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Ultimatecalibur

Would it be better if the term Outburst was replaced with Face/On Cracking?

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I've been thing about a lot of the complaints about Outbursts and wonder if it would be more acceptable for some if it was described in terms of On/Face instead of emotional actions.

For example:

On - Samurai are expected to hide their personal emotions and show only a neutral stoic face.

Cracked On - The first time each scene that a character's Strife exceeds their Composure their On Cracks and is slightly revealing the samurai's actual emotions.

We can even add a third level:

Shattered On - Whenever a character's Strife exceeds x2 their Composure their On Shatters putting all of the samurai's emotions on display.

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I think the problem is a lot more complicated than a simple renaming and some light tweaks could fix it. 

Like, while Strife/Outburst pretends to be an essential core mechanic and all that, there are a great many ways to completely negate it, either via mechanics or simple narrative choice. In my opinion, we gotta fix this one first: make Strife/Outburst seamlessly fit into all stories and characters, make it add something meaningful in every situation, and turn it into something that can be good or bad, so players won't feel pushed to find a way around it. Like, OK, I'm aware that it is working for a specific group of players, but what about making it work for everyone else too?

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I think renaming it could be a great step to solve the problem with outburst.
I for example thought for a long time now that outburst is some rage induced state where your scream at the other or show some other sign of lack of control.
I found out that thats is not the onyl way it can be portarayed. The bond villian who explains it plan to bond also can be used as outburst.
Kefka who enjoys the screaming of one hundredthousand souls in union also has a kind of outburst, but it is joy here.
So outburst is far more multilayered and does not have to be inherently negative for the character you play.  But thats sadly what the name suggests it to be.
So yeah I think it needs a different name but I am not sure if  cracked on fits it so well as the outburst is a clear display of emotions and not only a hint of it.
But on as nameshoudl be better than outburst.

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Not On, but if you find a proper term that actually fits, sure. But remember that it should be a one word thing that can easily be woven into sentences like "suffering an X", as it's a term for mechanical effect. 

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Renaming it wouldn't change anything. The system simply needs to go. Unfortunately, I suspect a significant investment has been made in the new dice, otherwise why else would FFG defend this system against such vocal opposition?

I've run various games (D&D, L5R, SR, almost everything WW, BESM, WHFRP, SH and it's like, and on and on) for well over half my lifespan. Nineteen years of running games and playing in games in a variety of situations, schedules and age groups. The Strife mechanic is trying to solve a very specific problem that I've only encountered on a handful of occasions, where you have some players who decide that their samurai character is a reactionless stoic hardass who is never tempted into displaying emotion. The problem is that this is a self-fixing problem- a perfectly honourable character is a total bore to play, so in order for players to get more fun out of their time investment all of these characters crack eventually.

There are two problems with the Strife system as a mechanic.
One: It's completely contextless. You're as likely to gain strife on mundane skill checks as in deeply emotional moments. A GM who is kind might allow some leeway in this regard, but asking people to (effectively) house rule your own system right out of the gate seems like a poor move to me.
Two: It deeply muddies roleplaying. Not only is there the obvious factor of being forced to have an outburst when the player doesn't believe it would be appropriate, but it also disincentives normal roleplay- why would I have a natural outburst now when I might gain more Strife later that I will need to bleed off?

I can't even be certain who this mechanic is supposed to help. All the experienced roleplayers I've spoken to about this hate it as it interferes with their fun. None of the new, inexperienced roleplayers I've ever run games for need help acting out emotionally, and in the context of L5R their problem is the complete opposite. It's just... there, this deeply unpleasant dead goat corpse tied to a system the audience for this game is already inclined to hate.

Have fun gilding a turd if you want, but a name change isn't going to make this much more palatable.

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14 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

I think the problem is a lot more complicated than a simple renaming and some light tweaks could fix it. 

Like, while Strife/Outburst pretends to be an essential core mechanic and all that, there are a great many ways to completely negate it, either via mechanics or simple narrative choice. In my opinion, we gotta fix this one first: make Strife/Outburst seamlessly fit into all stories and characters, make it add something meaningful in every situation, and turn it into something that can be good or bad, so players won't feel pushed to find a way around it. Like, OK, I'm aware that it is working for a specific group of players, but what about making it work for everyone else too?

idk - I love it when my character has an outburst.  I get to cuss at someone, and ignore an interpersonal disadvantage.  I almost see it as a good thing except my Glory will erode.

