Jump to content
Ben Riggs

Ran beta. It didn't go well.

Recommended Posts

"It is bad when one thing becomes two. One should not look for anything else in the Way of the Samurai."

                                      -Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Hagakure

Monday night, I ran a playtest of the L5R beta test rules. I've played or run every edition of L5R, and I'm going to say it's my favorite RPG. I really wanted these rules to be good. I'm even okay with FFG's funny dice, but these rules are problematic. They seem unattached to a simulating a physical reality, and are the most complex ruleset I think I've ever attempted to run.  

I say that with some hesitation, as I like the folks over at FFG, and I want them to succeed in this, but by gum, there are a number of deep and abiding issues with the rules.

For example, skill rolls. Skills have been around since RuneQuest, and there are a number of clever simple skill systems around. But in FFG L5R, to make a skill roll there are likely charts you must consult, and the GM has to make a ruling on it. In this ruleset, you roll your skill plus your Ring (Air, Earth, Fire, Water, or Void) and keep a number of dice equal to your ring. Sounds simple, right?

Figuring out how to climb a hut took 10 minutes.

Why was this so hard?

First, there was no skill that easily applied itself to climbing. No Athletics, no Climbing, etc. Secondly, the Rings are not intuitive or concrete.  Is climbing a wall by relying on the cracks a water ring roll or an air ring roll? In other systems, I could revert to Strength or Agility depending on the "approach", but because L5R's core attributes are unmoored from physical reality, we were left adrift. 

The missing skill, okay, that could just be a lacuna in the beta. But the abstract nature of the rings, plus the fact that the GM has to rule on the ring for every single roll makes checks vague and burdensome. Also, it's a thing players can argue about. In the 21st century, I am looking for games that move work away from the GM, not on to her back. 

Combat is equally cumbersome. In the first round of combat, there are seven, I counted, SEVEN STEPS to figuring out who hit, and how much damage they did. Admittedly, three of those steps only take place on the first round of combat, or on the round an NPC is struck down, but given that short combats are more common than long, it is another burden placed between a group and enjoyment. 

To show you what I mean, the steps are: 

  1. Assessment: This is a roll to figure out things about your opponent or your situation. There are a number of issues with this mechanic. First, the check is different depending on whether or not you are in a duel, skirmish, mass combat, or social scene. The roll varies again depending on which Ring you use to make the check. Lastly, this is a core mechanic of all conflicts in the game which, near as I can tell, is meant to simulate looking your opponent up and down before fighting. It is incredibly complex, and is meant to simulate something incredibly simple. Again, looking at how other games handle this is illustrative. There would be a Notice roll, and the GM would tell the player what they notice. Compare that simplicity to a) remembering what to roll based on the 4 types of conflict, b) remembering what is produced depending on which fo the 5 rings is used. This ruleset is too complex!  
  2. Initiative
  3. Combat proper begins
  4. Set stance: Character has to take one of five stances, again based on one of the five rings. I would point out that literally, this means the GM needs to remember 15 data points before we even figure out who has hit in L5R beta combat. The stances aren't bad, but after the complexity of assessment it is simply stacking more complexity on this system to add stances. 
  5. Perform Action: Depending on what a character wants to do, there are mini-systems to follow. There are seven mini-systems here for a "skirmish", and they aren't individually problematic, but they mean we are now at 21 data points for a single action in a skirmish. (I would add that this is not counting fact that a number of these mini systems have unique rewards for rolling 2 opportunities, which again adds complexity and slows down the table.) If the player chooses Strike, and gets 2 successes, they hit.
  6. Target takes Wounds.
  7. (This step only happens when a PC or foe is dropped.) If Wounds exceed Resilience, a critical strike is incurred. The character is essentially out of combat, and a table is consulted to see what terrible things happen to them. 

In summary, to hit and resolve once in the first round of combat, if the hit defeated the foe, there would be 7 steps and 25 data points involved. 

