Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
shizumaru

Game of 20 Questions - 7th Question

Recommended Posts

@TheVeteranSergeant You write this as if it was a bad thing.

I rather like a guided chargen. Sure it's not "Here's a bunch of point, put them anywhere" like it used to be, but it does give you a sense of who your dude is and how he fits in rokugani culture.

I started DMing L5R with 4th ed and I swear the fact that the 20 questions game was divorced from mechanics made it so that my players would have just juggled around with trait and skill ranks if I hadn't pestered them about the setting, proper flaws, actual NPCs they knew, liked or disliked, how they felt about society and so on. 5th ed chargen does take away a lot of liberty, granted. But what it gives back is a method to ease everyone new into a rather hard game to learn.

One of the biggest problem in L5R has always been the entry cost. You need to learn a lot and adapt to a lot in order to just play a game. I know a lot of people who hate the game just because they played it in a one-shot and couldn't make sense of any of it while the one dude at the table who knows how Bushido and Honor works did everything. 5th ed shows you the game, holds your hand, shows you what's going to matter in the fiction. And once you're done with the 20 questions, you're set.

It has its flaws. But you're talking like you need to fine-tune everything on your character sheet. And this edition just isn't about that. This edition is about flawed samurai held up to perfect standards and struggling between personal longings and duty. And in that context, fine-tuning of scores on your sheet (which are bound to change fast with XP anyway) matters far less than exactly how your character is  functional or dysfunctional in that society.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, shizumaru said:

One of the biggest problem in L5R has always been the entry cost. You need to learn a lot and adapt to a lot in order to just play a game. I know a lot of people who hate the game just because they played it in a one-shot and couldn't make sense of any of it while the one dude at the table who knows how Bushido and Honor works did everything.

1

The worst I've seen and heard about L5R rpg community was probably a tendency of GMs trying to play "seppuku gotcha" with new players who had very little information about etiquette and other honor stuff, waiting for them to trip up on something un-obvious and then playing a "haha, this is a very dangerous NOT DND game, social rules are important, SHAME ON YOU, SEPPUKU TOMMOROW", like some kind of twisted hazing ritual.

Maybe it's a local thing. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've heard that too, several times, and it sucks.

I feel 5th ed is kinder on everyone with what it brings to the table, how it teaches the game, how it handles Honor and overall how it greets newcomers. That's a very important part of any game that gets left out a lot in this forum on grounds of most people here not being newcomers at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, shizumaru said:

@TheVeteranSergeant You write this as if it was a bad thing.

I rather like a guided chargen. Sure it's not "Here's a bunch of point, put them anywhere" like it used to be, but it does give you a sense of who your dude is and how he fits in rokugani culture.

It is a bad thing.  Just play a pre-generated character if you don't need a character generation system or you don't understand the game or the system. 4th Edition had that great free adventure Legacy of Disaster which had pre-gen bushi and shugenja to use. If you're the guy who just plays the sample archetypes in the book, that's cool, and that's basically what the character "generation" system is right now. But other people might want to play somebody other than Hida Templata.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sure I can whip out two Hida Bushi who come from the Hida family and despite having close starting Rings and a few starting skill ranks in common are not similar and would feel pretty different to roleplay, meet in court or fight alongside on the battlefield.

You are getting your hand held through the process and it does lead to some similarities at chargen, but that's it, you're still free to write a ton of different characters. The rules allow that. Except if you think character generation is mostly deciding Ring distribution.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I assume that "Setting up your campaign" section of GM rules (remember, GM section we got is trimmed down to bare basics, its reminded in a sidebar) will provide you with customization XP for different types of starting points of a campaign. 

I would be really surprised ifyou were expected to play the 0 XP characters out of chargen, especially if Ronins Path says it's a "great point for starting a new campaign"and then dumps 24xp on you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And yet I literally cannot replicate something similar to an NPC I used in my last game who was built using the chargen process, for no other reason than the game holds both of my hands through the whole process and won't let go. I can write a ton of different characters, as long as a write the specific ones the designers allow me to.  The rules don't allow anything else. Except if you think character generation is mostly deciding back stories based on Disadvantage selection. Full Stop. You're just wrong.  There are approximately 15 functional variations of the Hida Bushi, lol.  You might dream up a thousand back stories for them, choose ninjo and giri, give one a mangled arm and another a passion for Playfulness (even though he won't have either of the listed skills), but they'll all have the same stats.  What happens when you want to play the one who loves history? Or gambling. Or philosophy. Or games. Or people-watching. Etc.  If I want my Doji Courtier to be good at riding horses, she loses 10 Honor, lol.  Though she's still going to kinda suck at it since Survival ties the riding and calming approaches to Traits she's not given bonuses for.  But please, go ahead and tell us about how character generation is "fine." 

