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Tashiro

Lethality?

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1 hour ago, Doji Meshou said:

FWIW: I think we-as-long-term-L5R-players like the old lethality more in concept than in practice. We really like other peoples' stories about ignominious death.

Considering my players still talk about (and entertained by) the deaths in our campaigns (including me), that might not be necessarily true.  ;)

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1 hour ago, Doji Meshou said:

But I think in general it is.

Maybe, I'd like hard numbers before I made such a claim though.  But my thing with L5R was I got to enjoy not being soft on the players while remaining within the scope of the mechanics.  There needs to be more games willing to do that without having to house rule to up the ante.

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Anything that makes combat in L5R quick, bloody and brutal meets with my approval. I just made a Lion Clan samurai for the playtest. The idea that the Lion "lives three feet from death" needs to be a real thing.

I'm not sure how I feel about "living three feet from a couple of painful wounds, and maybe another one that might leave a scar, and then another one that makes me feel woozy, and then I'm unconscious and unable to be damaged more because my poor character might die...boo."

Samurai are about meditating on their death at all times. Serving their Emperor. Dying for their Empire. Refer all questions to Question 20.

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I -love- the lethality of the system and if we play 5th we'll modify it to make it more lethal, if possible. 

Before starting a game of L5R I ask players "Are you okay if your character dies?" Mostly they say yes, and we try to find a way to send them out as awesomely as possible. One thing this edition does right is asking you to think about how your samurai will check out right off the bat. It's not about if, but how.

I ran a 2.5 year long Unicorn campaign that killed 4 out of 6 characters. One guy died pretty early and loved it so much that he played the rest of the game from the afterlife, briefly communicating with other players when they prayed to him at a shrine. Another played a shugenja and literally offered her body and life to the fire kami to importune a spell that turned the tide in the final battle. Another committed sepukku after the battle because the conclusion of his duty allowed him to remove the stains on his families honour. At the end of that game every player felt like they had contributed to (and in most cases died for) a major advancement for the cause of good in the Empire. When we closed the book on the final chapter, we had to take a month of so for everyone to really savour the story and mourn / celebrate the memory of their characters. It was amazing.

To be fair, I'll almost always throw in a bumper if someone is getting way out of line prematurely. 
e.g.
Rank 2 Character - "That scummy Matsu general can't talk to me like that, I call her out!"
Me - "I just want you to know out-of-game that pursuing this action will be the end of your characters life. Consider that strongly."
R2C - "Oh yeah wait I didn't ask who this woman works for or what rank she is."
Other players, after talking to Matsu-Sama - "HOO HOO HOO THIS IS AWESOME YOU ALMOST ATE IT SHE'S RANK 5"

I killed a character once like that. He sassed a rank 5 Hida guard and relentlessly provoked him inside of the palace. 
Hida Guard - "I have told you many times to back down. I have lost patience. Further inquiry will be met with force."
Overconfident Player - "I PROVOKE HIM!"
Me - "You need to know that your character is about to die."
Every Other Player - "Man seriously this guy is a palace guard outside of a Hida dojo. He's got to be at least double your rank. Don't, you'll die."
OP - "I said I provoke him! My defence stat is 8! My TN to be hit is 55!"
Me - "The RANK 5 Hida guard beats your initiative and rolls an unarmed grapple and gets 87. He uses the chance to do raw damage. He grabs you by the kimono and punches you solid in the face and does 46 damage."
OP - "Well my damage tracker only goes to 38! What does that mean?"
Everyone - "That you just got one-shot punched to death for screwing around when literally everyone told you not to."

That guy was maaaaaaaaad. I had a shugenja revive him so that he could keep playing, but his mempo was shattered and his face was all messed up and he talked funny for the rest of the game. He learned his lesson though.

I love the high lethality of L5R. It makes it for me. Players learn really fast that you'd better be willing to kill a man in a round or two if you engage in a fight, because otherwise you're pretty dead. It makes even minor fights and skirmishes a real threat and consideration.

I really love L5R.

