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Tashiro

Lethality?

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I'm looking over the game's rules on critical strikes, and ... is there any way for a character to get to 16+ severity?  Is there any way for a Rank 1 character to get to that point?  The reason I'm asking, is because I was a huge fan of 1e and 2e's high levels of lethality.  The idea of a character going from 'Totally Healthy!' to 'Blarg!  I'm Dead!' in a single shot.  I liked the idea of an ashigaru with a spear being able to (potentially) take out some Rank 4 legend with a single blow - or an archer picking off the commander of an army with a lucky (or skilled) shot.

I'm ... not seeing that here.  Am I missing something?

As it stands, it looks like I may be reducing the Critical Success scale down to 0 to 8+, instead of 0 to 16+.

Edited by Tashiro

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Copy Pasted from another thread:

It's a bit hard to follow, but here is an example.

Jim is attacked with a Katana and suffers 4 damage. He already had 8 wounds, and a resilience of 10, so he is currently at 12 of 10 resilience. A Critical Hit is now triggered!

First, Jim must roll a TN 1 Fitness check. When he rolls it, he gets 2 successes, reducing the Critical Strikes Deadliness by 2. A Katana has a Deadliness of 5, so the total Severity is 3.

Jim then checks the chart on page 169 and looks for the row that details what happens at severity 3.

"The character suffers one of the following conditions based on the ring they used for this check: Immobilized (Earth), Dazed (Water), Prone (Air), Disoriented (Fire),Bleeding (Void)"

He used the Earth Ring for his Fitness check, so he has the Immobilized condition.

Additionally, since his Wounds are now GREATER than his resilience, he suffers the Incapacitated Condition.

The next round, Jim is hit again so his wound total is 16 of 10.

Again he suffers a Critical Strike, so he must first roll the TN 1 Fitness check.

He does not get any successes, so the Severity of the strike is the weapons Deadliness rating (again on a Katana this is 5.)

HOWEVER, since he is Incapacitated, he adds another +5 to the Severity. When he checks the table on page 169 he looks at the Severity 10 result, which is:

"The character is assigned one of the following scar disadvantages of their choice for the ring they used for this check: Blindness (Water), Cognitive Lapses (Void), Damaged Heart (Earth), Damaged Organ (Earth), Deafness (Air), Lost Hand (Fire), Lost Arm (Fire), Lost Leg (Water), Muteness (Air). Additionally, the character suffers the Bleeding and Unconscious conditions."

So at the end of the second round of Combat, Jim has the following:

16 wounds out of 10 Resilience
-Immobilized Condition

-Incapacitated Condition

-Damaged Heart Disadvantage

-Bleeding Condition

-Unconscious Condition

It is important to note that if a character ever has more wounds than double their resilience, they automatically suffer the Unconscious condition and no further wounds are recorded.  An Unconscious character adds +8 to the severity of a Critical Hit.

(Rules Lawyer note: Nothing says that the +5 from Incapacitated and the +8 from Unconscious do not stack, so in current form rules as written an Incapacitated and Unconscious character technically takes +13 to the severity of a critical, but that seems to be an error and they should not stack. Designers should make a note saying Incapacitated is REMOVED when a character is Unconscious.)

 

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Enraged increases severity by incoming and outgoing critical strikes by 2, which is 4 if both target and attacker are Enraged.

Any Strike can become a critical strike in a skirmish for 2 opportunity.

Katana and Wakazashi have +2 deadliness when used 2 handed.

A 10-11 severity maiming blow inflicts bleeding and unconcious. Left untended this is effectively dead.

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Okay, that explains how that works at least.

It still sounds like you would need two or three hits to get the critical strikes to the point where you could (in theory) kill someone.  That's problematic.

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Also just being in Earth stance stop the enemy from blowing opportunity dices to create a critical strike. So a bushi fighting on Earth Stance will only suffer criticals due to autocrit techniques or if he is incapacitated (In other words, he will only suffer criticals if he was already beaten).