And speculating what the game "expects" you to play is kinda meaningless if they gave us a character generation system and said "Do this." 

Share this post


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

But please, go ahead and tell us about how character generation is "fine." 

Oh thanks for offering!

[rambles on for days and days citing different sources like games powered by the Apocalypse or Lady Blackbird to illustrate how being given statblocks doesn't kill creativity and it's absolutely fine, and way more friendly to new players, and people who preferred the old ways can go back to them and that's 100% fine too]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In all seriousness, though, this character generation isn't as free as you know and love L5R to be. And yes that means you can't literally decide your dude's life will be all about shougi and fishing for example at chargen if it doesn't fit what the system has in mind for your Clan and family and school. That is very true. There is little room for "I already know my concept and I am going to generate this specific character at 0xp" in this system, and this can be a weakness if that is what you are looking for in this game. Granted.

But on the other hand, it's also deeply thematic. You can literally let the questions guide you and you end up with a playable, interesting, both flawed and cool character, with some NPCs thrown in, a stance on Bushido and your Clan and your training. You can not accidentally build a murderhobo if you follow the 20 questions game and that's very very good in my opinion. And it can help new players get into the game a lot.

One way to look at this is to accept that at chargen you won't have done much with your life. You're not an expert shougi player and great fisherman. You just wish you could prove to the world your tactical brilliance through shougi and want to honor a fisherman ancestor by fishing more, and that's where your first few XP are going to go, and that's fine as well.

You're mad because you can't build the exact dude you thought of out of the box, but the rules as written allow for that dude to happen after litterally two game sessions, no matter how short are the sessions you play, and include those cool concepts you wanted at chargen into your progression, and maybe even in your curriculum.

What freedom you lose during chargen you more than make up for in swift evolution. And the lost freedom will be a massive boon to newbies who want to discover L5R with this edition. I believe it's a fair trade, but I can understand how that's a dealbreaker for you.

Share this post


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

 If I want my Doji Courtier to be good at riding horses, she loses 10 Honor, lol.  Though she's still going to kinda suck at it since Survival ties the riding and calming approaches to Traits she's not given bonuses for.  But please, go ahead and tell us about how character generation is "fine." 

Well, since your character is at a School he/she's not supposed to learn Riding,  only way to do that would be to sneak away and learn it. A 10 Honor loss looks fine for me.
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The character creation is tidious and boring.

 

It also doen't make a lick of sense in some cases:

What is your character’s greatest accomplishment so far? I was born with a Large Stature (Earth).

Who has your character learned the most from during their life? My sensei he told me how to have a Small Stature (Air).

Yes, you can have both...


 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, AlexFrost said:

Well, since your character is at a School he/she's not supposed to learn Riding,  only way to do that would be to sneak away and learn it. A 10 Honor loss looks fine for me.
 

This guy.  Samurai classes in the source material and the historical analog learned a variety of skills and in places where horses were available riding was normal as a hobby even if they weren't training to be cavalry. Maybe my Doji courtier was raised in a castle on the border with the Lion Clan and her father owned a large stable.  Even if we don't like my Doji Courtier example and you want to skip around making up more dumb reasons why it makes sense, where do the Akodo family's Lion Wardens learn to ride? Why would it be a loss of 10 honor to have learned how to ride horses? "Only way to do that would be to sneak away." Good lord. :rolleyes:   Do you make it a habit to just offer up opinions on everything you don't have any relevant insight or education in?  You sound like me if I was silly enough to offer structural engineering advice to a guy constructing an overpass because I made a sweet toothpick bridge in 6th grade.