Let's compare that to GUMSHOE briefly. In GUMSHOE, in the first round of combat, there are three steps (Initiative, roll to hit, apply damage) and 4 data points (The target number, the bonus to the player's roll, the damage value, and the NPC's Health.) 

In the 21st century, there have been so many innovations to gaming that solve problems like the complexity of combat, etc. But L5R seems to ignore them, and run with a design philosophy that more is more.  

The game seems to ignore all indie game innovations that makes games easier to run. It is especially hard on the GM. Tracking damage is a chore, NPC management is a chore, etc. In a world where 13th Age and Dungeon World exist to show us how to make combat fast and fun with NPCs that are a breeze,

It pains me to say it, but this is the most disturbing thing about the ruleset to me. It takes long-standing solutions to problems in RPG design and rolls them backward. Since Gygax and Arneson, people have used physical attribute stats at the table, and they've worked. The use of skills has been a problem solved in interesting and creative ways in countless dozens of games. This ruleset takes these established solutions and rolls them backwards. The use of rings instead of attributes makes play harder, not easier or more fun.  

An Apology: Cruel to be kind

Lastly, I want to say I know good and smart people are working on this. I love FFG games, and I deeply love L5R. Like I said, it's my favorite game. But this ruleset establishes problems for play at the table. Therefore, I believe if released in its current form, it will not produce the L5R renaissance I was hoping for when I heard FFG acquired the IP. 

Those are my two cents, and I hope the game is simpler, and better, when finally released. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

some conterpoint:

  • initiative uses the assessment roll and either focus or vigilance. it's not a separate roll. (Beta, p. 153)
  • Martial skills using the strike action (the basic attack action) inflict a critical by spending two opportunity. (Beta, p. 155, sidebar)
  • Gumshoe as comparitor - I know a number of people who think it utter steaming mess. 
    • not everyone likes ultralight designs
    • L5R has never been a monofocus design; gumshoe is. They aren't addressing the same audience space.
    • several other FFG designs are equally as crunchy
      • FFG Star Wars
      • presumably, Genesys
      • WFRP 3
      • FFG 40K RPGs (all of them)
      • many of the boardgames are likewise quite crunchy.
    • Only one currently supported  FFG RPG line can be considered rules light - End of the World.
  • There's no roll for taking wounds, either. The damage is usually the weapon base plus extra successes.
  • There is a roll to reduce a crit

The actual numbers, using your methodology, but the RAW... and looking at it like a programmer.

  1. Initiative & Assessment - 1 roll per character, 6 datapoints used,  6 datapoints generated (stance, bonus successes, strife taken, strife generated, opportunity generated and initiative value)
    1. Set stance - 1st round is set by assessment stance. No roll either way
  2. Perform action 1 roll maximum by the PC, even if in water and getting two stances. uses all 6 prior datapoints, modifies 3-4 of them (Bonus Successes, Opportunity, strife generated, and total strife) and adds a 7th - Damage done - which is then tracked by the other side. If combat isn't a duel, location is another datapoint.
    1. Critical hit for opportunity spends - many techniques and several action choices allow spending opportunity to crit  without damage exceeding Resilience. One datapoint used, one more generated
    2. Critical hit for wounds (aka Fatigue) > resilience  That's 2 datapoints used, one more generated
    3. Critical hit for special situations (normally techniques), usually one or two used, one more generated.
  3. Resistance roll for criticals. Again, same 6 core used, noting that 3 of them are not tracked post resolution. Modifies existing datapoints for criticals.

Now, compared to Burning Wheel...

  • Initiative - not extant - instead you have 3 actions plotted
  • Positioning - at least  one roll, with many being opposed, if anyone wants to change position. 
  • Action 1 resolves - table lookup of your action vs target. Lookup of your skill; usually also his skill. Both roll.
  • If it's an attack... calculate damage from successes, weapon, and if ranged, a die roll. Mark on the IMS track. Note dice penalties.
  • Repeat for action 2, then action 3.

For many games still sold, the number of rolls per player per turn aren't much different. And many reject reductions/simplifications.

A single attack roll in pathfinder, for example, can involve up to 15 discrete elements...

  1. Attack bonus (derived from class and level)
  2. Attribute bonus
  3. Weapon's non-magical bonus
  4. weapon's magical bonus
  5. wielder's magical bonus
  6. wielder's feat bonus
  7. range modifier
  8. target's AC
  9. target's magical bonus to AC
  10. footing modifier
  11. lighting modifier
  12. cover modifer
  13. relative position modifer
  14. multiattack penalty
  15. class bonus for specific attacks.
  16. Weapon's threat range

Some of these can have multiples.

And that's before determining damage.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎28‎/‎10‎/‎2017 at 5:06 PM, Ben Riggs said:

First, there was no skill that easily applied itself to climbing. No Athletics, no Climbing, etc.

Whilst not said explicitly, given the list of other things identified as falling under it:

  • Running
  • Leaping
  • Falling
  • Lifting
  • Moving around obstacles
  • Maintaining balance

It's the Fitness skill.

Which approach would be used for climing is a better question - it'll depend on how you need to climb (sneakily, or quickly, for example), and is the choice of the GM, not the player.

On ‎28‎/‎10‎/‎2017 at 5:06 PM, Ben Riggs said:

Is climbing a wall by relying on the cracks a water ring roll or an air ring roll?

If you're trying to use the environment around you as you climb (i.e. you're making a specific effort to do so rather than just 'because that's the obvious way to do it'), I'd say water.

On ‎28‎/‎10‎/‎2017 at 5:06 PM, Ben Riggs said:

Assessment: This is a roll to figure out things about your opponent or your situation. There are a number of issues with this mechanic. First, the check is different depending on whether or not you are in a duel, skirmish, mass combat, or social scene. The roll varies again depending on which Ring you use to make the check. Lastly, this is a core mechanic of all conflicts in the game which, near as I can tell, is meant to simulate looking your opponent up and down before fighting. It is incredibly complex, and is meant to simulate something incredibly simple. Again, looking at how other games handle this is illustrative. There would be a Notice roll, and the GM would tell the player what they notice. Compare that simplicity to a) remembering what to roll based on the 4 types of conflict, b) remembering what is produced depending on which fo the 5 rings is used. This ruleset is too complex!  

It's a bundle of things together.

  • It is your initiative roll (because the bonus successes in your assessment check determine your initiative, which is otherwise fixed)
  • It also determines what stance you are in until your first turn (important if you may potentially get thwacked before you can respond
  • The actual 'benefit of success' that you notice is often pretty minor. If it was just called 'the initiative roll' people probably wouldn't have an issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/28/2017 at 6:06 PM, Ben Riggs said:

First, there was no skill that easily applied itself to climbing. No Athletics, no Climbing, etc. Secondly, the Rings are not intuitive or concrete.  Is climbing a wall by relying on the cracks a water ring roll or an air ring roll? In other systems, I could revert to Strength or Agility depending on the "approach", but because L5R's core attributes are unmoored from physical reality, we were left adrift. 

1

Naming and explaining are poorly done in the Beta, we kinda all agree about that. Yes, Fitness is named weirdly, it should be Athletics. No, choosing a Ring shouldn't be a big deal, you just choose your highest Ring and roll with it - all you need to mind is the potential Opportunity uses. It is a lot simpler than the Beta makes it out to be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

Naming and explaining are poorly done in the Beta, we kinda all agree about that. Yes, Fitness is named weirdly, it should be Athletics. No, choosing a Ring shouldn't be a big deal, you just choose your highest Ring and roll with it - all you need to mind is the potential Opportunity uses. It is a lot simpler than the Beta makes it out to be.

And here lies one of the biggest issue with the game.

Most if not all Players are going to do just this. 

Very few outside the beta are going to take time to find the best approach, and are just going to go with their highest ring.

Yes the GM can call them on it but if they are anywhere near good role-players I can guarantee you they will come up with some answer to why it works.

Then get upset where you overrule them.

The problem here is the generic setup of the Rings.

In the other editions of the game the traits where hard to argue about. Perception was Perception, Agility was Agility. 

Here you can make-up any excuse to justify a ring to use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, tenchi2a said:

And here lies one of the biggest issue with the game.

Most if not all Players are going to do just this. 

Very few outside the beta are going to take time to find the best approach, and are just going to go with their highest ring.

Yes the GM can call them on it but if they are anywhere near good role-players I can guarantee you they will come up with some answer to why it works.

Then get upset where you overrule them.

The problem here is the generic setup of the Rings.

In the other editions of the game the traits where hard to argue about. Perception was Perception, Agility was Agility. 

Here you can make-up any excuse to justify a ring to use.

I do find this a bit confusing. 

  • Why do you feel you can always find an 'excuse' to use your best ring when you couldn't find an excuse to use your best stat?
  • Thinking 40kRPG, I agree that Perception &  Intelligence were different stats, and that an Awareness check would explicitely use Per and Common Lore use Int.
    • That said, there were still cases where someone might try and claim a choice of stat (agility versus strength for climbing, for example)
  • But I'm less sure why that would that work too differently in L5R; if you're looking around an area it's Survey, which is Air. If you're trying to see if you remember learning something previously, it's Recall, which is Earth. 
  • It's the GM, not the players, who get to decide what ring the narrative action they've described represents, and if the approach demands it, sets the TN as well.
    • You're not overruling them. They're trying to overrule you (hint: trying to overrule the GM on something the rules explicitly say is his decision tends to have bad consequences)
    • As an example - say you want to see if you know the appropriate sea route to a given destination. You don't have the opportunity to ask anyone (maybe you're a ninja pretending to be a sailor to hide amongst a vessel's crew?)
    • Either you know the answer (Recall - Earth), or you figure it out from what you do know (Theorise - Fire), which is also a viable approach but harder (because what's essentially an educated guess is less likely to be correct).  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Magnus Grendel said:

I do find this a bit confusing. 

  • Why do you feel you can always find an 'excuse' to use your best ring when you couldn't find an excuse to use your best stat?
  • Thinking 40kRPG, I agree that Perception &  Intelligence were different stats, and that an Awareness check would explicitely use Per and Common Lore use Int.
    • That said, there were still cases where someone might try and claim a choice of stat (agility versus strength for climbing, for example)
  • But I'm less sure why that would that work too differently in L5R; if you're looking around an area it's Survey, which is Air. If you're trying to see if you remember learning something previously, it's Recall, which is Earth. 
  • It's the GM, not the players, who get to decide what ring the narrative action they've described represents, and if the approach demands it, sets the TN as well.
    • You're not overruling them. They're trying to overrule you (hint: trying to overrule the GM on something the rules explicitly say is his decision tends to have bad consequences)
    • As an example - say you want to see if you know the appropriate sea route to a given destination. You don't have the opportunity to ask anyone (maybe you're a ninja pretending to be a sailor to hide amongst a vessel's crew?)
    • Either you know the answer (Recall - Earth), or you figure it out from what you do know (Theorise - Fire), which is also a viable approach but harder (because what's essentially an educated guess is less likely to be correct).  

 

Not sure what you getting at for the first part of the post?

In all previous editions if you want to swing your sword at someone its Agility/Kenjutsu. 

Firing a bow is Reflexes/Kyujutsu.

Yes if you want to identify what technique someone is using you can use Perception/Kenjutsu, but you don't get to use strength just because its you highest trait.

I hope that helps with your confusion.

On the second part lets say Air is your highest ring. 

I attempt to slip past a foe’s defenses into an advantageous position so I want to roll Air.

If earth is the highest, I attempt to Wear foe down. I use earth to attack.

the issues here is that any of the rings if worded right can be use for most attacks.

So why would I ever use anything but my highest ring?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Magnus Grendel said:

I do find this a bit confusing. 

  • Why do you feel you can always find an 'excuse' to use your best ring when you couldn't find an excuse to use your best stat?

In editions 1-3, the attribute was set by the skill use, not the player nor the GM. Usually. There is weasel wording in the GM section allowing for switching when needed for sensibility, such as Perception+Sword to analyze the quality of a given sword. The primary use, and default attribute, however, were fixed in mechanics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, tenchi2a said:

I attempt to slip past a foe’s defenses into an advantageous position so I want to roll Air.

If earth is the highest, I attempt to Wear foe down. I use earth to attack.

the issues here is that any of the rings if worded right can be use for most attacks.

So why would I ever use anything but my highest ring?

Specifically in conflicts, it is allowed.

This is not in question, because it's part of the conflict rules. Being able to shift and pick stance is a big part of the conflict mechanic.

However whatever stance you pick locks you in to that ring for everything that happens that turn - your attack, any fitness checks to mitigate critical, and the effect of any critical you receive (and may already have received).

Plus the potential opportunities, stance effects and the possibility of receiving a lump of strife from an opponent who saw your choice of stance coming in a duel.

Which is why you are likely in a duel to vary your stance repeatedly.

17 minutes ago, tenchi2a said:

Yes if you want to identify what technique someone is using you can use Perception/Kenjutsu, but you don't get to use strength just because its you highest trait.

And the same would be true here.

If you want to identify the technique of someone in particular, that's going to be Analyse (which is Air ) - you don't get to use Void because it's you're highest ring rank. 

Essentially, think of the stat-locked Approaches as the equivalent of the stat-locked skills of previous editions, with skills instead being field/subject-specific bonuses.

 

Edited by Magnus Grendel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Magnus Grendel said:

Specifically in conflicts, it is allowed.

And can also be justiied outside of combat.

Quote

This is not in question, because it's part of the conflict rules. Being able to shift and pick stance is a big part of the conflict mechanic.

However whatever stance you pick locks you in to that ring for everything that happens that turn - your attack, any fitness checks to mitigate critical, and the effect of any critical you receive (and may already have received).

Plus the potential opportunities, stance effects and the possibility of receiving a lump of strife from an opponent who saw your choice of stance coming in a duel.

Which is why you are likely in a duel to vary your stance repeatedly.

So why would you care?

1.You are using your highest Ring so would have no issues with it being locked in.

2. With the new unmasked  mechanics outside of duels having strife is not that bad anymore.

Quote

And the same would be true here.

If you want to identify the technique of someone in particular, that's going to be Analyse (which is Air ) - you don't get to use Void because it's you're highest ring rank. 

Essentially, the stat-locked Approaches are the equivalent of the stat-locked skills of previous editions, with skills instead being field/subject-specific bonuses.

Not even close. As AK_Aramis stated trait/skill locks were set in 1-4th, and only the GM not the player could change them if he thought that it was warranted.

And these changes where few and far between.

Plus you are missing the point about the new rules. 

I can both in and out of battle justify just about any approached to get my highest Ring on the roll. Where in 1-4th I had one choice unless the GM thought another trait was warranted.

Edited by tenchi2a

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For skill dice compromised isnt so bad. For ring dice it essentially makes 2/3 of all die faces blank and removes the explosive success to boot. That's pretty painful for a mid-high TN check.

Again, clearly I am missing something.

Any check outside of combat boils down to:

"I'm [Verb]ing the [Object]."

The Verb is your approach, which mandates the ring, the object is the subject matter which mandates the skill. Whilst the mandate comes in two halves, for a specified task it's no less mandated.

If what you need to do is analyse someone's fighting style - or for that matter a sword, a boat, or a haiku - then what you're doing is analysing.

Which is an approach using the Air ring, even ifit's then Martial Arts (air), Smithing (Air), