing that immediately jump at me, kind of confirming my fears about the system if I'm reading it correctly: shouldn't the "not being spotted" part be an automatic function of the Skullduggery [Air] roll? Why are the Opportunities necessary for this, didn't the base success do anything?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, TheVeteranSergeant said:


Um, I did both of those things. 

And it's not worrying about "this specific situation."  It actually reveals about a dozen potential ways to build Exploit Ninja once you scan the list of "Adversities" and realize just how many of them a Ninja with a cover persona of Crappy Courtier would gain an Advantage by taking.  In fact, if it says "Whispers of" then you can tack it on right away, lol. "Scorn of"  "Maimed Visage." "Disdain for Bushido."  None of these things are a problem for Exploit Ninja in his quest to "Fail At Things I'm Not Trying To Succeed At."  Some of them will be better than others, as is always the case.  "Whispers of Failure" is a pretty good one, because the character is just seen as kind of a buffoon rather than truly contemptible. 

The reason this is problematic is that the Disadvantage is for an imaginary character, and not a real one. Whereas every other character is constantly plagued by their Disadvantages, the Exploit Ninja is only bothered when they try to use Persona Role sometimes.  If I'm Akodo Broturi with aspirations of one day leading a Lion Army and winning glory for myself and the Clan, Whispers of Failure is near-crippling. No matter how hard I try, people think I'm a scrub.  Bond, Bayushi Bond, doesn't really have this problem, since he's never using the skills in question unless specifically to do them wrong. Would only be funny if he spends a lot of time at his ninja dojo and  they trained him wrong on purpose, as a joke.

The character concept is fine. What makes it gaming the system is giving the character a mechanical bonus when he is supposed to be taking a trait that is an Adversity that's the problem.  The other players are taking 2 Advantages and 2 Disadavantages. Bond, Bayushi Bond, is getting 3 Advantages and only taking 1 Disadvantage.

True - the disadvantage does apply to the persona, not the character.  There could be clarification given that the disadvantage should be intrinsic to the character's role in the game.  I don't know if they can fix this mechanically, or if they would simply have to give story-guides to help GMs work through it.  There is already a bit of a disconnect between the 20 questions section prodding more genuine advantages and disadvantages compared to the generic pre-con ones.

If a character had such a disadvantage, but were playing as a sleeper agent, I would simply start requiring they reach higher ranks or form stronger alliances as part of their sleeper agent goals forcing them to swim up current with these disadvantages in tow.  The point of being a GM is to write the story in such a way as to capture the advantages and disadvantages of the players.

I'm not saying current mechanics are fine as printed - but I think this is something that may always be "exploitable" and is more a problem for the GM and the story than for character design and mechanics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My first impressions:

  • Still the <multiple adjectival expletive withheld> range band system. I wouldn't mind if each one was a set distance (ala Classic Traveller), but this log scale but one movement is 1 range band snaps my disbelief suspension system into pieces. Almost enough to say, "Screw it, I'm outta here." Almost, not quite, but almost. I've replaced it with fixed movement per maneuver in Star Wars. 
  • The Approaches system is needless complexity and seems a bit artistic for the sake of being artistic. I won't know til it sees play, but it rankles me on first read.
  • Liking the changes to spell casting - no ring limit per day that I can see.
  • I like the dice mechanics; I dislike needing new dice.
  • So far, the only issue is that the beta seems to make a proper (1 clan, 3 key roles Bushi, Courtier, Shugenja) impossible without special snowflakes. Which leads towards Rōnin and Magistrate.
  • I hate the font used in the headers. Almost unreadable to me. Even when blown up 200% over print.
  • Would rather see No-Dachi & Ō-Dachi (and they are not extirely the same No-dachi was 3-4, while Ō-Dachine was 4-5 shaku
  • Would rather see Japanese Traditional Measures than metric. 

The Dice-math makes the odds rather opaque. (yes, that is an intentional pun)

It's very different, and the rings do not correspond as directly to what they meant in the past. I'm disappointed that it's neither Genesys (for which I could use my Star Wars dice) nor the d10 R&K (which I've got 50d10 for running)... I can't say I'm surprised by the direction they went. I do like the way it's set up, but more dice to buy...