One way to look at this is to accept that at chargen you won't have done much with your life. You're not an expert shougi player and great fisherman

I can't even be an amateur one, lol.   I'm not asking to be able to create a guy at chargen who challenges the Rank 5 Master in the provincial capital.  Maybe he's just the guy who grew up playing it with his grandfather and so he's "pretty good" and then I can surprise and impress some diplomat or noble by putting up a good contest even though I eventually lose.  Your solution is "Screw yo' grandpa. Play shougi with somebody next week."  So much for you being good at writing character backgrounds, lol.  "You can do it your own way. If it's done just how I say."

I know some of you guys with storygamer backgrounds aren't entirely sure how to play games with actual mechanics, but indulge the experience some of us veterans on this. If they want to make some FATE-equivalent Legend of the Five Storygame Funtimes, that's cool. I won't buy it, but maybe hook a brother up and reprint 4th Edition so my newer players can have a hard copy of it without paying through the nose on Ebay.  But don't put complicated dice, trait and skill mechanics and an extended character generation process into a game if there's no way for players to truly interact with those mechanics unless they play one specific kind of templated character. 

Share this post


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

What freedom you lose during chargen you more than make up for in swift evolution. And the lost freedom will be a massive boon to newbies who want to discover L5R with this edition.

Sorry, but no. It’s nothing like this. Previous editions did a fairly good job of pointing out what the norm for your character type was, and deciding what to do with your starting XP was not that hard if you just looked at the stuff that was determined by your first choices. You also didn’t have to put time in as many aspects of your character, but you could. In this new version, every one of the twenty questions is mandatory and other than the one about your death they all have consequences. It forces you to come up with an in-depth characterization before you can even start. Figuring out your ninjo and giri? Required advantages/disadvantages? That’s not a boon. And “swift evolution”? Have you looked at how advancing works from a newbie’s point of view? Particularly one who had a couple of brushes with the Strife system and is trying to figure out how to evolve so he can manage that a bit better (especially one who found his chargen choices ended up with a Strife-challenged, socially inept character while some of his buddies seem to have zen-tastic socialites, while none of the decisions that resulted in the relevant stats had anything to do with Strife in the first place)?

This new chargen doesn’t hold your hand, which could be a good thing. It gives you a map to go from A to B but requires that you pass through at least 10 other letters, half of which probably don’t matter much yet to a new player, have no meaning to them until they leatn more about the system, or they don’t even want. I’m portraying it slightly more harshly than strictly necessary, sure, but no worse than your view is overly rose-tinted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Instead a game of 20 questions, have a game of 10 choices:

  1. Pick a school [each school belongs to a clan].
  2. Pick a family from the same clan as your school.
  3. Increase a ring [any ring].
  4. Pick pick two advantages [one of them needs to be a distinction, the other one a passion]
  5. Pick pick two disadvantages [one of them needs to be an adversity, the other one an anxiety].
  6. Increase a skill [depends on clan: Crab (Aesthetics or Design), Crane Clan (Commerce), Dragon Clan (Seafaring), Lion Clan (Skulduggery), Phoenix Clan (Tactics), Scorpion Clan (Labor), Unicorn Clan (Culture)] or gain 5 glory.
  7. Increase a skill [pick one of these: Commerce, Labor, Medicine, Seafaring, Skulduggery, or Survival] or gain 10 honor.
  8. Increase a skill [any skill] and pick a disadvantage or pick an advantage.
  9. Role twice on the Samurai Heritage and take the result you like better [sometimes you need two roll a second time to nail down a detail].
  10. Write down a ninjo, a giri and an outburst.
Edited by Yandia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Yandia That looks like a pretty good sidebar, akin to "What Do I Do on My Turn" in conflict sections. 

 

Also, I feel this needs to be said. I like the beta character gen. I also like GURPS, and the very free-form character gen. I can even do both of those things simultaneously.

 

To that end, I think this character generation could use one side-bar that would solve basically every issue raised in this thread (no promises; skipped a lot). It would Yandia's Game of 10 Choices, plus a line to the effect of "With your GMs approval, when choosing rings, skills, and ancestry, you may choose different ones than those provided by the Game of 20 Questions. For example, (example). The GM may want to cap rings at (X) and skills at (Y)."

 

It doesn't solve the less honorable samurai-who-can-ride problem, but that's more of an issue with sub-skills than with character generation itself. 