Edited by GhostSanta

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On 10/9/2017 at 4:23 PM, Tashiro said:

The reason I said lacquered, is because if you're a general, you're probably wearing the 1e to 4e 'light armour' - not ashigaru (which is what I presumed cloth to be).  The entire idea is 'fire at enemy general in war' - standard Scorpion sneaky trick.  KO and Bleeding would be considered a failed assignment and if the person drops, you're going to have a **** of a time getting a second shot on them.  And of course, a second shot being required is a failed mission.  If the enemy drops, his yojimbo are going to be protecting him from that point on, meaning you're not going to get a second chance.

Also note that 'sniping' a guy across a battlefield, when you're not a commander, you're trying to slip through the fight without engaging anyone, and your intended target is not aware of you, is arguably not a conflict scene.

Under that kind of situation, rolls like the Martial Skill Group examples come into play:

Quote

 Stealthily dispatching a single Minion NPC guard outside of a conflict scene without alerting others: TN 3 Martial Arts [Melee] (Air) check

That's a TN3 check and 'snikt!' the armoured guard is insta-gibbed.

There is no reason not to apply the same approach here; the general is clearly not....protagonist-ing (?) to mangle a phrase, so whilst a higher TN might be relevant, there's no reason you couldn't justify a one-check-kill.

It's the same as slitting-throats-syndrome. Theoretically, it'll take at least a couple of blows with a knife to finish off an incapacitated opponent. In reality, you wouldn't make your player roll if there is no urgent time limit and no other opponents in a position to intervene.

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We are playing around with lethality, and we are kinda considering a massive cut on the Critical Damage table. It would have only four levels as per the following:

1-3: Severe Damage - you get something injured, impairing Action-specific TNs and such.

4-6: Crippling Injury - you get something crippled, temporarily losing that body part or suffering a heavy penalty. 

7-9: Mortal Blow - you get something severed from its place, losing that body part permanently, dropping down to dying (for torso crit damage), or dying outright (for losing your head). 

0: Instant Death - you get a dramatic death like suffering repeated mutilation, being cleaved in two, getting disemboweled, getting your heart pierced, or going out quietly/screaming. 

That's it guys, one hit from a two-handed katana with Void (for the head damage), and all you need is a crit to send your target's head flying through the room. I hope you like tense fights and living three feet from death ;)!

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On 10/8/2017 at 1:12 PM, Tashiro said:

I think it's the difference between Eastern and Western storytelling...

That's... ugh.  Not even close to relatively true.  1e's lethality was entirely down to John Wick being an abusive [EXPLICATIVE DELETED] storyteller and trying to dress his crap up as 'philosophical' and 'thematic'.

Now, that said, Wick writes some solid and interesting rules.  Give him props in that department.

 

On 10/8/2017 at 4:45 PM, WHW said:

Exactly.  While there are such stories, they aren't due to "Eastern" style storytelling or anything.  Plenty of western tales that are in the same style and vice-versa.

 

On 10/9/2017 at 3:43 PM, Tashiro said:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDkoj932YFo

The video here talks about longsword vs katana, and compares a number of different things.  The guy's voice bothers me a bit, but it's a good show of how the katana functions.

That video is terrible.  Just... seriously terrible.  So much weebo.

 

Contrastly:

 

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2 hours ago, evileeyore said:

That's... ugh.  Not even close to relatively true.  1e's lethality was entirely down to John Wick being an abusive [EXPLICATIVE DELETED] storyteller and trying to dress his crap up as 'philosophical' and 'thematic'.

Now, that said, Wick writes some solid and interesting rules.  Give him props in that department.

Abusive?  Mind you, I don't see eye-to-eye on everything he says, but I do agree with the idea of putting the players through the wringer from time to time.  I just believe they should also win if they've earned it.

That said, I love the mechanics he tends to write, and the settings he makes.  And the lethality of L5R is a huge draw for me for the game.

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9 minutes ago, Tashiro said:

Abusive?

If you invite your Players to a game of Champions that they specifically requested because the Hero system calls out not killing PCs ever, and then go on to a kill a PC in the first session to "show them the type of game you want to run"... yeah... I chose my words for specific reasons.

John Wick is a... mmmmm.  Polite words do not fit in my descriptions of him (I've met him at a con, he is just as .... in person as in his writings, podcasts, and videos).

 

But he writes some tight, fine rules.  I have most of the systems penned by him.  He's a excellent rules crafter.  Honestly, in his own class.  I can't actually think of anyone as skilled.