Granted the description for Become Enraged is a bit hard core, but why does everyone seem to pick that one?  The other 4 are all pretty cool, and actually useful.  Even if you like the idea of the Becoming Enraged one you aren't forced to pick that one every time.  In Chargen it says to list your most common outburst, not pick the only way your character acts out.

Become Enraged needs to be toned down a tad, but the rest are actually great!  Two of them are basically advantages where you lose a few points of honor or glory, negate a weakness, and carry on.  Expose a Weakness is easy to fall back on in combat as you're likely to kill whoever you expose it to anyway, and Shut Down is a natural defense in political scenes if you just want an out.

It might even be good for me to use Become Enraged at some point since my character has Incurable Illness adversity, and this kinda gives me the option for some hulk strength if I needed my character to do something muscley.

Edited by shosuko

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18 hours ago, Ultimatecalibur said:

Shattered On - Whenever a character's Strife exceeds x2 their Composure their On Shatters putting all of the samurai's emotions on display.

I'm not sure I could keep a straight face if I had to own up to 'being shattered on'

I don't really have an issue with 'outburst'. However I figured that as the issue seems to come from people being forced to do something negative, I felt like a word that took the onus away from that would be better and I went for 'Lapse'. Reason being: that can imply a return to a more natural state, as though you are constantly in an artificial one and when your strife is too high, instead of freaking out, you return to being a simple (and flawed) human being, you let your guard down and 'Lapse'... lapse in concentration etc.

Edited by Bazakahuna

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3 hours ago, Bazakahuna said:

I went for 'Lapse'. Reason being: that can imply a return to a more natural state, as though you are constantly in an artificial one and when your strife is too high, instead of freaking out, you return to being a simple (and flawed) human being, you let your guard down and 'Lapse'... lapse in concentration etc.

I like 'Lapse', it seems like a really good term to use, and something players might be more accommodating to allowing their characters to experience, than the harsh-sounding Outburst. 

It also fits well with the duelling, as the first lapse allows your opponent a finishing blow.

Good word choice.

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5 hours ago, shosuko said:

idk - I love it when my character has an outburst.  I get to cuss at someone, and ignore an interpersonal disadvantage.  I almost see it as a good thing except my Glory will erode.

2

We tend to simply roleplay these at a whim. if the player feels like his/her character is becoming emotional, then he/she plays it up. If something more serious is in the mind, then a note is passed to the GM. Heck, it looks like the latter is a goner because the player can set up a nice narrative scene for roleplaying with Opportunities - so that even the GM will be surprised when everything comes together. 

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6 hours ago, shosuko said:

idk - I love it when my character has an outburst.  I get to cuss at someone, and ignore an interpersonal disadvantage.  I almost see it as a good thing except my Glory will erode.

Granted the description for Become Enraged is a bit hard core, but why does everyone seem to pick that one?  The other 4 are all pretty cool, and actually useful.  Even if you like the idea of the Becoming Enraged one you aren't forced to pick that one every time.  In Chargen it says to list your most common outburst, not pick the only way your character acts out.

Become Enraged needs to be toned down a tad, but the rest are actually great!  Two of them are basically advantages where you lose a few points of honor or glory, negate a weakness, and carry on.  Expose a Weakness is easy to fall back on in combat as you're likely to kill whoever you expose it to anyway, and Shut Down is a natural defense in political scenes if you just want an out.

It might even be good for me to use Become Enraged at some point since my character has Incurable Illness adversity, and this kinda gives me the option for some hulk strength if I needed my character to do something muscley.

Bayushi Manipulator is tailor made for chasing outbursts - use your Anxieties to fuel Outbursts, grab Void Points, Expose A Weakness to these poor fools around you, and ride the train of scene-long TN reduction to your Scheme rolls. And your Glory will erode, true...so more Disadvantages to turn into fuel for your "I basically roll twice as much dice" technique. 

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The survey had "the character gets emotional" which was not too bad, since outburst seems to be too negative. I am not sure "losing face" would be better, it sure would fit the setting though.

Maybe "the character gets agitated" would fit? But that would rob me of the idea of having an outburst of laughter.

I really like the core concept of the outburst. But I thin too many perceive it as to crippling for their characters, that perception has to be dealt with! And re-naming it could be helpful in that regard. Of course designing it in a way that flows better with the game could also be helpful.