 

(My history with L5R - I bought 2E from a discount bin. loved it, ran it, had great fun. bought 1E, ran it, went back to 2E for everything except the task mechanics. Got 3E - loved and ran it. Skipped 4E. Have casual played a few games of the CCG, never got into it. Love the lore. )

Edited by AK_Aramis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, TheVeteranSergeant said:


Um, I did both of those things. 

And it's not worrying about "this specific situation."  It actually reveals about a dozen potential ways to build Exploit Ninja once you scan the list of "Adversities" and realize just how many of them a Ninja with a cover persona of Crappy Courtier would gain an Advantage by taking.  In fact, if it says "Whispers of" then you can tack it on right away, lol. "Scorn of"  "Maimed Visage." "Disdain for Bushido."  None of these things are a problem for Exploit Ninja in his quest to "Fail At Things I'm Not Trying To Succeed At."  Some of them will be better than others, as is always the case.  "Whispers of Failure" is a pretty good one, because the character is just seen as kind of a buffoon rather than truly contemptible. 

The reason this is problematic is that the Disadvantage is for an imaginary character, and not a real one. Whereas every other character is constantly plagued by their Disadvantages, the Exploit Ninja is only bothered when they try to use Persona Role sometimes.  If I'm Akodo Broturi with aspirations of one day leading a Lion Army and winning glory for myself and the Clan, Whispers of Failure is near-crippling. No matter how hard I try, people think I'm a scrub.  Bond, Bayushi Bond, doesn't really have this problem, since he's never using the skills in question unless specifically to do them wrong. Would only be funny if he spends a lot of time at his ninja dojo and  they trained him wrong on purpose, as a joke.

The character concept is fine. What makes it gaming the system is giving the character a mechanical bonus when he is supposed to be taking a trait that is an Adversity that's the problem.  The other players are taking 2 Advantages and 2 Disadavantages. Bond, Bayushi Bond, is getting 3 Advantages and only taking 1 Disadvantage.

Its a bit more important than that.

Firstly, it's not just a question of leading troops: any time you're trying to convince someone to trust your competence, it applies. Even if you're not leading the troops, Jim-bob is, the guy you're trying to persuade to provide you with troops doesnt trust you if you're  with them (the watchtower commander in ronins path, for example, will need a check to convince him to give you a cohort, and without inpt the party is one cohort down in the ensuing battle); this could manifest as anything from 'YOU stay here, you're not going on this mission and screwing it up' to the magistrates letter of authority mentioning every member of the party except you.

Essentially, yes, it's an aspect of the 'cover', but it still affects any social interaction where he's saying 'trust me' or 'I can do this' - whether he's trying to fail or not.in fact, stuff where he's 'trying to fail' is irrelevant, because trying to fail should be TN0, or something which isn't relevant to the story,  otherwise he's screwing things up for everyone, or al least bleeding status and glory staked on the check

it is going to be a problem for him. Because part of his giri is 'stay in character', meaning he's got to deal with people not trusting him with anything important yet still get those important things done - essentially mastering 'bruce wayne fighting' with every social interaction harder than it should be.

It's  a nasty disadvantage for anyone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Mirumoto Saito said:

Great character and very nice gameplay about your test game, Magnus. But I'd like to comment on something:

One thing that immediately jump at me, kind of confirming my fears about the system if I'm reading it correctly: shouldn't the "not being spotted" part be an automatic function of the Skullduggery [Air] roll? Why are the Opportunities necessary for this, didn't the base success do anything?

Because the skullduggery air check is to look for weaknesses and planning a route in (specifically spotting the lazy guard with bonus success)

Success/failure is figuring out a way in, and how easy it is.

How subtle/quick your observation of the village is is independent of whether you succeed at that (you could have spotted a route in  or not but there was a rumour of a stranger hanging around earlier regardless, making the intrigue more dangerous or putting kabe on his guard), so its done via opportunity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 14/10/2017 at 10:34 AM, Magnus Grendel said:

Because the skullduggery air check is to look for weaknesses and planning a route in (specifically spotting the lazy guard with bonus success)

Success/failure is figuring out a way in, and how easy it is.

How subtle/quick your observation of the village is is independent of whether you succeed at that (you could have spotted a route in  or not but there was a rumour of a stranger hanging around earlier regardless, making the intrigue more dangerous or putting kabe on his guard), so its done via opportunity.

