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Bazakahuna

The Philosophy vs. The Mechanics of Strife

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I came across something I felt was at odds in the last session we played.

I attempted to embrace the philosophy of strife as advised by people on this forum and even in the email from the designers, I didn't shy away from outburst. I actually quite enjoyed roleplaying it and found it liberating to not worry about it... that was, until I wanted to get into a duel.

Now as a Kakita Duelist I shouldn't be shying away from duels, however, in following the philosophy of strife I happened to be very close to outburst at the time. This is kind of an issue. Sure, outburst when embraced is actually quite fun, but getting a killing blow done against you in a duel because you didn't shy away from your outburst isn't.

Essentially playing a Kakita Duelist is actually entirely at odds with the desired philosophy of strife. Either I don't avoid outburst and get massacred in duels, or I do avoid outburst and therefore play against it's intended principle. I get the whole idea of strife is one of internal antagonism, this is fine when outburst is the outcome as that's just a temporary inconvenience/RP opportunity... but when the outcome is death or being forced to act entirely out of character...

Makes wonder if strife has a place in combat at all?

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If the duel happened in the scene immediately following its declaration - which would be strange, seeing as how duels need to be sanctioned and blessed - you should have at least had the chance to heal your Strife by your Water Ring. You could also forgo the Assessment check to heal three more. Furthermore, an in-between downtime scene in which you can follow your Passion should be enough to get you to lose three more and another opportunity to heal Strife by your Water Ring.

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1 hour ago, Bazakahuna said:

Essentially playing a Kakita Duelist is actually entirely at odds with the desired philosophy of strife. Either I don't avoid outburst and get massacred in duels, or I do avoid outburst and therefore play against it's intended principle. I get the whole idea of strife is one of internal antagonism, this is fine when outburst is the outcome as that's just a temporary inconvenience/RP opportunity... but when the outcome is death or being forced to act entirely out of character...

I would put it the other way:

  • outside a fight, it's an interesting character mechanic.
  • in a skirmish, strife is good (or at least not wholly bad) because enraged is as good for you as the enemy
  • in a duel, I agree strife is almost wholly bad. It's the 'scene tension tracker' and it's the one time you shouldn't be readily accepting an outburst, so yes, a formal duel is exactly the one time you shouldn't be happy to accept an outburst.
  • I'm not sure why this is 'being forced to act entirely out of character' - strife in a duel is largely 'the pressure getting to you' because it'll be coming from your efforts (accepting a strife result for an associated success or opportunity) or your opponent's (fire opportunities or centre actions).

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You’re not exactly roleplaying your way through duel resolution. It’s a different situation. Outside combat Strife is used to help generate samurai drama. During combat, it’s a way to win fights. If you consider Strife as entirely separate mechanics depending on what it’s used for, there is no issue. 

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Outbursting on YOUR terms is actually pretty good in duels. If one of your effects (Center, Striking as Air, etc) makes your TN to be hit very high, it's actually pretty good move to bid everything you can on Staredown and force a Finishing Blow into TN 6 or 7. It's one of reasons why "I center, you center, pass and go" is not a good thing to do.

(Center ATN bonus lasts until start of your next turn or until attacked, so if you get Finishing Blowed during Staredown, it still counts - Finishing Blow interrupts the Staredown and resolves before "your turn" can start.)

Outbursting when *your opponent* wants you to Outburst, on the other hand...

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