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FFG Max Brooke

Week 4 Content Update Overview (10/26/2017)

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Greetings L5R Open Beta testers!

As many of you know, this week's email blast contained a deep-dive into some of the matters in the content update, as well as a designer diary into our take on the venerable and beloved 20 Questions!

Beyond the designer diary, here's an overview of what we covered in the newsletter:

Strife and Unmasking

“Unmasking” is the new term for “outbursts,” and it functions in a slightly different way. We want people who were enjoying the outburst system to be able to play it almost exactly the same way—but we also want people who feel their samurai should be able to remain stoic to have that flexibility. As such, when a character’s strife exceeds their composure, they become compromised. While compromised, a character cannot keep dice with strife symbols. By unmasking, a character can rid themself of this strife, and their player can roleplay how the scene transpires.
 
We hope that this system will have greater flexibility, helping to underscore player agency while still offering all the roleplaying cues and interesting mechanical interactions around emotions that others like about the previous outburst system!
 
Wounds become Fatigue
Based on the poll and a lengthy internal discussion, wounds are being re-themed as fatigue—reflecting exertion as a character grows more vulnerable to a hit that causes a serious injury (still represented by critical strikes).
 
Duels
Duel objectives have been reframed and reworked to better fit into the lore of the setting, including a variety of iconic duel types (formal Iaijutsu duels, open duels between combatants, and Taryu-Jiai between shugenja)
 
Stances
Several stances have received a bit of a retuning (Water and Air).
 
Iaijutsu Technique
Instead of being represented with a single technqiue, Iaijutsu has been split into two techniques, with a few more to come in the future. 
 
Action Economy Revisions
During a conflict, movement (beyond one range band) and weapon manipulation are more restricted, often requiring an action. However, the Water stance now grants the ability to perform an action without a check. Further, certain abilities help to mitigate these restrictions (such as Iaijutsu Cuts).
 
Finally, per the earlier announcement post on the topic, the content update itself (and the preview for a certain popular Minor Clan) can be found here.

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19 minutes ago, okuma said:

I really liked the elegant solution to the Mantis family name and lots of the changes are things I hoped would happen.

I know I'm going to tick-off some folks on this site, but I never really liked the Mantis as presented in the 1st-4th ed rpg or the original card game.

To me they where portrayed as the "Mary-Sue" clan.

If you need a clan to do something and can't make it work with any other clan, use the Mantis.

If no other clan fits, use the Mantis.

Need to get rid of the over abundance of minor after the meta-plot, Have them join the Mantis.

This got old really quick.

So the new portrayal of the clan as outsiders, and a motley crew of pirates fits well to what they where at the start IMHO.

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2 hours ago, tenchi2a said:

I know I'm going to tick-off some folks on this site, but I never really liked the Mantis as presented in the 1st-4th ed rpg or the original card game.

To me they where portrayed as the "Mary-Sue" clan.

If you need a clan to do something and can't make it work with any other clan, use the Mantis.

If no other clan fits, use the Mantis.

Need to get rid of the over abundance of minor after the meta-plot, Have them join the Mantis.

This got old really quick.

So the new portrayal of the clan as outsiders, and a motley crew of pirates fits well to what they where at the start IMHO.

The 1st edition rpg Mantis clan was nearly copy and paste what is in this rpg. And was like this in the original card game until the Day of Thunder. Before that, lots of what you are listing was the Crane clan. Also, first clan to absorb a Minor clan was the Crab, with the Falcon. And at his core (especially during Aramasu's and Kitao's rule), the pirate aspect was really important. They had an entire family of Wako in the second edition. You just remember only the fancy cliché who wasn't the clan in its majority (just like people thought for years most of the Crane clan's military forces were the Daidoji harassers ninjas).

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1 hour ago, okuma said:

The 1st edition rpg Mantis clan was nearly copy and paste what is in this rpg. And was like this in the original card game until the Day of Thunder. Before that, lots of what you are listing was the Crane clan. Also, first clan to absorb a Minor clan was the Crab, with the Falcon. And at his core (especially during Aramasu's and Kitao's rule), the pirate aspect was really important. They had an entire family of Wako in the second edition. You just remember only the fancy cliché who wasn't the clan in its majority (just like people thought for years most of the Crane clan's military forces were the Daidoji harassers ninjas).

Maybe still never liked them :)

 

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The issue isn't whether or not you like them.

The question is, "Are the mechanics suitable for using them as PC's?"

For me, that question is only answerable once we see the school package.

If your answer is, "There can be no useable mantis" - well, they're canon still, so a more constructive approach might be silence, or looking at the mechanical balance.

 

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5 hours ago, AK_Aramis said:

The issue isn't whether or not you like them.

The question is, "Are the mechanics suitable for using them as PC's?"

For me, that question is only answerable once we see the school package.

If your answer is, "There can be no useable mantis" - well, they're canon still, so a more constructive approach might be silence, or looking at the mechanical balance.

 

As I said I like what they are doing with them.

I did not like what they became in the other editions. 

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On 10/29/2017 at 4:04 AM, Doji Meshou said:

I like the new mechanic.

I do not like the new name.

Same.