Edited by sidescroller
Cats couldn't sleep

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


 

On 10/20/2017 at 5:22 PM, TheVeteranSergeant said:

I can't even be an amateur one, lol.   I'm not asking to be able to create a guy at chargen who challenges the Rank 5 Master in the provincial capital.  Maybe he's just the guy who grew up playing it with his grandfather and so he's "pretty good" and then I can surprise and impress some diplomat or noble by putting up a good contest even though I eventually lose.  Your solution is "Screw yo' grandpa. Play shougi with somebody next week."  So much for you being good at writing character backgrounds, lol.  "You can do it your own way. If it's done just how I say."

Well, in that case, I'd probably take your Grandfather as you mentor figure in question 13, take a rank of Games (or a rank of Games(Shogi)  if your GM is doing sub-skills), and a disadvantage of your choice. 

On 10/20/2017 at 5:22 PM, TheVeteranSergeant said:

Samurai classes in the source material and the historical analog learned a variety of skills and in places where horses were available riding was normal as a hobby even if they weren't training to be cavalry. Maybe my Doji courtier was raised in a castle on the border with the Lion Clan and her father owned a large stable.  Even if we don't like my Doji Courtier example and you want to skip around making up more dumb reasons why it makes sense, where do the Akodo family's Lion Wardens learn to ride? Why would it be a loss of 10 honor to have learned how to ride horses? 

I'd agree that much; the thing is that the basic character creation is for a 0XP character. Given that the beta adventure says 'and have 24XP', it wouldn't surprise me (I'd hope!) that the final version would also hand you a chunk of XP to personalise your character post the mandated creation. I would keep that seperate from the basic character creation, though, precisely because it might vary from campaign to campaign and some guidance to that effect might be nice.

Playing Gempuku newbies? 0XP

Playing veteran Bushi? 24XP

Playing 'A Game Of Daimyos'? 300XP

etc, etc.

That currently isn't in the book, which is fair to point out. But the whole point of the beta is for people to point out what we think should be added, and the fact that the Beta adventure clearly recognizes that a character shouldn't be going into it with 0XP and no personal customisation suggests that they're not planning to ignore the idea entirely.

On 10/20/2017 at 9:09 PM, Yandia said:

Instead a game of 20 questions, have a game of 10 choices:

I think it's more a desire to have 20 questions because The Game Of 20 Questions is a historical L5R thing that they're trying to mechanically mesh with character creation.

For people's reference, the original "Twenty Questions" were:

Quote

 

1. What clan does your character belong to?
A character's clan is their most defining characteristic because each clan has a well-established and distinct set of philosophies, prejudices, and ideals. Whether a character adheres to they stereotypes of his clan or breaks them, one way or the other they will prove very important to his personality.

2. What family does your character belong to?
Just like a character's clan, a character's family is an especially important defining characteristic. The stereotypes of each clan are broad, but individual families within the clan have much more specific, detailed roles and attitudes that further define the identity of the clan and those who serve it.

3. Is your character a bushi, a shugenja, or a courtier?
Duty is an essential aspect of every samurai's life, and establishing exactly what manner of duty a character is obligated to perform is an important step in breathing life into him or her. Is the character a warrior and soldier, a priest and scholar, or a diplomat and politician?

4. How would others describe your character's appearance?
Every character should have a rough description in order to give him some sort of life when describing him to others. What is the character's most striking feature? Does his mood come through his appearance or is he inscrutable? Does he make others feel at ease, or make them uncomfortable?

5. What is your character's primary motivation?
Though all samurai are, in theory, solely devoted to fulfilling the wishes of their lord, most have their own goals as well. Some may be simple, such as maintaining the honor of your ancestors, while others may revolve around the recovery of a lost heirloom or the avenging of a slight to your family's honor.

6. Who is the person your character trusts most in the world?
characters should have some developed background in order to facilitate role-playing. This question not only includes the individual's identity, but how that person met the character, why they are so close, and other similar questions.

7. What is your character's greatest strength and weakness?
Strengths are what others see as respectable or admirable in the character, while weaknesses are what he would struggle to hide from others, lest they look down upon him for his failures. What does the character regard as his strengths and weaknesses, and how does this differ from his actual abilities?

8. What does your character think of Bushido?
Although all samurai pay homage to the code, most Clans and families revere certain tenets over others. Which does the character consider the most important and which does he consider inconsequential? Do his views differ from those of his Clan?