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16 minutes ago, Tashiro said:

I do agree with the idea of putting the players through the wringer from time to time.  I just believe they should also win if they've earned it.

Funnily enough, that's also what Wick says in 1e Silence Within Sound.

1 minute ago, evileeyore said:

If you invite your Players to a game of Champions that they specifically requested because the Hero system calls out not killing PCs ever, and then go on to a kill a PC in the first session to "show them the type of game you want to run

The first thing he does is tell you there's a lie to pick out. Also happens to be a game chosen right off the bat after Call Of Cthulhu where everyone was enjoying the "1d4 investigators per turn", and a challenge to John to kill off their PCs in a game where actually killing off PCs is difficult to impossible. I don't draw anything useful from what he did there, but there's presenting what he did, and misrepresenting what he did. JW chose the latter, ostensibly doing it all because he likes creating visceral moments where player ceases to play from an outside perspective and the game world ceases to be a game or another world. You carry his torch for other reasons. :P

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1 hour ago, BitRunr said:

Funnily enough, that's also what Wick says in 1e Silence Within Sound.

The first thing he does is tell you there's a lie to pick out. Also happens to be a game chosen right off the bat after Call Of Cthulhu where everyone was enjoying the "1d4 investigators per turn", and a challenge to John to kill off their PCs in a game where actually killing off PCs is difficult to impossible. I don't draw anything useful from what he did there, but there's presenting what he did, and misrepresenting what he did. JW chose the latter, ostensibly doing it all because he likes creating visceral moments where player ceases to play from an outside perspective and the game world ceases to be a game or another world. You carry his torch for other reasons. :P

Wait, Champions tells you not to kill the characters?  Another reason not to play Champions, I guess.

I don't go out of my way to kill characters, but I don't hold back either.  I just had a PC hit in the back with a poison dart, while he's all by himself trying to do the right thing (L5R).  I gave him 6 rounds of actions, not telling him if the poison is lethal or not.

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6 hours ago, evileeyore said:

That's... ugh.  Not even close to relatively true.  1e's lethality was entirely down to John Wick being an abusive [EXPLICATIVE DELETED] storyteller and trying to dress his crap up as 'philosophical' and 'thematic'.

Now, that said, Wick writes some solid and interesting rules.  Give him props in that department.

 

Exactly.  While there are such stories, they aren't due to "Eastern" style storytelling or anything.  Plenty of western tales that are in the same style and vice-versa.

 

That video is terrible.  Just... seriously terrible.  So much weebo.

 

Contrastly:

 

Leather armor was worn (and documented) in Europe, especially in Scotland. It was worn (and is documented) in China.  The commentator reveals his own ignorance is as big as he claims they are demonstrating. (and while they are pretty bad...) Typically, leather was used either in rigidized forms (cour boulli especially), or as a substrate for cheam ring-on-leather (usually worn over a tunic and sometimes a gambeson).

 

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On 10/28/2017 at 3:30 AM, AK_Aramis said:

The commentator reveals his own ignorance is as big as he claims they are demonstrating.

 

If he'd have said what you think he said... yes.  He didn't.  He criticized the "leather armor worn by the common footsoldier" nonsense.  That the show was using anything even close to armor was what he was skewering.

 

After all he made this video just a year before:

 

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We playtested on saturday and one of the players died in the first session because he got shot by an arrow with a 4k2 dice pool. Another nearly had his arm ripped off by a bokken in a pretend duel in the very first round, with a 4k3 dice pool. Guy would have died if it was a real fight with real weapons. Game seems plenty deadly enough as is. Competitively just as deadly as standard 4e in my experiences, perhaps more-so because the lack of wound penalties means if you don't put that guy down with your single hit, chances are he's going to put you down instead, where as in 4e you knew the TN penalty even if he survived the first attack was going to be so huge he had no chance.

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On this topic - just slightly tangential - I do have a question for people who have either seen actual play or are better at reading rules than I am. It almost seems that when it comes to taking a crit, you want to miss that centre bit of the chart altogether, because that's the worst part of it. If you have friends with Medicine who are quick on the draw and can pull a lucky roll you can get out of the Dying condition, but there's absolutely no way out of a career-ending injury. Am I just... Not seeing something? Or does it work out okay in practice?