Ah, I understand. Still, that seems to be an action that would be perfectly viable under the old L5R system, with raises on the Investigation check instead of the Opportunity mechanic. Better, in my opinion, because you could choose to raise before attempting the test.

Anyway, thank you for the answer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/14/2017 at 6:27 AM, Magnus Grendel said:

Its a bit more important than that.

Firstly, it's not just a question of leading troops: any time you're trying to convince someone to trust your competence, it applies. Even if you're not leading the troops, Jim-bob is, the guy you're trying to persuade to provide you with troops doesnt trust you if you're  with them (the watchtower commander in ronins path, for example, will need a check to convince him to give you a cohort, and without inpt the party is one cohort down in the ensuing battle); this could manifest as anything from 'YOU stay here, you're not going on this mission and screwing it up' to the magistrates letter of authority mentioning every member of the party except you.

 

That just sounds like "every RPG ever."  I'm not sure why suddenly we expect characters in L5R5E to be Swiss Army Knives.  Dojo Doreen's specialty is the talking.  Matsu Marvin and Hida Harold do the hittin's of things. And Bond, Bayushi Bond, does the sneakin'. Heck, maybe we don't even tell Daimyo Dan than Bayushi Bond is going to be taking part in the battle. Doji Doreen just says "Dan-sama, we will have Marvin-san lead your troops to Shadowands, and Harold-san will be his second, and make sure he knows what to look for.  Bayushi Bond?  He'll stay out of the way in the back with me. Maybe shoot some arrows. He's a'ight with a bow."    What real-world GM is going to have Daimyo Dave tell Bayushi Bond he can't go with a plausible backstory about how his dumb *** is going to be in the rear with the gear?  Or, even if he does, Bond, Bayushi Bond just sneaks over the wall with his ninja skillz and joins up with the party later disguised as an ashigaru or a lost Hiruma scout from another unit nobody recognizes or just does ninja stuff in the background.   You're presenting a theoretical scenario that will never manifest itself in a meaningful way at the table, were the Exploit Ninja's character just can't participate for an extended period of time because their cover persona is a doofus. Especially since Exploit Ninja's specialty is "Doing Things I Ain't Supposed to Be Doing And Not Getting Caught."

 

That's the thing with Party Games that don't have a clear protagonist.  Few of those games expect your character to do everything, In fact, most of them do the opposite, because that often steps on the toes of the other guy who does that thing.  A 4-player L5R party might have 2 dudes to do the hittin', one dude to do the spellin' or sneakin', and another dude to do the talkin'. Maybe spellin' guy does a little talkin' on the side.  Sneakin' or hittin' dudes are just cross-training in talkin' for the little incidentals. "Don't look like a jackass and sip your tea out of turn." The big-time negotiations or intrigues are the talkin' guy's job.   Otherwise, what else is he supposed to do? Ninja stuff?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And in that situation, he won't have a cohort command. Which is actively making things worse for the party in mass battles. Which is why you would try and persuade the Daimyo to nominate him as one of the cohort commanders, just like everyone else, but in his case you might fail. 

Standing at the back and ninja-ing people trying to assassinate the other commanders directly is still useful, but not as much as having another cohort on the field.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I ran our first game a couple of weeks ago. I have read the fluff but haven't really played before and my players were brand new to L5R but experienced gamers.

We really enjoyed it.

Having read the forums I tabbed the heck out of my book so I could find everything. That didn't appear to help. Iajustu focus is nearly useless, but other than that the rule are pretty solid. I'm sure there is some number tinkering but over all I think most of the work pretty well. 

My players quickly realized that strife management was a big part of the game and that it can even be helpful in times. The duel at the end of the game was epic and skills were loose enough to allow a great deal of creativity. I haven't run mass battles (yet) but conceptually, I really like what I see. 

Good job Fantasy Flight! Just organize things better and I think you're off to a stellar beginning. 

 

I ran our first game a couple of weeks ago. I have read the fluff but haven't really played before and my players were brand new to L5R but experienced gamers.

We really enjoyed it.

