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Doji Meshou

Reports from online, persistent court game

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Hi folks,

I will be running an online, persistent court-based game using the open beta rules starting in early November. There will be 25-30 players and 2-3 GMs. I plan to post periodic reports on how we're getting on with the rules. 

To get you started, here are the house rules we're starting with. Always happy for input! :) 

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Removing Strife (p. 17): house rule: characters lose Strife at a rate of (Water ring) at 12:01 AM EST on Thursdays and Mondays.

Crab Clan Culture (p. 26): house rule: Crab have an additional point of specialized knowledge: “you have a general working knowledge of the life and needs of the burakumin.”

Crane Clan Culture (p. 27): house rule: “you know about the general state of political affairs between the Clans” applies to Imperial families, and “you know proper etiquette and protocol in the Imperial Capital” applies to Imperial family holdings.

Dragon Clan Culture (p. 27): house rule: Dragon have an additional point of specialized knowledge: “you have a general working knowledge of the life and needs of the bonge.”

Lion Clan Culture (p. 27): house rule: Lion have an additional point of specialized knowledge: “you have a general working knowledge of all major military conflicts currently occurring in Rokugan, and of all major and regional military conflicts currently occurring that involve the Lion.”

Phoenix Clan Culture (p. 27): house rule: Phoenix have an additional point of specialized knowledge: “as a Phoenix ambassador to a court outside Phoenix lands, you know some of the most significant kami who reside in those lands by name and function, enabling you to meet and engage them more quickly than shugenja from other Clans.”

Scorpion Clan Culture (p. 29): house rule: “you know the state of court matters in the Imperial Capital” applies to Imperial holdings.

Schools (p. 33-38): house rule: as many Schools are missing from the beta, characters created prior to the release of the full version of L5R 5E may take the following Schools using the rules for the appropriate ‘substitute School.’ On the release of the full version of L5R 5E, characters that use a ‘substitute School’ will be required to adopt the final published version of their School, assuming that School exists. The missing Schools and their ‘substitute Schools’ are as follows:

Clan

Missing School

‘Substitute School’

Crab

Hiruma Bushi

Akodo Commander

Crab

Yasuki Courtier

Bayushi Manipulator

Crane

Asahina Shugenja

Iuchi Meishodo Master

Crane

Daidoji Yojimbo

Shiba Guardian

Dragon

Mirumoto Bushi

Kakita Duelist

Dragon

Agasha Shugenja

Isawa Elementalist

Lion

Kitsu Shugenja

Iuchi Meishodo Master

Lion

Matsu Bushi

Hida Defender

Phoenix

Asako Loremaster

Kitsuki Investigator

Phoenix

Asako Henshin

NOT AVAILABLE

Scorpion

Bayushi Bushi

Kakita Duelist

Scorpion

Yogo Shugenja

Isawa Elementalist

Unicorn

Ide Emissary

Doji Diplomat

Unicorn

Moto Bushi

Akodo Commander


Kakita Duelist School [Bushi] (p. 34): the Skill Increases list now includes the Iaijutsu Subskill.

What is your character’s personal name? (p. 42): clarification: culturally, L5R is inspired most heavily by feudal Japan and by Warring States and Tang Dynasty China. Names that would have been appropriate to those cultures are appropriate for all samurai in Rokugan. Monks, heimin, hinin, and samurai using noms de guerre may use Anglicized descriptive names in much the same way Americans use nicknames among their friends – for example, a courtier called Spring Rain, a monk called Ten Thousand Ways, or a poet called Banished Immortal are all appropriate. These names are considered uncouth when used in court, with strangers, or with a superior. Characters with the Gaijin Name disadvantage may take names from an appropriate foreign culture – for example, a Unicorn bushi called Moto Jahangir, or a Crane merchant called Daidoji Itzhak.

Real-World Experience versus School Secrets (p. 44): clarification: characters may advance through School ranks without outside tutoring (e.g. a dojo or sensei).

When to Apply Advantages and Disadvantages to Checks (p. 62): clarification: players are obligated to report appropriate Advantages or Disadvantages when checks are required.

Optional Rules: Subskills (p. 79): houserule: there are no Subskills used in this game except for Iaijutsu (below).

Iaijutsu (p.99): houserule: the Iaijutsu Subskill exists. During any duel in which a character is fighting with a katana, that character may substitute the Iaijutsu Subskill for the Martial Arts [Melee] Skill. During any duel in which one character is using the Iaijutsu Subskill and the other character is using the Martial Arts [Melee] Skill, the character using the Iaijutsu Subskill adds two rolled dice to all Iaijutsu checks.

“Low” Skills (p. 103): houserule: using Seafaring to command a vessel (i.e. without doing any manual labor) is not considered a Low Skill.

Skulduggery (p. 105): houserule: stealth/sneaking checks are made with Skulduggery, not Fitness. The honor rules for stealth (as laid out on p. 98, “Possible Fitness Subskills”) still apply.

Honest Assessment (p. 135): houserule: Honest Assessment can only force targets to ignore a disadvantage that could justifiably be suppressed by the use of “direct honesty” via social influence. This rule is intentionally elastic (to enable creative situational uses), but the GM has final say in whether Honest Assessment may be applied in a given situation.

Ebb and Flow (p. 138): houserule: Ebb and Flow abides by the same restrictions as Honest Assessment (above).

Duels (p. 160): houserules:

  • Method: all honorable duels must be conducted with iaijutsu except under the following circumstances:
    • When both participants are Courtiers, neither participant requires iaijutsu, and both participants agree on an alternate Courtier-appropriate method;
    • When both participants are Shugenja, neither participant requires iaijutsu, and both participants agree on an alternate Shugenja-appropriate method;
    • When both participants are Bushi, neither participant requires iaijutsu, and both participants agree on an alternate Bushi-appropriate method.
       