9. What is your character's opinion of his clan?
Of course all samurai are loyal and devoted servants of his Clan, but that does not mean they do not have their own opinions. Is the character a martial vassal of a pacifistic Clan? Or is he a pacifist in a society of warriors? does he disagree with the Clan's current enmities and alliances?

10. Is your character married?
Marriage is a very important institution in the Empire of Rokugan. A samurai's spouse is responsible for managing the estate, and actually wields considerable political power depending upon the size of their holdings. Was the character's marriage arranged, or is he or she still betrothed? Is it someone the samurai has actually met, or a complete stranger? Is there a case of true love that will interfere with the wedding, or will the samurai embrace duty over the wants of the heart?

11. Does your character have any prejudices?
Most Clans are negatively predisposed against at least one other Clan, most often as a result of conflicts that have endured for decades or even centuries. Is the character one who readily subscribes to these prejudices or has he developed his own dislikes of other Clans, even allied Clans, based on his own experiences?

12. To whom does your character owe the most loyalty?
The simplest answer to this question would of course be "The Emperor," but very few samurai have the honor to serve the Son of Heaven directly, instead serving someone in a long chain of authority that could include the Emerald Champion, the Clan Champions, the family daimyo, the provincial governors, or even the local magistrate. Whom does the character serve immediately, and is that person the one to whom he is the most loyal?

13. What are your character's favorite and least favorite things?
This could address a wide variety of responses, including material possessions, activities, locations, or almost anything else that could spring to mind. Why does the character revere these things? What significance do they have to his history?

14. Does your character have any recurring mannerisms?
Since everyone tends to act according to the same protocol and etiquette, minor and inoffensive details of behavior tend to get noticed more frequently. Does the character chew his lip when he is nervous? Perhaps he has a unique greeting that he prefers to use. What does he do with his hands when nothing is going on?

15. What about your character's emotions?
A true samurai is not supposed to show emotion, but no one is completely disciplined at all times, and everyone demonstrates some degree of emotion at one point or another. What emotion is the character most likely to display when the circumstances arise? What are the things that push him to the edge most easily, and which emotions are easiest for him to hold in check?

16. How would your character handle a subordinate's improper behavior?
The actions of a subordinate reflect the honor of his superior, and in such cases a superior has a considerable amount of leeway in dealing with a subordinate. Is the character the sort to demand the subordinate's seppuku over even a minor infraction (something that could get the character into significant trouble very quickly), or will he forgive the behavior and attempt to correct it?

17. How would your character's parents describe him?
Devotion to one's parents is considered proper behavior for any samurai, but devotion can be offered without any real respect between a parent and child. Does the character have a proper relationship with his parents or are they estranged? Was the character's upbringing a source of joy or dismay for his parents? Are they still alive, or were they taken from the character at a younger age?

18. What is your character's highest ambition?
Desire is a sin, but ambition tempered by duty is considered acceptable among most in the samurai caste. Bushi often aspire to become military leaders, for example, while courtiers desire nothing more than to rule over others at influential courts. What is the character's ultimate goal and, perhaps more importantly, how far is he willing to go in order to accomplish it?

19. How religious is your character?
Among bushi and courtiers, levels of religious devotion vary widely. Shugenja are of course religious, but even among their ranks some are more reverent than others. Is the character one to offer frequent prayers and make trips to the temple, or has he dismissed the need for religion and instead embraced the rule of steel in his life?

20. How will your character die?
This is a very important and intimidating question, but one that should be given consideration. Every samurai lives a few short feet from death, and death is a threat that can rear its head on any day of a samurai's entire life. What is the character's destiny? How will he meet his end when the time comes for him to join his ancestors, or to rejoin the universe as part of the Celestial Wheel?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, in that case, I'd probably take your Grandfather as you mentor figure in question 13, take a rank of Games (or a rank of Games(Shogi)  if your GM is doing sub-skills), and a disadvantage of your choice. 