Yeah, lethality is not a thing.

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Let's see if I have this right.  There's a general in an army, commanding his forces against his enemy.  I'm playing a Scorpion and have been tasked with killing off the general at range, so that his opponents can overrun him.  He has 10 Resilience (He has 3 Earth, 2 Water, can take 10 Wounds, 20 before he's unconscious), and is wearing Lacquered Armour (Resistance 4), which makes sense for an enemy general.

My character takes out his bow.  (Damage 5, Lethality 3.)  I take the shot.  This is a Skirmish action, so I'm going to go with Fire Stance.  This is an Water + Martial (Ranged) attack.  Water 2, Martial (Ranged 2).  So rolling four dice.  The character has Keen Sight, so can re-roll two dice.  The character rolls Explosive Success + Strife, and Opportunity on Ring Dice.  On Skill Dice, Success + Strife, and Opportunity.  The character has Water 2, so can keep two dice.  That's going to be the Explosive Success / Strife and an Opportunity.  He rolls again, gets another Explosive Success / Strife.  Rolls again, and gets an Opportunity.  This ends with 2 successes, 2 strife, and 2 opportunity.

According to Skirmish, a Strike requires 2 successes.  Got it.  Fire Stance gives 2 more successes for the 2 strife.  The arrow inflicts 7 Damage.  The armour removes 4 of that, leaving me doing 3 damage.  It would take four such hits to inflict a critical strike from damage alone.  I've got two Opportunities however, which can be used for a Critical Strike.  The Yumi's lethality inflicts the dazed condition, presuming the opponent isn't in Earth Stance.  The opponent, however, gets to make an Earth (Fitness) roll to reduce the critical strike, and is quite possibly going to reduce this to something less.

So what this tells me is, unless I somehow get a god roll of multiple exploding successes (along with gathering a metric boatload of strife to go with it)... it isn't happening.  Now, in theory, it should be a lot easier once I'm into Rank 3 or Rank 4, but... that's kind of contrary to the feel of the game.  That any encounter can easily result in death in an instant - from an enemy samurai, from a shadowlands goblin, or from a desperate peasant with a spear.

 

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They should make extra successes in the attack increase the severity of the weapon. Or something to go along, even a kakita bushi rank 3 may not end the fight with a lucky crit due to a fitness roll. (And then he can be countered by earth stance).

The way the rules stand as of right now, an Hida Bushi is strangely not encouraged to be on earth stance, since his Rank 1 is decreasing severity, never using your rank 1 (unless you were already beaten) seems counter-productive.

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That might be something - extra opportunities give bonus to lethality.  That doesn't help though when the chart for lethality goes up to 16+, and Earth Stance pretty much shuts that down.  Yeah, I'm thinking having the critical success chart only go from 0 to 8, rather than 0 to 16 - make weapons actually dangerous at the beginning of a fight.

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One thing of note:

In addition to determining which ring a character uses for the action they perform during Step 3: Perform Action and for any other checks they make while in that stance, each stance confers a passive benefit during a conflict, as described in Table 6–1: Stances, right.

So if you take the fire stance and shoot a bow, it should be using the fire ring.

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Huh, interesting, because from what I saw if you were going for a 'ranged precise attack', it looks like it's supposed to be Water.  Though the difference between Fire and Water might be a single kept die, I don't think it will make much different when it comes to critical strikes.

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10 hours ago, tenchi2a said:

I believe critical strikes stack, and after you get past their resilience all hits are critical strikes.

Is that listed anywhere?  I couldn't find that.

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Where is all this desire for variance coming from? Why do people want combat to be so lethal early on? The more hits it takes to bring down a high-level character, the less relevant flukes will be.

People say they want combat to be potentially lethal at all times no matter the disparity in skill between the combatants. But do people really want that? Would you really want to read/watch a story where Miyamoto Musashi dies in the second act when a level-one bandit rolls a lucky streak on his attack roll?

