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defendi

Advancement and Folio Speed

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Has it struck anyone else that the school skill in the advancement portfolios for some schools just really, really favor speedy advancement over others? For instance, looking at most of the bushi schools, I'd be happy almost never going out of my school skills, but most shugenja schools (except Kuni), I'd likely spend half my xp outside of school skills. At the end of my second session, my bushi are all second rank and my non-crab shugenja has barely moved the needle. :) And looking at what their spending on, I can't blame any of them for roleplaying choices. :)

Edit: I stand corrected, one of my Bushi couldn't spend his 16th xp, so he didn't rank.

Edited by defendi

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So I'm only just coming up on this.  My group has gained a total of 14 xp.  Each character has spent at least 2 xp out of class of their first 8, we just awarded the next 6.  When we play next we'll see who sticks to the advancement chart vs who strays.  We play about 4 hours when we get together, and it might take another play session for characters to complete the rank 2 advancements.

I think this is going to come down to how much the GM pushes diversity by requiring varied skill checks.  If you require your Bushi to use Courtesy, Games, Sentiment, Culture, Survival, ect then they'll want to rank them up.  If you're playing a more combat focused story then Bushi don't need to step outside - so part of this is up to the GM and the type of story they want to play.

The other major factor is also going to be whether or not you play "hard rules" for ranking up.  Technically once a character fills out their 1st rank check boxes they are supposed to visit back to their school to receive their rank.  Using this you can hold a character back from ranking up until all players would be rewarded by making such a downtime activity.  Being different ranks in this system shouldn't matter too much - as simply ranking up doesn't change much - but you might do this just to ensure the group feels they are together, and advancing as a group rather than 1-2 players speed ranking while the others wonder if they're doing it right...

I'll follow up after my next play session with more experience though.  We have an Outrider, Ise Zumi, Infiltrator, Purifier, and Manipulator.  We'll see who tends to advance faster out of these ^_^

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Remember that conflicts - including social ones like intrigue - are structured into turns. During each turn, each character may take only one action. A single action is very unlikely to win an entire conflict, as conflict objective goals can require double-digits point values (for example, "this conflict ends when either side accumulates 16 points"). In general, you want to make sure that your character can do something interesting in each instance of a conflict in your campaign, as giving up your turn robs your group of 1/X of your total actions per turn, where X is your group's total size. With how versatile are the skills and opportunities, and the fact that there are no more "combat" and "social" and "mental" ring traits, a one or two rank investment into a variety of skills gives you INCREDIBLE value in the context of your group's efficiency in tackling conflicts. 

Sure, your bushi CAN just assist the courtier, probably making him gain 1 extra Rhetorical point, but at this point you are abandoning majority of your tactical options while also exposing a weakness to exploit by enemy tactics.

While this might be counter-intuitive to players who have been brought up on games that are heavy on niche protection and punish you from straying from your niche and enforce "focused moments of spotlight" on specialists that have to optimize themselves for their main role and nobody else should do so, this game wants you to be versatile and generally useful at any time. You might be *less* adept at tackling heavy TNs of more daring actions, but you still can attempt the easier ones, and use the Opportunities to change the board towards your group favor. 

Would you rather gain 3 more rhetorical points, or 1 rhetorical point + decrease of your groups next Tn by 1 + increase of enemy groups next TN by 1? 

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On 10/22/2017 at 0:37 AM, shosuko said:

e type of story they want to play.

The other major factor is also going to be whether or not you play "hard rules" for ranking up.  Technically once a character fills out their 1st rank check boxes they are supposed to visit back to their school to receive their rank.  Using this you can hold a character back from ranking up until all players would be rewarded by making such a downtime activity.  Being different ranks in this system shouldn't matter too much - as simply ranking up doesn't change much - but you might do this just to ensure the group feels they are together, and advancing as a group rather than 1-2 players speed ranking while the others wonder if they're doing it right...

I'll follow up after my next play session with more experience though.  We have an Outrider, Ise Zumi, Infiltrator, Purifier, and Manipulator.  We'll see who tends to advance faster out of these ^_^

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Well, remember they always get points for rings. I'm requiring a lot of courtesy and such, but right now, all the bushi are just concentrating all that work on their rings.

Edited by defendi

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On 22/10/2017 at 3:37 AM, shosuko said:

I'll follow up after my next play session with more experience though.  We have an Outrider, Ise Zumi, Infiltrator, Purifier, and Manipulator.  We'll see who tends to advance faster out of these ^_^

My party has an Outrider, Ise Zumi and Purifier, and I'm struggling to find ways to get them to work together (while avoiding the classic "you're magistrates"). Mostly the monk is what's throwing me off my game. Any suggestions?

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My party has a Commander, a Diplomat, and an Elementalist. After roughly 48xp, my Commander is finally up to School Rank 2 while the Elementalist is getting there slowly. This is mostly due to me being largely satisfied with my Rings while the other characters bumping Rings like crazy from their xp. Tho if I had known that the Commander bonus advancement kata is Iron Forest Style then I would have stepped up sooner. 

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2 hours ago, MaoYoruichi said:

My party has an Outrider, Ise Zumi and Purifier, and I'm struggling to find ways to get them to work together (while avoiding the classic "you're magistrates"). Mostly the monk is what's throwing me off my game. Any suggestions?

What I typically do is I pick one player to be kinda the "key" or "leader" character for whatever the greater arc is, and then I design the party around it.  For this group the lead character is the Ise Zumi.  The player wanted to model an Ise Zumi after the crazy Irishman from Bravehart, talking to togashi constantly and such.

As we built the Ise Zumi we developed that he would be widely traveled, beyond the Kaiu wall, through the burning sands, and beyond.  He had a compulsion to cure the sick, which has lead to many far reaching expeditions.  The group then became a Kuni Purifier with a lot of experience in the Shadowlands, a Unicorn who works as a bodyguard and escort beyond the boarders to the burning sands, and a Scorpion Actress with consumption.  The Monk appealed to each of these to join him on the journey, knowing of them from his previous expeditions.  The new mission is a greater story-arch involving a total free-for-all clan war across Rokugan, so the Monk would want allies with vision that goes beyond the empire, as their own clans would grow to disprove of their actions as the fractured alliances turn to bloodshed.

As another example - I am running a second group in Otosan Uchi.  The key character here is a young courtier recently adopted into the Crane.  He is being groomed for a greater arch if he can put together the right alliances.  To aid him he's been assigned a Daidoji Magistrate who protects him and advises him in law, and a shugenja socialite who is just too friendly to refuse a request from a "friend."

Each character does have their own drives and ambitions, but starting with 1 character fully designed (often whichever player has sorta-inspired the group) I can get the rest to fit in before we get to the specifics of clans and stats.  Sometimes its also good to just ask the players why they think their characters would work together, like did they know the other characters ahead of time?  Are they assigned by their lord to this service?  I feel this typically generates some decent organic origin story for the group, and you can play from there. 

Edited by shosuko

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3 minutes ago, shosuko said:

[snip]

Thank you, this is really helpful! Of the three, the Kuni purifier is an experienced roleplayer with a lot of 4e games under her belt, the other two are new to Rokugan but have played a fair bit of D&D, so building arcs around the Kuni sounds like a good plan. 

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