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tenchi2a

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7 hours ago, Buhallin said:

Marines are also rather notorious for blowing off steam in pretty crazy and inappropriate ways.  Samurai culture is not "Do your job with precision and go nuts all the rest".  It's literally 24/7 stoic attention to culture and presentation.

It's worth noting that this survives in Japan even to this day.  The reported levels of stress within their corporate culture is pretty crazy.

So is their suicide rate. Highest in the world.

Japan has a cultural "Show no emotion" drive at insane levels, and it causes some very interesting dynamics, even outside Japan. I spent a year teaching in a Japanese Immersion school (Music Teacher)... and even the gaijin in the immersion program were, by third grade, behaviorally quite different from their neighborhood program age-peers. (3/4 of the immersion staff were Nihonjin.)

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5 hours ago, sidescroller said:

I'm making some progress. (1 success), buuuuut I hit a stumbling block. I can work extra hard, stressing myself out (1 success, 1 strife), or I can just fail and accept the consequences. The consequences might be stressful--I might suffer some strife if I have a Anxiety related to my job (or an inverted Passion). But the task itself stops being stressful when I give up. (Like so many abandoned internet debates :P)

IME, failure itself isn't inherently stressful--only if I'm emotionally invested. If I--personally--sit down at a canvas and fail horribly at trying to make a beautiful painting... well I don't really care because I don't care about painting well.

Yeah . . . but you don't live in Rokugan, where failure doesn't just reflect on you, it reflects on your lord and your sensei and your ancestors. And quitting because you know you can't hack the strain of the challenge? You might as well just surrender your daisho. The idea that choosing to fail or quit is the road to avoiding stress makes less and less sense to me, the more I think about it. (As a representation of the setting and the type of stories it's meant to model, that is.)

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5 hours ago, BlindSamurai13 said:

From the L5R 4th Edition Core Book. 

I think the Fluff of the Geisha kinda just crushed the Crunch of Strike and Outburst. lol Unless the developers gives a character a big benefit when visiting a Geisha. I mean, its not dishonorable to see one so... 

Technically they would; if only because doing so should involve [end scene] go visit the Geisha Tea-house and relax [end scene] which means two water-ring 'chunks' of strife dumped out.

Again, so long as no conflicts occur (and an intrigue in a Geisha house is certainly possible; it's not like anyone ever lets slip any secrets whilst drinking or anything), I'm not sure strife will ever really be an issue.

5 hours ago, TheEldarGuy said:

I have no idea about the history of the Legend of the Five Rings (I guessed by the Musashi reference that it was an East Asian and/or Japanese based game).

I certainly never heard of it before FFG promoted it.

I really liked the idea of an RPG in a different setting drawing on one of my favourite settings. The biggest challenge for this type of game is the whole Giri vs Ninjo struggle.

Neither had I.

It's mostly an idealised version of samurai Japan (much like Hachiman in the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks), but with a side order of fantasised China in a few places. I gather it came out of the original D&D Oriental Adventures, so as a setting it's pretty old.

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9 hours ago, Kinzen said:

What I'm trying to figure out is . . . are those aspects of it features for other people? Do you (all the yous who like the Strife mechanics, not just Darksyde-you) actively prefer "the constant struggle of vulcan like perfect with the reality of being a very emotional human" being randomized, so that sometimes the struggle is easy and sometimes it's hard and you never know which one it's going to be? Do you enjoy learning all the different rules you can use to manage and leverage your Strife? Is that in fact preferable to a system that intervenes less often, but under more significant circumstances?

I am genuinely curious to know the answer to that.

Yes. I love this with the kind of giddy enthusiasm that would put my sensei to shame.

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19 minutes ago, Magnus Grendel said:

Technically they would; if only because doing so should involve [end scene] go visit the Geisha Tea-house and relax [end scene] which means two water-ring 'chunks' of strife dumped out.

Again, so long as no conflicts occur (and an intrigue in a Geisha house is certainly possible; it's not like anyone ever lets slip any secrets whilst drinking or anything), I'm not sure strife will ever really be an issue.

Neither had I.

It's mostly an idealised version of samurai Japan (much like Hachiman in the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks), but with a side order of fantasised China in a few places. I gather it came out of the original D&D Oriental Adventures, so as a setting it's pretty old.