So, here an idea that just came to me, instead of having the outburst happening automatically. Maybe separating it into a condition and an effect. Like if the character is over the limit of their composure, then the character gets imbalanced, that show their emotions and can thus be negative social situations, but also give the character to have an outburst of passion that they can use in a positive way. So that people actually want to build strife for the moments when tehy release their emotions.

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The problem with "losing Face" is that in Japan and China, "Face" is not actually what original designers of L5R thought it was. "Face" is social perception of you - in current mechanics, Glory  is the best equivalent. You could say that an Outburst could and often will lead to losing Face, but the act of having an Outburst isn't "losing Face" in itself. You are losing Face because you've embarrassed yourself, not because your "Face" is your composure. 

For example, you can make someone lose Face by publicly speaking about their shortfalls, but you also can give someone Face, by praising them publicly. 

This might be why you won't find a single mention of "On" and old-5R usage of "Face" in the beta, by the way.

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11 hours ago, Bazakahuna said:

I'm not sure I could keep a straight face if I had to own up to 'being shattered on'

I suspect the term would be "has a cracked/shattered mask/face/on."

2 hours ago, WHW said:

The problem with "losing Face" is that in Japan and China, "Face" is not actually what original designers of L5R thought it was. "Face" is social perception of you - in current mechanics, Glory  is the best equivalent. You could say that an Outburst could and often will lead to losing Face, but the act of having an Outburst isn't "losing Face" in itself. You are losing Face because you've embarrassed yourself, not because your "Face" is your composure. 

For example, you can make someone lose Face by publicly speaking about their shortfalls, but you also can give someone Face, by praising them publicly. 

This might be why you won't find a single mention of "On" and old-5R usage of "Face" in the beta, by the way.

Thanks for the correction.

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We are not in Japan or China (And if you are you probably understand the meaning of this in L5R).

But anyway, i like outburst. If people are having a problem with it. I think the "Unmasking" presented is cool too.

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On 10/18/2017 at 10:36 PM, shosuko said:

Granted the description for Become Enraged is a bit hard core, but why does everyone seem to pick that one?

   Agreed. Let's say your character is trying to woo the beautiful Crane maiden.  Sure, he needs to start off being very proper, but at at some point, your character may decide to go for broke and inflame her desire. Roll them bones, use the Strife for Bonus Successes, and suffer an Outburst.  In a burst of passion, your character reveals a weakness, but the Crane finds your vulnerability endearing (we hope).

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On 19/10/2017 at 6:44 PM, Drudenfusz said:

So, here an idea that just came to me, instead of having the outburst happening automatically. Maybe separating it into a condition and an effect. Like if the character is over the limit of their composure, then the character gets imbalanced, that show their emotions and can thus be negative social situations, but also give the character to have an outburst of passion that they can use in a positive way. So that people actually want to build strife for the moments when tehy release their emotions.

At first glance, this just seems to call for a second layer of the risk/reward mechanic already hard (physically, even) built into the dice with their faces showing Strife in conjunction with another symbol.

Which, if we read Strife as a built-up of emotion/agitation, brings me to suggesting Release as an alternate name for Outburst.

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4 hours ago, blut_und_glas said:

Which, if we read Strife as a built-up of emotion/agitation, brings me to suggesting Release as an alternate name for Outburst.

A good release would likely help most of our characters. waggles eyebrows suggestively

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Yeah.. I don’t know why some players would balk at having an “Outburst”... maybe the name is part of the reason? But as was pointed out, it’s not all negative! The rules do say “there should be narrative consequences, usually both for good and for ill”. The bonuses can be pretty interesting depending on the circumstances. I would see those in the same way as guidelines in an impro theatre show (many of the rules devices in this edition feel like that to me). It takes some efforts from both players and GM to make the best of it, but it can be very rewarding. 

The constraints imposed on the player is pretty mild. When my Wounds exceed my Resilience, I am incapacitated - this really constrains me and is only downside. When my Strife exceeds my Composure, I grab the spotlight and can pick one out of a varied collection of funny side effects! And sometimes even grab a Void point.

Now if the timing feels artificial and forced to some, one could allow a PC to have their outburst any time their Strife is greater than half their Composure (so that at least the Strife still goes down at the end of the scene). The character feels that he’s starting to lose his sh**, that he could hold for a while longer, but decides he’s had enough and blows off steam, so to speak. It gives a bit more freedom as to when the scene happens.