That skill point can be worth anywhere from 4 to 6 XP and one of the only ways of bumping up a core competency.  Nobody is taking a Rank 1 fluff skill that's worth 2XP as the tradeoff for a missing hand, resentful wide, or a nervous tic.  Can I just play games with my grandfather and have it not be traumatic? ;)

The tradeoffs in character creation aren't well-weighted. If I wanted Games:1 in 4E, it cost me literally 1 point out of 40. The only ways the average character could start with Rank 2 in some skills are to use Step 13, or hope for the best on the Heritage table. 

Share this post


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

Can I just play games with my grandfather and have it not be traumatic?

Yes.

13 hours ago, TheVeteranSergeant said:

Nobody is taking a Rank 1 fluff skill that's worth 2XP as the tradeoff for a missing hand, resentful wide, or a nervous tic.

Can't you just play games with your grandfather and not need to have Games 1 to represent it? You can still play - and win - with a Rank 0 skill. If you refuse to take it as a rank 1 skill, you must not think playing Shogi well is important in the campaign. In which case, why is it a problem that you don't have it as a mechanical skill rank?

If you do want that skill rank for 0XP, it costs you something - which in this case is a disadvantage of your chosing.

Equally, if you really want a bonus at Shogi, but don't want to spend a skill slot on it, why not make it a distinction called  'board-game enthusiast' or something similar rather than a skill rank? A 2-dice reroll is pretty effective, even when unskilled. No 'trauma' involved.

13 hours ago, TheVeteranSergeant said:

That skill point can be worth anywhere from 4 to 6 XP and one of the only ways of bumping up a core competency

Yes it is. Again - we don't know what the format of the eventual system will be, but note that the beta adventure hands you 24XP as the first element. For all we know (and I realise that's a meaningless statement) a given recommended block of XP will be standard at the start of a campaign. It's certainly something I've suggested in threads and will include in the appropriate survey questions when they come up.

 

 

Edited by Magnus Grendel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can't you just play games with your grandfather and not need to have Games 1 to represent it?

That is not a legitimate response.  Why should I have to, for no other reason than to justify an obviously flawed character creation method? 

Stop defending this system on Maybes.  They have very clearly delineated Character Creation. It's almost painstakingly laid out. The beta scenario adds 24XP, but if that 24 XP was part of character creation, it would be part of character creation and not in a tacked on appendix at the back. It's about 100 times more likely that they published the Character Creation system as intended than they just "left out" the 24 XP.

 

In which case, why is it a problem that you don't have it as a mechanical skill rank?

Why is a meaningful character creation process a problem for you?  Why do you so desperately defend this?

Share this post


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

Why is a meaningful character creation process a problem for you? 

For some people numbers on a page aren't what make a character creation  process meaningful. I imagine he has been 'defending it' for the same reason you have been 'attacking' it. He has his own feelings and opinions on the subject.

Just try and remember we aren't here to argue over how each of us play the game but to find enough of a middle ground that as many of us can enjoy it as possible.

24 xp for a starting character seems a bit much but everyone enjoys some extra skills. There is definitely room in character creation to allow for upping two 0 rank skills to rank 1. I don't think just having a free rank to go anywhere is a great idea though so I'd stick with only raising one or two things to rank 1 to show it was a hobby or important interest to your character. Skill ranks are pretty powerful and not terribly expensive so free rank 1's seems fair.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, Darksyde said:

For some people numbers on a page aren't what make a character creation  process meaningful. I imagine he has been 'defending it' for the same reason you have been 'attacking' it. He has his own feelings and opinions on the subject.

 

"Numbers on a page" are literally what characters are, in all but the loosest RPGs. But certainly this one has a lot of numbers on the page that define what the character can do and can't do well, so that doesn't apply here. Your argument is also not very well supported.

On top of that, his argument is antithetical to a narrative gameplay system, which is what this is claiming to be, by making the mechanics fixed and rigid.  Is this a mechanical chargen system where the numbers matter, or a narrative system where they don't?  Because certainly in this game the numbers I do and don't have are quite important to how my character is played.

I mean, he's allowed to have his opinion. But if it is rooted in fundamentally faulty core ideas, I'm going to point them out.  This isn't a safe space where feelings have power. This is a Beta Test where factual breakdowns of the mechanics are important.  This isn't an "argument" in the sense that it requires some kind of inherent hostility.  Besides, there's no need for a middle ground. What I have proposed works for everybody. Powergamers, storygamers, traditional roleplayers, you name it. Nobody on the planet will be harmed by a more fluid, malleable character creation. The argument against it boils down to "It's okay that the characters are clones because obviously all samurai are clones." That is sticking with the status quo because it's on virtual paper.  So let it be written, so let it be done.