It has zero connection to Oriental Adventures. it originated as a CCG created by John Zinser, Dave Seay, Dave Williams, and John Wick and published by Alderac Entertainment Group in 1995. The card game was based on a tournament players control the storyline mechanic which gained it popularity on par with Magic, Which was unheard of at the time for any license other then Star Wars CCG. Due to its growing popularity it was made into a Roleplaying written by John Wick and published by Alderac Entertainment Group, under license from Five Rings Publishing Group, in 1997

its only connection to D&D was  In 2001, Wizards of the Coast released a new edition of Oriental Adventures as an expansion for the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons. It was decided to make this new version of Oriental Adventures a showcase for their recently acquired Legend of the Five Rings license which they later sold back to Alderac Entertainment Group which continued the D20 version as Rokugan RPG and released the 2nd edition. Leading to the duel-stat era of the game which ended with the release of 3rd ed in 2005.

Edited by tenchi2a

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Have you tried out the Strife in practice? Strife, like most of systems in Beta, needs to be actually seen in motion in order to see how they work in the grand scheme of the game.

I have seen more than 24 hours of the actual gameplay with full Strife rules - most of it as a GM, but also 8 hours of being a player. Strife, in practice, is much different from what you are suggesting. There is no "random emotional swings". The emotional moments that actually happen - instead of being internalized as rising tension of accumulating Strife - are players choice. Strife gives you an opportunity to work something Roleplayingly interesting into the current situation, but it does not force anything. Even Outbursts.

The "Dinner made me go mad" thing is not something that happens. You wont go from 0 Strife to Outburst in a single roll. The maximum Strife you can gain from a roll - without triggering Anxieties and such - is number of the dice you keep. For majority of characters, this will be potential of 2 to 4 Strife swing, and this assumes that you DECIDED to pick dice with Strife. You don't have to. You get to keep UP to your Ring. 

Strife gives you a choice, and an opportunity - are you humble, and only pick the 2 successes you needed, dropping the juicy "Strife+Cool Result" dice? Roleplaying wise, if you see a cool idea for how to represent the Strife gained right here, right now, you can go for it - but are not forced to do so. Or maybe you are a maverick daredevil who does things in Fire Stance and actively hunts for Strife, and rides that train for extra successes? 

Choice is yours.

 

Making dinner will rarely give you an Outburst, unless you were already in a range of it happening - which is  X =Composure+1 - Current Strife. X has to be a number of dice you want to keep. The little swings of +2 will accumulate over time, sure, but because its a build up, you will be prepared for the possibility of it happening. 

You also shed Strife quite often - at end of each Scene, and you can spend 1 or 2 Opportunities (depending on the Ring of your roll, but you ALWAYS have at least "2 Opportunity for 2 Strife" option) each roll to calm down, reducing the Strife by 2. Again, it's your choice. Strife is random on a scope of a single roll, but it is not random at all in zoomed out perspective of entire game sessions. Dice just present options, and leave you with the choice of what are you going to do with them. If you are attempting to make dinner when at 10 Strife, expect the Outburst : P. 

Note that Outbursts can be as loud as a villain doing an evil laughter as their plan comes to fruition, and as silent as a bushi looking to a side with a visible hint of guilt in their eyes, as they are suffering a Compromise and losing Honor to feeling of internal shame. Nothing forces you to challenge the dinner to a battle of life and death. It might cause you to reflect on your entire day instead, making you feel like a pathetic excuse of a samurai, or maybe induce a jolt of melancholy. 

 

"Oni eating my family unphases me" is factually incorrect, as Strife can be gained or lost through narrative events. Though there is no value suggested for "how much Strife after witnessing Oni doing my family in", thats true. 

Situations where swings of emotions are possible, yes, and they are Conflicts - where something is at stake, at least two opposing forces are bashing their heads oer their objectives, and STRIFE INTENSIFIES simply due to sheer volume of rolls. So yes, it is possible to have a rush of emotions while defending your life from a pack of wolves, and it is possible to quickly lose your cool during a heated argument. While during narrative scenes you can be relatively relaxed about rolls and can spend leftover opportunities for Strife reduction or not cry much about keeping only the minimal number of dice needed to do the job, conflicts are a different beast. 