Oh and back on topic, I kinda like “Lapse” as an alternative too :) 

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I really enjoy Outburst. It feels like common use english rather than gamey jargon and it's evocative of what it is--emotion built up to a breaking point where you can't help it anymore and something slips out. You cry or you smile or you laugh. That seems pretty straightforward.

Oh and awesome!

That this is the central focus of the game; a game with magic and gods and zombies and kung fu.

That the central focus is on the human drama of these people shouldering responsibilities that are so all pervasive and huge that they are supposed to literally negate who they are as human beings--and the impossibility of carrying around that kind of burden without your emotions suddenly and uncontrollably manifesting in startling ways.

I love that so much.

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I have been stumped on this one as well, actually. In the Balance forum, I actually worked with a few people to create alternative ways of approaching the Strife / Outburst mechanic to try to make it more integral to the game and clean up a few of its issues (shameless plug: https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/261148-proposed-change-outburst-rules/).

However, the naming of the effect as an "Outburst" is also problematic. As any fan of Japanese cinema and theater will tell you, characters do drop their On when the situation calls for it and it is not considered shameful, as long as it is done correctly. The servant weeping open tears at the death of their lord, the warrior smiling before going to the battle he knows will kill him, the scorned lover tearing out her hair and hurling a curse at her former paramour... these are all staples of the genre L5R is meant to emulate.

I am, sadly, not an expert at the Japanese language nor cultural idioms. However, I am curious if there is a term in Japanese which describes the moment a person expresses an overwhelming emotion. If we are looking for a "gaming jargon" term to use, we should probably use that. We are already using Giri, Ninjo, Kata, Shuji, Bushi, Shugenja, and many more Japanese terms to describe concepts which do not necessarily have complete translations or encapsulate cultural touchstones that are different from Western ideals. This is an opportunity, I feel, for that.

 

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So I did a little research this afternoon and was able to dig up how the idea of Outbursts work in real world japanese culture. The results were interesting. I'm not sure if they're particularly helpful.

Tatemae is the word for what you genuinely feel, your true human feelings. It is your 'true sound' as though you were a musical instrument. You are expected to hide that under what's called honne, your guise.

In America we would call this being suave or politic. It's how you are at work, when you're with a customer. A true lapse in honne isn't some dramatic moment where under stress the clouds part and you see a glimpse of the true person within--it's more a moment of social awkwardness that's seen as unhelpful, selfish and childish. There's a social lubricant that everyone uses to smoothly navigate the day and here comes a guy who doesn't have any. Typically if you're being nice, you cover for them. You work extra hard to smooth over the interactions in the way they are failing to. This is you doing them a solid for them not having their crap together and they would be remiss at not being grateful for it.

Thus there's not really a word in japanese for what we want Outburst to mean--because real honne doesn't work like that. The actual words for outburst are boppatsu (something that happens suddenly), gekihatsu (when something flares up or spasms, like a sore knee) or bakuhatsu (when something explodes in an unexpected, damaging way--like a bomb). None of these are really things that describe people and I think in japanese were you to try to use bakuhatsu to describe a breech of civility they would think you didn't speak very good japanese.

Words that do seem to describe what we're looking for are more like:

Haji: embarrassment, chagrin, humiliation, disgrace, scandal, shame, mortification (this is the most common one used to describe a breech of honne ettiquette)

Samoshī: mean, selfish or self-centered

Wagamama: disobedience, brattiness, self-indulgeant

See how there's not much romanticizing going on here?

I thought maybe something like a word for nervous breakdown might help get us to where we want to go. It certainly seems like what's going on with a samurai who under the weight of too much Strife, just can't take it anymore. There's Shinkei Suijaku, but that seems to be a clinical term that doesn't have the informal conversational sense I think we're looking for.

There is a phenomenon in modern japan of kids snapping under the pressure of japanese society and becoming teenage shut ins called hikikomoriThey don't break it down that I can find but hiki means to carry, ko means young or little, and mori means forest--children getting carried off into the forest?

https://alumni.berkeley.edu/california-magazine/september-october-2006-global-warning/japans-nervous-breakdown Here's an article about the phenomenon.

Shinkei suijak

Shinkei suijaku

Edited by Agasha_Kazusinge

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