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Just now, Rawls said:

Where is all this desire for variance coming from? Why do people want combat to be so lethal early on? The more hits it takes to bring down a high-level character, the less relevant flukes will be.

People say they want combat to be potentially lethal at all times no matter the disparity in skill between the combatants. But do people really want that? Would you really want to read/watch a story where Miyamoto Musashi dies in the second act when a level-one bandit rolls a lucky streak on his attack roll?

 

I actually agree with you, but then, one of my big issues with previous versions of the game was finding it overly lethal.  For a lot of players, that was actually a major draw, so yes, I suspect that they really do want what you describe

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L5R was based off of Jidai-Geki and Chambara style of stories and films where one or two strokes was usually enough to do an enemy in. It's kinda followed the game through all editions. Now granted 4th allowed you to adjust that a bit, but having the brutality of the genre available gets the point across

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47 minutes ago, Rawls said:

Where is all this desire for variance coming from? Why do people want combat to be so lethal early on? The more hits it takes to bring down a high-level character, the less relevant flukes will be.

People say they want combat to be potentially lethal at all times no matter the disparity in skill between the combatants. But do people really want that? Would you really want to read/watch a story where Miyamoto Musashi dies in the second act when a level-one bandit rolls a lucky streak on his attack roll?

This desire is from when I played 1st and 2nd edition.  What made L5R stand apart from **** near every other RPG was that the PCs were not invincible, regardless of rank.  At 1st Rank, you could be wiped out in an instant.  At 5th Rank, you could be wiped out in an instant.  It was that threat - the knowledge that every battle, regardless of how big or small, had the potential to end you instantly, which added tension to the game, and set it apart from pretty much every other RPG out there.

That made L5R particularly unique.

And it would be a lot easier of RAW kept that, with optional rules to help protect people if the GM wanted to make it less lethal.

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For the feeling of threading on the tiger's tail. Lethality came from short amount of wound point, deadliness of weapons and increasing wound penalties.

I hope Final product will have optional lethality choice. Like 4th ed has less lethality options.

I like being able to choose, adapt to the need of my campaign. Made some really close to Shonen with extended wound points rule and "everybody gets one" but also deadly survival ones with escaping a Shuten Doji invaded castle, players losing it and cutting each others amidst the growing madness. Both were memorable.

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Honestly, 4th ed without optional rules, was lethal but never was the way people say it is. Earth 2 was bad, but you could take 2 hits. Earth 3 would go a long to way to you being able to be hit and still be a good fighter (you had penalties when you were wounded). And Myamoto Musashi against a level 1 bandit would'nt be hit. Unless the bandit exploded a couple of 10's in his attack and then exploded more than a couple on his damage roll. completely unlikely.

I would be happy if the lethality was around the 4th ed level. Combat was quick and dangerous but not so much.

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I got an e-mail discussing this, and they talked about how in Alpha they tested lethality to find a 'sweet spot' they were comfortable with.  They provided a suggestion, and I asked if they could perhaps address this in a sidebar with the finished product - tossing out a suggestion on how to make the game more lethal.  If they do that, I'd be happy - a 'middle ground' which offers how to raise or lower the lethality of the game is a nice touch.

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17 hours ago, Doji Namika said:

In a skirmish you can always call out an opponent and go for a clash. A finishing blow doubles your weapons lethality+extra successes.

This. A double-handed Katana strike is lethality 14+bonus success, which against even an armoured opponent is going to result in impressive maiming and even a few bonus successes can push it into 'bugger, where did my head go?' territory - but, you need to create the opportunity to deliver it.

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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17 hours ago, Tashiro said:

Let's see if I have this right.  There's a general in an army, commanding his forces against his enemy.  I'm playing a Scorpion and have been tasked with killing off the general at range, so that his opponents can overrun him.  He has 10 Resilience (He has 3 Earth, 2 Water, can take 10 Wounds, 20 before he's unconscious), and is wearing Lacquered Armour (Resistance 4), which makes sense for an enemy general.