In conflicts, you have a time pressure (the opposing side might reach their objective quicker!) and performance pressure. Do you push yourself and take that Explosion+Strife hoping that the extra point of damage or rhetorics will bring you closer to victory? Do you spend these 2 opportunities to inflict a crit, or calm yourself? Do you push your friends to their limits, decreasing their next TN by 1, but also bestowing Strife upon them? 

Conflicts will make you see the edge of an Outburst. Conflicts will ask you to make sacrifices and to choose what is more important to you right here, right now. 

Conflicts are a blast, and Strife is a major part of that, as it functions as a pressure valve, and a rope you can use to hang yourself - or your opposition. 

Edited by WHW

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1 hour ago, WHW said:

Nothing forces you to challenge the dinner to a battle of life and death.

You've not eaten some of my attempts at cooking.

Other than that, I agree with everything said. I've had less play time - maybe 4-5 hours total? - but it seems like the same.

I would agree that getting strife from narrative events could do with a table of examples. Strife from denying your Ninjo or avoiding your Giri is already defined, but the emotional impact of "finding family of your lord's retainers slaughtered in horrible ways" as opposed to "discovering forgot to pack lunch" are obviously not equal...

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11 hours ago, TheVeteranSergeant said:

 I mean, if you take Strife out of the game, Water becomes pretty Meh, even though with Strife in the game, it is possibly the best in the game.

 

Heavily disagree here. Water is the (second) best Ring, Strife or not. Water Stance is good, and the narrative Water Opportunities are awesome. Fire, on the other hand, is gaining some (Fire Stance) and losing some (Strife Nuke), so it is actually cool too. 

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Yeah, what WHW said. In actual gameplay I'm just not seeing what others are seeing. Outbursts practically always happen in conflict situations, at appropriately dramatic moments. I get the impression that my players feel fairly (but not totally) in control.

Also, to address the cooking example and the idea that failure is rewarded and success punished, success should always be it's own reward and failure bad. If either of them are irrelevant, what's the point of rolling? Don't roll cooking for a random evening at the campfire where the characters are eating trail rations, but when your character wants to impress someone, and there is something on the line.

Now, moving to more narrative ways to shed strife (mini-slips of On, geisha, whatevs), and giving the boot to strife shedding on the water ring I would welcome. If only to get rid of discussion of how everyone should always be in water stance 24/7 ;-)

And the slow-pressure cooker idea sounds ok as well. Perhaps by giving the choice of ignoring outbursts you get a mark, you get as much marks as, say, your void ring, play a melt-down at the first dramatically appropriate scene. With something like this in place you have the choice whether you wanna go for the big dramatic scenes or not.

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14 minutes ago, Doji Namika said:

And the slow-pressure cooker idea sounds ok as well. Perhaps by giving the choice of ignoring outbursts you get a mark, you get as much marks as, say, your void ring, play a melt-down at the first dramatically appropriate scene. With something like this in place you have the choice whether you wanna go for the big dramatic scenes or not.

You could pretty much use a similar mechanic to stuff like Maho and Shadowlands Taint, or criticals.

Suppose you could, as an outburst, have a non-outburst-outburst and be forced to receive the disadvantage/anxiety "repressed anger" (or some similar appropriate one to the circumstances from a list of suggestions).

This would be the samurai bottling it all up, would not affect you in the scene directly, but would then impact your self-control one notch further until such time as you 'buy off' the disadvantage with narrative events and XP (mentioned in the character advancement section but not defined).

Quote

At the GM’s discretion, acquiring advantages or "buying off " disadvantages in accordance with narrative events

 

This then lets you have no 'little rages at dinner' in return for one massive breakdown building up over time.

 

In the manner of escalating repeated injury critical-inflicted disadvantages, further use of this option could up it to "imminent borderline meltdown" and so on, with increasingly widely-applied consequences.

Given that at character creation, a skill rank and a disadvantage together is considered equivalent to an advantage, that would mean that two disadvantages/advantages should be more or less equivalent to a skill rank, which given that you start with 5 gives us us a (very vague) metrestick for how much XP they should be costing. Guidance would be appreciated thought!

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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19 minutes ago, Doji Namika said:

Yeah, what WHW said. In actual gameplay I'm just not seeing what others are seeing. Outbursts practically always happen in conflict situations, at appropriately dramatic moments. I get the impression that my players feel fairly (but not totally) in control.