Having read the forums I tabbed the heck out of my book so I could find everything. That didn't appear to help. Iajustu focus is nearly useless, but other than that the rule are pretty solid. I'm sure there is some number tinkering but over all I think most of the work pretty well. 

My players quickly realized that strife management was a big part of the game and that it can even be helpful in times. The duel at the end of the game was epic and skills were loose enough to allow a great deal of creativity. I haven't run mass battles (yet) but conceptually, I really like what I see. 

Good job Fantasy Flight! Just organize things better and I think you're off to a stellar beginning. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • We've done some follow-on character creation using the 'veteran samurai' option (+46 XP)
    • The Characters are
      • Tsuro no Kinzoku, a Mantis Born Commander (with a ship gained from his heritage)
      • Iuchi Masakuri, a Meishodo with a strong connection to water kami travelling on his ship
      • (Not yet joined yet) Doji Makoto, a Diplomat with a slight obsession with all things tea-related and the Crane ambassador's representative to the ship's home port
      • Bayushi Nobunaga (same character, haven't spend the extra XP yet)
    • We did an opening session last night. Hage's ship, the Tsuro, was en route back to the Rokugani mainland from the islands of Spice & Silk, laden with valuable trade goods when it was set upon by a pirate ship.
      • A Survey/Seafaring (Seafaring [Air]) check was passed by Kinzoku, spotting the ship as it emerged from an inlet and realising it was setting a pursuit course.
      • A Recall/Culture (Culture [Earth]) check  to recognise the ship's heraldry was failed by Masakuri and Kinzoku, but passed by Bayushi, who identified it as the heraldry of a pirate group led by Takakage, from a rumoured base in a captured fishing port on the southeastern coast.
        • The question "how do you know so much about pirates?" was met with a somewhat evasive response that "he'd come across some paperwork in the Magistrate's office on the subject".  Kinzoku's player was fully aware that any criminal records of the execution of individual pirates would be highly unlikely to include images of the ship's sails and banners, but pointedly said nothing.
      • The Tsuro, heavily laden as it was, was never going to outrun the pirate for long, but Kinzoku and Masakuri came up with a plan to turn the tables; cutting the ship in as close as possible to a small, rocky island, and essentially looping round to attack the pirates from the flank.
        • This involved the use of Masakuri's Rushing Waves invocation to speed the ship up beyond what the pirates could expect, and Kinzoku's shiphandling skil we decided this was maneuvering between the rocks without slowing would be a Seafaring (Water) check. 
          • Masakuri passed with two opportunities, which I allowed to count as assistance for Kinzoku
        • Nobunaga went to the stern to observe the pirate ship
          • A Seafaring (Air) check to observe the details didn't pick out much but he did realise that the forecastle of the ship had a sizeable iron cage set into it, but he couldn't make out what was inside.
      • We started the assault at this point, with the Tsuro passing round the rock and coming up on the pirates from their aft starboard quarter.
        • The experienced bandit captain and Kinzoku acted as leaders
          • Both ended up on initiative 6, with the Bandit going first.
        • Round 1
          • The Pirate's first officer took a cohort and reinforced the pirate ship's railings.
          • Kinzoku used lightning raid, inflicting some panic and getting an opportunity, following up with an assault.
          • At this point, the cage was opened and a group of trained boars (I'd been threatening my players with them just because their stats are so silly, and used them as a third pirate cohort) slammed into the side of the boarding party, causing no less than 10 attrition.
          • Nobunaga used a challenge action to engage in a yumi-duel with the first officer, wounding him but being wounded in return (in fact left 1 fatigue short of his -admittedly low - resilience!)
          • The pirate captain rallied his cohort to support his first officers' in preparation for a boarding assault back onto the Tsuro.
          • Masakuri led an assault action with some archers firing into them, more or less evening the honours for attrition. 
        • Round 2
          • The first officer led an assisted assault onto the decks of the Tsuro, pushing them to near 50% attrition. 
          • Masakuri responded with a challenge action, using Water Fist (a kiho learned from her ancestry) and her surprisingly-good-for-a-shujenga brawling skills to injure the first officer and then punch him into the water, incapacitated, despite taking an arrow to the shoulder and being dazed.
          • The captain sought out Kinzoku and shot at him with a bow. Kinzoku responded with a pair of repeater crossbow shots that nailed him to the deck.
          • At this point, with both meaningful cohort leaders dead, we called the fight; the surviving crew were bound and imprisoned, the pirate ship fired and the Tsuro reset sail for the coast, bearing the news that a Mantis clan ship had been attacked - the pirates were getting far too bold and something had to be done.