It's just a bad system as written.  We need some Moses up in here.

I do agree with there being a fundamental potential for exploitation in a free +1 Rank, and have posited before that free Rank 1 skills would be appropriate for diversity.  But, there's also the fact that quite a few character combinations can easily gain multiple Rank 2 skills already, and it's kinda gamey and arbitrary who gets 3 skills at Rank 2 and who only gets 2 just based on Clan and Family selection.  A Matsu Commander could easily start with Fitness, Tactics and Command at 2 without any fudgery.  A Doji Diplomat can do the same with Design, Culture and Courtesy.

Share this post


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

On top of that, his argument is antithetical to a narrative gameplay system, which is what this is claiming to be, by making the mechanics fixed and rigid.  Is this a mechanical chargen system where the numbers matter, or a narrative system where they don't?  Because certainly in this game the numbers I do and don't have are quite important to how my character is played.

The gameplay is not narrative, as far as I can tell. I’m not sure FFG claims it is either. Narrative dice do not a narrative gameplay make. The gameplay in this case is meant to push for more narrative elements being inserted as the game progresses (Opportunities and Outbursts, mainly), it’s not meant to be pushed by the narrative. Which means the numbers do matter, and chargen is deliberately made fairly rigid to enable the gameplay to push for those narrative injections. Strife is at the core, and Strife can’t work (regardless of whether it works as is now) without all PCs having a balanced mix of advantages and disadvantages, without the numbers leading to the kind of dice pools that turn Strife management into something of a game in its own right, without each of the rings getting thematically tied into Strife in a different way.

Disregard whether you like the system as is for a sec. Disregard whether it works well, even. Just look at what it does and how, not at how effective it is or whether it is appealing. What it does at its core and how the mechanics are supposed to support this is pretty obvious. Dice rolls are the input, manipulation of the results based on stats and mechanics is the machine, the narrative is the output.

Share this post


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

On top of that, his argument is antithetical to a narrative gameplay system, which is what this is claiming to be, by making the mechanics fixed and rigid.  Is this a mechanical chargen system where the numbers matter, or a narrative system where they don't?  Because certainly in this game the numbers I do and don't have are quite important to how my character is played.

Eh. Numbers are can be extremely important in narrative games. And narrative games regularly feature some sort of rigidity when they aim to emulate/create a particular sort of fiction. Varies from game to game with the goals of the game. Hard to lump them in a group along the lines of "numbers are (un)important" or "character generation is(n't) loose-y goose-y and free form".

I don't see this game claiming to be a narrative game (nor would it be particularly useful to argue the definition), though it does use some prominent narrative mechanics. 

1 hour ago, TheVeteranSergeant said:

What I have proposed works for everybody. Powergamers, storygamers, traditional roleplayers, you name it. Nobody on the planet will be harmed by a more fluid, malleable character creation. The argument against it boils down to "It's okay that the characters are clones because obviously all samurai are clones."

I'm not sure it works for everybody; IME, it works for experienced gamers. When I introduce new players to GURPS, I usually offer to make their characters for them (and after seeing the books, they always agree); we chat about what they want, I make it, we review it, maybe I edit it, and we play.  

A streamlined char gen system like the beta is pretty accessible. Very straightforward. Which, personally, I think is important to a new edition of L5R. 

Experienced gamers aren't really harmed; they've probably got the experience to see the dials of the game behind the text and adjust them a little (or a lot). I, as a gamer with some experience, am not "harmed" (to borrow a word) by making such adjustments (unless not playing absolutely perfectly RAW is harm by definition). For example: 

1 hour ago, TheVeteranSergeant said:

[. . . I] have posited before that free Rank 1 skills would be appropriate for diversity. 

A final "Optionally, add a new skill at rank 1 to represent a hobby" at the end of character gen (or wherever) is a really good idea. We can see that a simple addition of a Rank 1 skill solves your shogi problem and doesn't ruin anything. 