2

This is an inherent phenomenon of the core issue with the Strife mechanic: it is wildly inconsistent. You can make it work because all the stars align at your table. I can't make it work because some of the stars are missing at my table. Kinzen can't make it work because her stars are positioned differently at her table. And so on and so forth. And that's a huge problem because it shows that the mechanic can't assemble into a consistent whole - it is not working universally, it is a bad mechanic. 

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23 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

I think they will kill Strife and rework the result to be more like Threats from SW. 

I think the duty vs emotion thing is too tied to the kind of samurai stories FFG want to emulate to give up on strife. I'm re-reading James Clavell's Shogun at the moment, and I keep seeing strife in the various samurai actions and inner monologue. Toranaga has huge Composure, but even he cracks a little on occasion... Even if one Outburst is dancing a hornpipe when alone.

Yes change it (I really liked @Bazakahuna suggestion of replacing the term Outburst with Lapse) and make it more palatable to people, but I don't see strife being completely removed.

 

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1 minute ago, Monkey Bloke said:

I think the duty vs emotion thing is too tied to the kind of samurai stories FFG want to emulate to give up on strife.

 

There is a way around this, to eat the cookies and have them too. For example, SW Threats can generate "Strife" (well, Strain, the SW equivalent), only that it is optional. Alternatively, we can expand on Giri/Ninjo and have some cool mechanic for those two to represent the duty vs emotion struggle. 

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@Monkey Bloke is right, I think the Strife and the Outburst mechanic is actually a good homage to samurai stories and I feel that perhaps people with an issue with it should look into these traditional tales more than the way samurai are portrayed in fantasy. That said, people may want to play fantasy samurai, which is fair enough as taste is subjective, however for the same reason FFG can realise the vision they desire too.

I suggested 'Lapse', as I saw the psychological effect the word Outburst was having on people. It sounds aggressive and explosive which immediately disinclines one to see the subtle possibilities. I also think it paints a picture of someone going from a neutral state to a negatively dynamic one. Lapsing however suggest that one is going from a state of perpetual hyper-tension and self-control back to being a fallible human that makes mistakes. I think people are more inclined to accept the negative aspects of the latter, as it implies that when not Lapsing, they stoic are bastions of discipline (and therefore badass), whereas in the sense of Outburst, their default state seems simply just normal.

I for one intend to embrace Outburst and see where it takes me (something I've been trying to avoid), if it enriches the narrative and creates fun for me, then congratulations FFG.

Edited by Bazakahuna

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10 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

There is a way around this, to eat the cookies and have them too. For example, SW Threats can generate "Strife" (well, Strain, the SW equivalent), only that it is optional. Alternatively, we can expand on Giri/Ninjo and have some cool mechanic for those two to represent the duty vs emotion struggle. 

If you mean simply adding threat dice to the roll like Star Wars, how would they interact with the roll and keep? People would simply not keep the threat dice. If you mean to replace the strife symbol with a more generic threat symbol, I think that would add in the more unpredictable, unexpected results that Star Wars can generate. While I'm OK with that in star wars, with it's pulp inspiration, I'd rather my L5R to be more low-key.

That strife is an internal struggle for the character, and not a series of random unfortunate events is a plus in my book.

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Just now, Monkey Bloke said:

That strife is an internal struggle for the character, and not a series of random unfortunate events is a plus in my book.

 

Hey, Strife is a series of random unfortunate events, specifically emotional upheaval. As I mentioned in another thread, you can have ridiculous situations with Strife like witnessing your loved ones being eaten by an oni and walk away completely untouched because you don't make any rolls. Strife is as random as it can be, and similarly unpredictable and unexpected. Exactly like Threats in SW. And we have Opportunities to go full pulp anyway, so why bother about that? 

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14 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

Hey, Strife is a series of random unfortunate events, specifically emotional upheaval. As I mentioned in another thread, you can have ridiculous situations with Strife like witnessing your loved ones being eaten by an oni and walk away completely untouched because you don't make any rolls. Strife is as random as it can be, and similarly unpredictable and unexpected. Exactly like Threats in SW. And we have Opportunities to go full pulp anyway, so why bother about that? 