 

  • Thoughts:
    • Once again, mass battles felt a bit....odd compared to just skirmishes. 
    • Given that a turn of a mass battle represents several minutes of skirmishing, it seems wierd that a clash is only a single round.
    • I don't want it to turn into a full duel mid-mass battle (I've previously stated that I didn't like duels taking the other players out of the action for 20-30 mins!) but the single round felt a bit odd. Kinzoku wasn't really trying to 'challenge' the captain, just get a crossbow shot at him, so whilst the tactics check to get the shot makes sense, the fact that the fired, missed, but got 2 opportunities to prepare the crossbow for free for another shot....but wouldn't get one because the 'clash' was over seems a bit odd.  Masakuri using a kiho and punching the first officer was the same - both she and he would have been happy to continue the fight the following round.
      • Essentially, it'd be nice if there was the possibility once a clash started for the two combatants to keep fighting as the mass combat continues.
      • In fact, if anything, I'd make that the default - the two combatants are in a clash, which continues until one of them is dead (with normal mass battle effect of a clash) or one of them specifically breaks off.
        • Either make breaking off an action or an opportunity for someone in a clash, to end it after that round?
    • Panic versus attrition again seems odd. 
      • This was especially noticable with Lightning Raid - in a skirmish it boosts the initiative of the players and that's really what the commander would have liked it to do for his force. Panic is nice but doesn't really feel significant compared to attrition because there are relatively few ways of inflicting it in meaningful amounts
    • I wasn't using objectives properly. I was a bit flustered because I was simultaneously trying to do character creation for Doji Makoto's character.
    • I may replay this with a bit less stress and some more preparation...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Ran a brief evening with the crew of the Tsuro.
    • On docking, they split up to manage their various tasks in a downtime scene
      • Kinzoku making a Seafaring/Restorecheck to make sure the ship and crew was secure and shipshape, and all damage from the battle was repaired
      • Masakuri, determined to make more of a contribution to any future fights, spent time on a Design/Invent check to produce a Meishodo talisman for her Bo of Water invocation. Picking up an opportunity, she gave it the Subtle quality - people wouldn't know it the bracelet was a talisman without looking closely at it.
      • Makoto took a slight Honour hit by getting directly involved in managing the merchants haggling over the Tsuro's cargo (and some loot from the pirates). A Commerce/Exchange check dealt with this discretely and no more was said about it.
    • They then made their way to the the court hall, where a Seppun noble (using a Provicial Daimyo) was responsible for governing the port.
      • Presenting heraldry cut from the sail of the pirate ship, they told their story (netting everyone a slight glory increase, increased slightly for the Resplendent quality of the Tsuro)
      • Brigand Pirates attacking a Mantis Clan ship carrying imperial cargoes obviously could not be stood for, so Seppun Asano pronounced that a punitive expedition would be raised to hunt down the pirates. 
      • We then started an intrigue; there were a pair of Lion Clan Samurai - one courtier and one bushi - who tried to muscle in on the command of the expedition, siting the Matsu bushi's command experience.
        • Kinzoku decided as an objective to focus on persuading Seppun Asano to commit the port's fleet to a primarily naval expedition rather than a land-based one; he didn't want to be advocating himself as a commander (that's what everyone else was pointedly told to do!) but figured that if the campaign was a naval one, he would stand a better chance of being picked as leader rather than the Matsu soldier than he would leading an army on foot.
        • Makoto by comparison took on the job of talking up Kinzoku as a potential commander. 
        • Masakuri took the same objective, aiming to support people as needed (with Disdain for Courtesy and next to no social skills, she wasn't expecting to be too much use, but she was present in the battle, not Mantis clan herself, and as such a useful 'expert witness' for Makoto).
        • The Matsu Bushi took on the job of promoting himself as the clear choice to command. Not that he had an ego or anything.
        • The Ikoma Courtier nominally took on the job of supporting him, but actually picked discrediting the Mantis captain as his objective - assuming (correctly) that Kinzoku would be likely to say something deeply offensive and inappropriate in front of Seppun Asano if he lost his grip on his temper.
      • The intrigue took three rounds. With Focus 7 and Vigilance 4, convincing a Provincial Daimyo of something clearly requires a very solid argument!
      • Round 1
        • The Ikoma Courtier used some very cutting remarks about the competence of great clans versus minor clans - failing his persuade check to drop a non trivial amount of strife on Kinzoku (Fire Opportunity plus Heart of the Lion)
        • Kinzoku responded by scoring three good points on his objective with a reason/courtesy check, pointing out that whilst destroying the Takakage's base would be good, without adequate ships the pirate raiders themselves might escape and the problem start all over again
        • Makoto used a courtesy/trick approach to try and talk up Kinzoku in the guise of weighing up the benefits and drawbacks of a land and sea campaign, and the need for a 'commander of real and recent experience'. With Masakuri's support action, he got four rhetorical points towards his objective, and dropped an opportunity on The Wind Blows Both Ways, meaning Kinzoku would get an extra glory if he was appointed to command.