Edited by sidescroller

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I mean, the intro certainly uses all the language of a narrative gameplay system.  Read the intro for this, and the intro for 4E and recognize the differences in language.  The beta uses phrases like "give players cues that can inspire them as they tell a story together." "group storytelling exercise" and "The rules for the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game are written with a certain degree of technical precision, but they should be understood as tools to enable storytelling."  I mean, the game itself basically says "The rules only kinda matter. We're just here to tell stories."  It also repeats the words "samurai drama" a lot.

Contrast that to 4th Edition, which uses words like "mechanic" and "rules" a lot. I don't know if the word "story" or any similar words even appear in the Book of Earth (core mechanics section).   The Beta uses variants of the phrase "tell stories"/"storytelling"/etc seven times on Page 11 alone.  "Drama" and "dramatic appear seven times in the next three pages.  Page 15 uses the word "narrative" three times in a single paragraph.    167 instances of "story/stories" in the book.  148 instances of "narrative."  87 instances of "tell." 34 instances of "drama."   It has 14 pages of sample NPCs, 15 pages of sample adventure, 26 pages of character sheets and other printouts, and four blank/splash/index pages.  So 59 out of its 233 pages aren't rules-based, leaving 174 pages, give or take, dedicated to describing the game and/or its rules.  That's approximately 2.4 uses of those words per page, but we'll kick it down to 2.3 for instances of slight overlap.   For the curious, it uses the words "roleplay" or "roleplaying" (outside of the complete name of the game) just 28 times. The word "mechanic/mechanical/etc" shows up 57 times.  The word "rule" or "rules" 83 times.   Combined, those words have only 1 more instance in the book than "story" does by itself.

If this is supposed to be something other than a narrative gameplay system, it's going about it an odd way.

 

I'm honestly not even sure what you're asking/saying there in the second paragraph. 

I'm not sure it works for 

everybody; IME, it works for experienced gamers.

Experience isn't really a gaming style. It's just a quantification of accrued knowledge and time.  Pre-generated example characters or archetypes are how you help out new players. Hamstringing character generation for the sake of helping new players is needlessly punitive for anybody who has played the game more than once. You shouldn't be houseruling character creation for no other reason than the book assumes you've never played the game before.

Share this post


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

I mean, the intro certainly uses all the language of a narrative gameplay system.  Read the intro for this, and the intro for 4E and recognize the differences in language.  The beta uses phrases like "give players cues that can inspire them as they tell a story together." "group storytelling exercise" and "The rules for the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game are written with a certain degree of technical precision, but they should be understood as tools to enable storytelling."  I mean, the game itself basically says "The rules only kinda matter. We're just here to tell stories."  It also repeats the words "samurai drama" a lot.

Contrast that to 4th Edition, which uses words like "mechanic" and "rules" a lot. I don't know if the word "story" or any similar words even appear in the Book of Earth (core mechanics section).   The Beta uses variants of the phrase "tell stories"/"storytelling"/etc seven times on Page 11 alone.  "Drama" and "dramatic appear seven times in the next three pages.  Page 15 uses the word "narrative" three times in a single paragraph.    167 instances of "story/stories" in the book.  148 instances of "narrative."  87 instances of "tell." 34 instances of "drama."   It has 14 pages of sample NPCs, 15 pages of sample adventure, 26 pages of character sheets and other printouts, and four blank/splash/index pages.  So 59 out of its 233 pages aren't rules-based, leaving 174 pages, give or take, dedicated to describing the game and/or its rules.  That's approximately 2.4 uses of those words per page, but we'll kick it down to 2.3 for instances of slight overlap.   For the curious, it uses the words "roleplay" or "roleplaying" (outside of the complete name of the game) just 28 times. The word "mechanic/mechanical/etc" shows up 57 times.  The word "rule" or "rules" 83 times.   Combined, those words have only 1 more instance in the book than "story" does by itself.

If this is supposed to be something other than a narrative gameplay system, it's going about it an odd way.

All roleplaying games are narrative in nature. By playing a role you’re taking up a part in a story, and that part is written by playing rather than set in stone. That doesn’t mean the gameplay is narrative. If you want narrative gameplay, look at something like the Mouseguard RPG. Light on mechanics, heavy on letting the story go where the players want it to. This 5th edition has dice results determine success or failure, decide outcomes, set the direction of the story. The gameplay uses mechanical resolution, not narrative resolution.

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.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...