  • Champions: Courtiers and Shugenja who do not publicly wear a full daisho (or carry another ‘serious’ weapon – e.g. this excludes tanto and wakizashi but includes tetsubo and nodachi) may request a champion (a Bushi) to duel in their place. Nominating a champion from outside the character’s Clan is a breach of Honor (lose 1x Honor rank); for characters with yojimbo, nominating a champion who is not the character’s yojimbo is a breach of Honor (lose 1x Honor rank). Refusing an appropriate nomination is either a breach of Honor or Glory (lose 1x Honor or Glory rank) depending on the situation.
     
  • Refusing to Duel: characters may refuse duel challenges with only a minor loss of Honor or Glory (1 point as appropriate) from challengers 2 Status ranks below them, and may refuse without any loss of Honor or Glory from challengers 3 Status ranks or more below them.

Duels with Other Weapons (p. 163): houserule: “As a general rule, to use any weapon or means of attack other than the agreed-upon ones, a character must forfeit honor equal to 2x their honor rank and, if the duel is public, glory equal to their 2x glory rank.

Shugenja in Duels (p. 163): houserule: Asahina Shugenja are pacifists and may refuse to participate in any violent duel from any challenger (Status 6 or lower) without penalty if the participants cannot agree on a non-violent duel or the Asahina Shugenja cannot find a willing champion. Asahina Shugenja may refuse any duel to the death from any challenger (Status 6 or lower) without penalty regardless of the duel method or their capacity to find a willing champion.

Tracking Range Bands (p. 166): houserule: range bands will be used to the extent a given GM for a given scene deems appropriate. Range bands may be simplified or ignored, for example, in melee skirmishes, or in skirmishes where mobility is very low.

Mass Battles (p. 172): clarification: mass battles are not projected to be used in this game.

Awarding Experience (p. 180): houserules:

  • Banked Experience: each in-character (IC) post awards the character 0.1 Banked Experience Point (BXP). BXP may not be spent until converted into regular XP.
  • Session Experience: at the end of each GM-adjudicated session, they will receive roughly 0.25 XP per hour played. Each XP awarded in this manner also converts 1 BXP into 1 XP.
  • Weekly Experience: all characters receive 3 XP at 12:01 AM EST on Mondays. Each XP awarded in this manner also converts 1 BXP into 1 XP.

Ninjo, Giri, and Discord (p. 180): clarification: this game will not use the rules for Discord.

Compromise and Favors (p. 181): clarification: this game will use the rules for Favors. 

 

Edited by Doji Meshou

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Notes:

- The game's first arc involves a Unicorn-sponsored backing of an Imperial civil service program; they don't get an additional culture point because their existing culture points already cover increased knowledge of the Imperial civil service program's inspiration (Medinaat al-Salaam);

- Several culture points mention Imperial family holdings; that's because the game is set at an Otomo family holding;

- The Iaijutsu rules are ultimately about establishing Iaijutsu's primacy role in solving disputes and legal issues in Rokugan, and about distinguishing between duels (formalized, acceptable in polite society) and combat (not those things). It restores the role of duelists as de facto lawyers.

Edited by Doji Meshou

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We've created a house rule for yojimbo. Open to thoughts!

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Yojimbo (general): house rule: yojimbo are bushi who serve as formal bodyguards and champions for courtiers and shugenja. A bushi may agree to become, or may be assigned to serve as, a courtier/shugenja’s yojimbo. The relationship between a yojimbo and their protectee is public. Yojimbo and protectees operate under the following additional rules:

- Yojimbo roll one extra die when using the Guard action to target their protectee;

- Yojimbo are entitled to accompany their protectees anywhere at protectee’s discretion unless forbidden by someone of much higher Status (2+ Status ranks above the protectee);

- Protectees are penalized if they name someone other than their yojimbo as their champion in a duel (see the house rules for “Duels”);

- If a protectee is ever Incapacitated as a result of violence (except during an honorable duel), their yojimbo loses Glory equal to (yojimbo’s Glory rank x 2);

- The yojimbo-protectee relationship is formally one between a servant and master; the protectee is therefore one of the yojimbo's lords (i.e. in the way a soldier would treat their commander as their lord); the yojimbo and protectee still remain answerable to their other, likely higher-Status lords (e.g. their family daimyo, Clan Champion, etc.)

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Using the Iaijutsu Subskill seems like a strange decision. Is the point to make dueling something only specialists should be good at? Seems strange that being a skilled warrior wouldn't also make you skilled at being able to defend your own honor. Why not just use the Martial Arts [Melee] Skill so that being able to participate in duels is inclusive and not an XP tax?

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8 minutes ago, CrazyRadio said:

Using the Iaijutsu Subskill seems like a strange decision. Is the point to make dueling something only specialists should be good at? Seems strange that being a skilled warrior wouldn't also make you skilled at being able to defend your own honor. Why not just use the Martial Arts [Melee] Skill so that being able to participate in duels is inclusive and not an XP tax?

Good question! 

Fundamentally, I see Iaijutsu as a social practice, not a combat practice. The iaijutsu duelist's primary role in Rokugan is resolving disputes; they are, effectively, lawyers. 

Our Iaijutsu house rules fundamentally ensure that (1) all bushi who have Martial Arts [Melee] can function as duelists but that (2) bushi who specialize as duelists have a significant-but-not-insurmountable advantage in duels and a significant-but-not-insurmountable XP disadvantage in combat.

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