        • The Matsu Bushi decided to champion his own cause with a Reason/Tactics check, essentially laying out 'the best plan' as if assuming obviously he was going to be in command and the others in the room simply hadn't caught up yet. He got an impressive string of explosive successes (and no small amount of strife), netting 3 Rhetorical points towards being granted command, only 1 behind the PC's championing Kinzoku.
      • Round 2
        • Kinzoku decided to follow his lead and started to lay out his ideas for a naval blockade and assault with a reason/tactics check of his own, with Masakuri assisting him this time. He failed the check, but got enough opportunities to assist himself on his next try and reduced the TN of the next check by one; clearly Seppun Asano was thoughtfully stroking his beard, but wasn't convinced. 
        • The Ikoma Courtier kept poking Kinzoku with Incite/Courtesy, but actually made a good point too, giving the Matsu a total of 4 rhetorical points. 
        • The Matsu himself kept on laying out his plan. He got yet another rhetorical point, putting them on 5 and in the lead. 
        • Makoto decided to break up the debate - using a charm/courtesy to suggest breaking for contemplation and a tea ceremony (his passion). He used speaking in silence to, like Kinzoku,  assist himself on his next try and reduced the TN of the next check by one.
      • Round 3
        • The Ikoma used incite again, putting Kinzoku literally on his composure score!
        • Kinzoku followed up with the final details of his plan. Passing the improved Reason/Earth check easily, he got the last Rhetorical points to persuade Seppun Asano that a fleet action was the best plan, and (thankfully) spent an opportunity to reduce his strife slightly...
        • Masakuri decided to get in on the snide comments herself; using incite she dropped strife on the Matsu bushi, who'd been steadily racking up strife himself, and left him compromised (clearly suppressing his anger that he could see command dropping out of his grasp)
        • The Matsu tried a reason/tactics check, but now compromised he rolled a fistful of strife/success he couldn't use and made no headway.
        • Makoto decided that he needed to bring matters to a head; Kinzoku was very close to saying something he couldn't take back, as was the Matsu. Whilst the PCs wanted command, they didn't want a duel to the death to decide it, and the two shortest-tempered people in the room were both heading that way.... He used a charm/courtesy again, but used his distinction of natural deal-maker for rerolls. It looked like he wasn't going to manage to swing the argument before the one explosive success he rolled exploded four times in a row!
      • Seppun Asano was convinced: a naval deployment, with Tsuro no Kinzoku named commander.  
        • Everyone got a glory increase for winning a public debate
        • The Mantis captain was presented with a Gunbai to signal his appointment, netting him an extra glory increase
          • This was further increased by Makoto's use of The Wind Blows Both Ways and the Tsuro's resplendent quality (since it was obviously going to be the flagship).
        • Then the bad news: using the Natural Deal-Maker distinction clearly meant Makoto was offering a compromise of some form. 
          • Kinzoku was stuck with the Matsu as his second-in-command.
          • The Bushi bowed and said he "would be honoured to have his blade guard Tsuro no Kinzoku's back" but his eyes made it perfectly clear that that was not the interaction between his katana and Kinzoku's back he was picturing in his head....
          • Whilst the Matsu would be under Kinzoku's command, Makoto and Masakuri would in turn be under his - not something they were at all looking forward to.
      • The scene ended here
    • The PCs then ran a downtime scene to cover readying the expedition. 
      • Makoto used survey/skulduggery to contact spies and travellers to find out what they were facing. Getting exactly the TN with neither bonus successes nor opportunities, he learned that Takakage's fleet (less the ship already destroyed) numbered 4 remaining warships, but didn't find out anything about them nor the 'port' they were operating from.
      • Masakuri crafted another talisman, to aid her Rushing Waves invocation. This time using adapt/design, as she decided to create the Meishodo talisman out of the tiller of the Tsuro itself (incorporating a ruby now official labeled 'the big red button')! She succeeded and with an opportunity, it was agreed to give the tiller the sacred quality - probably irrelevant but maybe useful if the steersman were ever to be set upon by some sort of foul spirit.
      • Kinzoku and the Matsu samurai went to carry out some deployment horse-trading with the commanders of the warships in the port (exchange/tactics) - he needed to turn his nominal appointment into an actual fleet command, but couldn't take too many ships - after all, he couldn't leave the port itself defenceless, nor unable to patrol and protect other nearby merchantmen. His original goal of matching Takakage's fleet with imperial warships fell down badly - two successes short, even with the Matsu bushi's (grudging) assistance - so he ended up with only two warships plus the Tsuro. 
      • As a partial compensation, he got three opportunities, which he spent as one water and one air for "You are extremely subtle in executing the task, and you attract the minimal amount of attention" and "You perform the task very efficiently, completing the task more quickly" - clearly he settled for those two ships because they were ready to go right that moment and could be dispatched without any spies Takakage maintained in the port possibly finding out he was already en route - which should hopefully translate into surprise when his (outnumbered) fleet arrived!

 

 

Edited by Magnus Grendel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First stages of the campaign:

  • They compared notes with their totally-not-a-ninja ally, Bayushi Nobunaga, and determined that the tactical problem boiled down to the following elements:
    • The pirates had occupied a fishing village with a very sheltered bay, protected by a cliff that formed a tall, natural sea-wall with no adequate landing point for their forces outside the village itself, and there were a large number of rocky islets and reefs breaking up the sea outside.
    • The pirates supposedly had five ships - presumably four now that the Tsuro had destroyed one. It could be assumed that at least one would be out raiding at any given time, but this couldn't be guaranteed, and it would be hard to see how many ships were in the bay without someone advancing past the cliffs and discovering their ill-fortunate timing after committing to the assault could be disastrous!
    • Assaulting the channel would result in them having to pass the channel slowly (not knowing their way through the reefs), expose them to bow-fire from both cliff-tops, and - since the break in the cliffs wasn't wide enough for all three ships in Kinzoku's command to pass abreast , maybe not even two, would leave whoever passed through the gap first outnumbered by the pirate ships, at least by two-to-three, maybe even by four-to-one. Even with a Mantis commander, that was pretty bad odds.
    • The closest place they could set down their troops (a hundred or so disciplined Ashigaru they could anticipate cutting any pirate mob to pieces in a straight formal battle) would be at least two days' hard march away from the village. Assuming a half-dozen or so sentries scattered here and there on the cliffs, by the time an army on foot could make it to the village the pirates would be gone.
    • Blockading the bay whilst an army reduced the village would work in theory, but they couldn't invest the entrance too closely (again, without risking both bow-fire and reefs), but maintaining a patrol too far out would risk the pirates splitting up and vanishing into the maze of islands that they knew and the Imperial fleet didn't. More to the point, firstly they'd have to maintain the blockade throughout at least one night (where the pirates could easily slip between them in the dark) and secondly if all four pirate ships were there, then there would be one more pirate than blockader, meaning one ship wouldn't be pursued and would be certain to escape, even if Kinzoku was prepared to commit to a series of one-on-one fights.
  • As a result, (whilst the Matsu was a continuous, vocal and kind of annoying advocate of a head-on assault with the soldiers), they decided the best plan was a cutting-out expedition; sending in a small boat with the PCs, the Matsu (as the second-in-command they couldn't really exclude him from the single most dangerous and courageous bit of the action) and half a dozen picked Bushi.
    • The Samurai were dropped off half an hour from the village as it was getting dark, and made their way carefully to the cliff-face opening.
      • Kinzoku used Seafaring (Air) to find a stealthy route
      • Murasaki used Rushing Waves to help the boat be carried along on a current, avoiding the need for noisy rowing.
      • Nobunaga used Survival (Water) to survey the cliffs for a viable route to the top - not one an army could climb, but one he could climb personally to find and kill the sentries.
    • Nobunaga found his way up, and with a Fitness (Air) managed to sneak up it.
      • Aided by Yasoroku, his hawk, and some noxious poison he had bought and coated his arrows in, he took out the sentries quietly with a Martial Arts: Ranged (Air) check, then repeated the feat (thanks to a void point) shooting the sentry on the other side of the cliffs.
      • One of the picked Bushi was sent scrambling up the cliff after him with instructions to light the signal fire once the pirates' boats were fired.