Which is factually incorrect, because Narrative Events also can trigger Strife. Sure, your GM might not decide to do that, but...you can also ask for that. Its in the rules. 

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5 minutes ago, WHW said:

Which is factually incorrect, because Narrative Events also can trigger Strife. Sure, your GM might not decide to do that, but...you can also ask for that. Its in the rules. 

Ah, I stand corrected. Though at this point, I seriously doubt why we have Strife if simple GM/player investment can make it happen, and it is acknowledged even in the rules. 

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25 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

Hey, Strife is a series of random unfortunate events, specifically emotional upheaval. As I mentioned in another thread, you can have ridiculous situations with Strife like witnessing your loved ones being eaten by an oni and walk away completely untouched because you don't make any rolls. Strife is as random as it can be, and similarly unpredictable and unexpected. Exactly like Threats in SW. And we have Opportunities to go full pulp anyway, so why bother about that? 

Just because you're strife meter isn't filled up you are forbidden for roleplaying a breakdown when find your loved ones murdered?

That's an odd interpretation. Look, nothing in these rules dictates how you play your character. Even during an outburst you remain in control, and nobody expects your character to shrug and walk away from such a scene...

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1 minute ago, Doji Namika said:

Just because you're strife meter isn't filled up you are forbidden for roleplaying a breakdown when find your loved ones murdered?

That's an odd interpretation. Look, nothing in these rules dictates how you play your character. Even during an outburst you remain in control, and nobody expects your character to shrug and walk away from such a scene...

I think the argumen tis more that if strife as mechanic is trying to simulate the conflicting feelings of a samurai and how these feelinsg effect him it does a bad job in this case.
The reason being that the oni eating your family has not an automatic trigger for you to have an outburst or at least get some strife despite being a very emotinional taxing siituation.

That obviously can be fixed if you modify the rules for it to make static, non dice reliant, ways to get strife and outbreaks possible via the mechanics. So that might be the way
to go to make it less random.

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9 minutes ago, Doji Namika said:

Just because you're strife meter isn't filled up you are forbidden for roleplaying a breakdown when find your loved ones murdered?

1

No, but if I can just roleplay either way, then there is no point having Strife and Outburst in the first place. I can always roleplay, whenever I want, however I want, and now I can even use Opportunities to set up the scene to my liking. It is pointless to have a clock for it. 

Otherwise, what Teveshszat said. Strife is not really doing what it intends to do, and when it does it goes full random or gets handwaved away with GM/player judgment. Either scenario is... subpar in my opinion. At which point I should ask why bother with it at all. The amount of attention and investment that goes toward managing Strife can be better used for actual roleplaying. 

Edited by AtoMaki

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Strife acts like a barometer to help you know the mental state of your character. I find it strange that people have issue with this, but have no problem with wounds/HP etc. that simply show the physical state of your character.

Saying 'I don't want to Strife telling me how I should RP' is like saying 'I don't want wounds telling me I can't stand up'. We accept that physical damage effects our character and we are even forced to modify our roleplaying in games based upon wounded conditions. This is no difference really, it's just newer and more alien and therefore people are having a harder time embracing it.

You get to pick your outbursts and you get to decide how Strife effects you for the most part, so really it is there to help  you. Rather like looking at your wound track helps you know if you should act debilitated and hurt, strife helps you determine if you should be more fraught.

Of course, you may say you don't need help in knowing your character's state and should be able to RP without (you could say, I don't need wounds, I know in my head how badly I'd be hurt!). The bottom line really is that this isn't there as an RP guide/restriction so much as it's there as a second health track, monitoring your mental health as opposed to physical health, because the game wants to emphasis the psychological impact of being samurai as much as the physical impact of mixing it up with your katana.

Edited by Bazakahuna

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57 minutes ago, Doji Namika said:

Just because you're strife meter isn't filled up you are forbidden for roleplaying a breakdown when find your loved ones murdered?

That's an odd interpretation. Look, nothing in these rules dictates how you play your character. Even during an outburst you remain in control, and nobody expects your character to shrug and walk away from such a scene...

At the same time, the beta specifically says 'narrative events can give you strife' - what is arguably needed is a more specific description (say with 2-3 tiers of examples) of exactly how much strife we should be looking at throwing at the players.. 

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