But it has a weak spot. It no longer clearly has a "forced unmasking" threshold - and it does need that for cases of strife-generating processes ...

Say, twice composure?

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20 minutes ago, WHW said:

Im not sure if Forced Unmasking is needed. The consequence of remaining compromised is having miserable restriction on keeping dice that eviscerates ring dice and blunts skill dice as well.

I agree. "Your rolls are screwed until you unmask" is fine by me.

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2 hours ago, Doji Meshou said:

I agree. "Your rolls are screwed until you unmask" is fine by me.

Thirded. Sometimes you only  need to hang  on for those few extra seconds before a conflict  is resolved, and then you can crash.  I like  it.

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I'm not a fan of honor duels being re-framed as iaijutsu-only duels, and duels between different weapons and styles being relegated to ronin and what not.  I have gone over this to death in the balance and lore forums both, but it is much more interesting and exciting to me to have each clan use their iconic styles and weapon in an honor duel instead of everyone doing iaijutsu.

I agree with the mechanics-good, name-bad crowd, for unmasking.   

Also agree with the lack of need for a "forced unmasking".

When it comes to mechanics changes I like that water and earth opportunities have their strife reduction lowered.  I am still not liking how the most important rings for strife manipulation are Water and Fire, and duels are based mostly around strife manipulation, but the rings of the school that produces the "best duelists in the empire" are air and earth.  Earth has a very small effect of strife reduction, and air has none.  The new opportunity for air in a duel that lets the player choose the disadvantage given is nice, but you have to be the one with the finishing blow for that to happen.

Air stance's tn increase being based on rank is ok.  Water stance's change seems fine.

Iaijutsu cut: Rising blade is a good technique.  I like the precedence this is setting, for styles to get multiple techniques that all fit a theme.  Like Mirumoto having "Niten:" techniques, or Bayushi having left handed "Hidari:"techniques.  I think Iaijutsu cut is a bit limiting and redundant, as is horizontal blade.  Iaijutsu: horizontal cut would allow for an easier naming convention, not just for Iaijutsu, but for other styles that will be written 3 years from now.

Nodachi seems odd.  The deadliness of a 2-handed Nodachi is less than the deadliness of a 2-handed wakizashi??!?  The damage and deadliness of all weapons in this game feels low.  I am used to a high risk/high reward L5R, where hitting is difficult, but when you do, it usually dies.  It seems intrinsic to this game that you expect to get hit much more often, but be able to shrug off many hits as well.  I am not really a big fan of this, but if it is a core mechanic to haw most of this system is designed, there isn't much use complaining about it.  Also armor is too high, especially clothing.  Clothing giving damage reduction really feels silly.  

While I am on it, what is the deal with a two handed wakizashi and two handed dagger, but a chokutō is (rightly) only one handed?  I don't know if that is a mechanics oversight or an error, but that should get fixed somewhere. 

Wounds as fatigue: doesn't feel right to me.  I swing my Nodachi at you and hit!  You are now... tired?  The damage vs deadliness combo seems odd, because if damage only causes fatigue, what good is it really? 

Perhaps you can allow players to SPEND fatigue to mitigate damage instead of a fatigue threshold.  Probably not as much as the number of wounds/fatigue you have now, probably more like half.  A pool of like 4-6 fatigue that you can use to spend one for one to stop damage would do the same thing as "fatigue as wounds" with out the players feeling like their weapons don't do anything other than tire people out.  Spending fatigue could be described as getting out of the way of a strike, or even stepping into it so that it rebounds off a particularly solid armor bit.  Armor would still reduce damage before spending fatigue as normal. If damage after reduction>0, then the Damage after reduction+deadliness = critical strike value.  Critical strikes can still be gotten for 2 opportunities with the strike action, and are useful for getting past armor and fatigue pools.  


 

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5 hours ago, sushicaddy said:

I'm not a fan of honor duels being re-framed as iaijutsu-only duels, and duels between different weapons and styles being relegated to ronin and what not.  I have gone over this to death in the balance and lore forums both, but it is much more interesting and exciting to me to have each clan use their iconic styles and weapon in an honor duel instead of everyone doing iaijutsu.


 

Disagree. 

Duels in Rokugan are, among other things, a significant part of its judicial system. The game (not to mention the game world) benefits from having one primary method for trial by combat. 

Iaijutsu duelists are Rokugani lawyers. It's insane but engaging. Diluting that with umpteen other primary methods of dueling dilutes the fiction and the in-game mechanism.

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As I call out here: 

 

Clarification is needed on when a character can Unmask during the process of making a check. In specific, can I Unmask after I have rolled dice, but before I have chosen my kept dice? And if my Unmasking lowers a TN, do I check against the original TN or the new, modified TN?

Edited by sndwurks

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I like the change to fatigue. I look at combat less, now as a battle of a thousand cuts and more of a trading of blows meant to stymie and exhaust your opponent until that one fateful cut. People, I feel should definitely narrate their scenes differently because of that. With talk about how an opponent's blow knocked them off balance and the effort it took to regain their footing, or how they just barely parried their opponent's swing with a planted foot and swift up cut that caused a hitch in their breath. Breath in particular being a very prominent aspect of combat.

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