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4 hours ago, Lindhrive said:

On this topic - just slightly tangential - I do have a question for people who have either seen actual play or are better at reading rules than I am. It almost seems that when it comes to taking a crit, you want to miss that centre bit of the chart altogether, because that's the worst part of it. If you have friends with Medicine who are quick on the draw and can pull a lucky roll you can get out of the Dying condition, but there's absolutely no way out of a career-ending injury. Am I just... Not seeing something? Or does it work out okay in practice?

The loophole is definitely there, but (1) it's hard to steer into taking critical strikes instead of Dying, (2) it's impossible to do without metagaming, and (3) the alternative is having people who survive Dying also take a critical strike injury... although that's not a terrible idea, come to think of it.

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2 hours ago, Doji Meshou said:

The loophole is definitely there, but (1) it's hard to steer into taking critical strikes instead of Dying, (2) it's impossible to do without metagaming, and (3) the alternative is having people who survive Dying also take a critical strike injury... although that's not a terrible idea, come to think of it.

Ah, fair enough! I think I may not have brought across what I was trying to say, though...

Given the profound effect that the nastier scars have on many characters and their concepts, are people finding that bits are flying off of bushi too readily, as the hits stack up? Death, at least, is clean and has closure - figuring out what to do when your character's got no hands left is a bit more awkward.

I mainly ask because when my local group played Warhammer Fantasy, we were reduced to about seventy-five per cent of our total limbs and sensory organs just a few sessions in - we didn't actually find it to be a great deal of fun, and that's a game where you're supposed to get maimed and die in an amusing way.

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30 minutes ago, Lindhrive said:

Ah, fair enough! I think I may not have brought across what I was trying to say, though...

Given the profound effect that the nastier scars have on many characters and their concepts, are people finding that bits are flying off of bushi too readily, as the hits stack up? Death, at least, is clean and has closure - figuring out what to do when your character's got no hands left is a bit more awkward.

I mainly ask because when my local group played Warhammer Fantasy, we were reduced to about seventy-five per cent of our total limbs and sensory organs just a few sessions in - we didn't actually find it to be a great deal of fun, and that's a game where you're supposed to get maimed and die in an amusing way.

In our very first session one of the PC's got a maimed arm and the other permanent brain damage. It was a few days later I realized all those critical hits that were temporary wounds should have been much worse, as I wasn't adding the two-handed weapon bonus properly. All in all, yea, limbs go flying off, so you'd almost rather get hit with Dying (3 turns) than "Where'd my leg go."

"I would like to keep this single blank die for my fitness test."
"But you can keep four.."
"I choose to just keep the one. By the way, can one of you guys come heal me?"

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Interesting enough, that can result in honour loss.  When you hit someone, it's supposed to be a clean, killing cut.  Causing someone to cry out in pain - or inflicting a crippling blow - is considered shameful (the former to the person hit and the person who inflicted the hit, the latter for the person who inflicted the hit).  As such, samurai are aiming for either a grazing blow (proving a point) or a clean, killing blow (to show skill and finesse).

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4 hours ago, Tashiro said:

Interesting enough, that can result in honour loss.  When you hit someone, it's supposed to be a clean, killing cut.  Causing someone to cry out in pain - or inflicting a crippling blow - is considered shameful (the former to the person hit and the person who inflicted the hit, the latter for the person who inflicted the hit).  As such, samurai are aiming for either a grazing blow (proving a point) or a clean, killing blow (to show skill and finesse).

That is a great point! It does play well into the Kakita technique, eh?

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11 hours ago, Tashiro said:

Interesting enough, that can result in honour loss.  When you hit someone, it's supposed to be a clean, killing cut.  Causing someone to cry out in pain - or inflicting a crippling blow - is considered shameful (the former to the person hit and the person who inflicted the hit, the latter for the person who inflicted the hit).  As such, samurai are aiming for either a grazing blow (proving a point) or a clean, killing blow (to show skill and finesse).

As opposed to our local Otsuchi-wielding Hida, who's generally killing opponents by mashing them to pulp under repeated blows to a chorus of "Seriously! Stop! He's already dead!

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