      • The Tsuro and the imperial fleet (hiding half an hour away in the rocks where the PCs had set off from) would see it and make for the gap as fast as they could, but it would be the PCs and their aids who would need to damage the ships, foul rudders, slash sails and ropes, and generally delay them to avoid them making it to sea before the fleet arrived. With eleven samurai against the combined crews of three warships, that was achievable, but pretty much a suicide mission.  
    • Nobunaga made a fitness (fire) check to flashily dive back into the water from the cliff-top now the sentries were dead. His reward was being told to 'stop showing off' by Masakuri, who was busy concentrating.
      • This was our first use of importune invocations. Masakuri gave up a family necklace (her non-weapon item from question 14), throwing it into the sea as an offering, and used a void point to cast Summon Fog.
      • With quite a lot of opportunities and successes (one of those rolls that just keeps exploding) she was able to provide cover for the party all the way to the fishing villages' docks.
  • The boat pulled up between two of the three ships docked, and the matsu and the veteran bushi went onto one, whilst the PCs went onto the other.
    • The scene changed to a skirmish between two groups of three bandits and an experienced bandit, and the PCs.
    • The bandits somehow managed to draw initiative (despite using vigilance not focus) against Nobunaga and Masakuri (going first due to their lower honour). Kinzoku handily went first, though.
    • He charged out of the mist, brandishing his sword, using the Lightning Raid shuji - boosting his allies initiative by 10 (the Akodo Commander's ability in Fire Stance is just filthy), and getting an opportunity to strike the experienced bandit into the bargain, incapacitating him and inflicting a critical that thanks to the bandit's fitness check damaged his armour rather than wounding his arm.
    • The experienced bandit used calming breath to un-incapacitate himself, and guarded.
    • Not knowing what was going on, the bandits used guard to protect themselves, upping the TN to hit them by 2.
    • Nobunaga killed one with an arrow (in conjunction with his hawk's assistance).
    • Masakuri released her hold on the mist invocation, letting it disperse slowly, and used Bo of Water to create a weapon. Due to her Meishodo Talisman giving her a lower TN, she was able to trigger the opportunity to make it take the form of any weapon she liked, and immediately make a strike action with it.
      • Technically a repeater crossbow would have had the same effect in terms of bringing down a minion, but since I figured "why not, just don't count on being able to do this in the future" she formed the water into a Third Watchtower Command Ballista (hey, it's a weapon) and basically nailed one of the minions to the wheelhouse, three feet off the deck, with a two foot long shard of ice.
    • The PCs then essentially had a second turn immediately following the first thanks to Lightning Raid taking effect.
    • Kinzoku finished off the experienced bandit. A fire stance strike action with Way of the Lion does exactly what you'd imagine to an essentially unarmoured opponent.
    • Masakuri nailed a second bandit to the wall.
    • Nobunaga finished off another, and dropped enough strife on both remaining bandits that they fled in panic.
  • With the mist clearing and the sounds of fighting coming from both ships, the pirates started to rouse. It was clear the other ship had also been taken by the Matsu and the Bushi, and they fired it and - moments later - they saw the answering fire from the cliff-top. The Tsuro would be on its way, they just had to hold out.
    • "Famous Last Stand time".... 

 

Edited by Magnus Grendel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...