My character takes out his bow.  (Damage 5, Lethality 3.)  I take the shot.  This is a Skirmish action, so I'm going to go with Fire Stance.  This is an Water + Martial (Ranged) attack.  Water 2, Martial (Ranged 2).  So rolling four dice.  The character has Keen Sight, so can re-roll two dice.  The character rolls Explosive Success + Strife, and Opportunity on Ring Dice.  On Skill Dice, Success + Strife, and Opportunity.  The character has Water 2, so can keep two dice.  That's going to be the Explosive Success / Strife and an Opportunity.  He rolls again, gets another Explosive Success / Strife.  Rolls again, and gets an Opportunity.  This ends with 2 successes, 2 strife, and 2 opportunity.

According to Skirmish, a Strike requires 2 successes.  Got it.  Fire Stance gives 2 more successes for the 2 strife.  The arrow inflicts 7 Damage.  The armour removes 4 of that, leaving me doing 3 damage.  It would take four such hits to inflict a critical strike from damage alone.  I've got two Opportunities however, which can be used for a Critical Strike.  The Yumi's lethality inflicts the dazed condition, presuming the opponent isn't in Earth Stance.  The opponent, however, gets to make an Earth (Fitness) roll to reduce the critical strike, and is quite possibly going to reduce this to something less.

So what this tells me is, unless I somehow get a god roll of multiple exploding successes (along with gathering a metric boatload of strife to go with it)... it isn't happening.  Now, in theory, it should be a lot easier once I'm into Rank 3 or Rank 4, but... that's kind of contrary to the feel of the game.  That any encounter can easily result in death in an instant - from an enemy samurai, from a shadowlands goblin, or from a desperate peasant with a spear.

 

I didn't notice in my quick read through, but were there rules for adjusting difficulties/ lethality/ damage against targets who are not aware of you? That would be the way assassinations would be occurring, I think. And ideally the scorpion is making sure that famed general never makes it to the battlefield in the first place, right ^_^

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18 minutes ago, mortthepirate said:

I didn't notice in my quick read through, but were there rules for adjusting difficulties/ lethality/ damage against targets who are not aware of you? That would be the way assassinations would be occurring, I think. And ideally the scorpion is making sure that famed general never makes it to the battlefield in the first place, right ^_^

Veiled Menace Style (rank 2 kata) allows crits on unaware targets with +1 severity per opportunity spent but only for melee and unarmed. 

 

For other (relatively simple) ways of increasing lethality that I found while searching.

Striking as fire can get you a point or two of severity even for starter characters.

Noxious poison also drastically increases  a weapons deadliness (for one strike) 

The Kataki Duelist can increase or decrease severity of a crit.

 

There's some other stuff but it requires school rank 3 or higher.

 

Of course the easiest way to die by far is a finishing blow. This is by design; FFG decided that one-on-one duels and clashes were the best way for samurai to die in the game (see the last paragraph in the death section on page 169) so anyone who wants a more lethal campaign should definitely look to house-rule towards it.

 

 

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50 minutes ago, mortthepirate said:

I didn't notice in my quick read through, but were there rules for adjusting difficulties/ lethality/ damage against targets who are not aware of you? That would be the way assassinations would be occurring, I think. And ideally the scorpion is making sure that famed general never makes it to the battlefield in the first place, right ^_^

Quote

 

The Path of Shadows (School Ability): Striking a foe from behind or while they are asleep is extremely advantageous, and thus extremely dishonorable. Fortunately for the ninja of the Shosuro Infiltrator School, such considerations are hardly worthy of notice.


When performing an Attack action against a target who is unaware of your presence or is suffering the Incapacitated or Unconscious condition, treat the base damage and deadliness of your weapon as being increased by an amount equal to your school rank.

 

A Scorpion Clan School talent, inevitably!

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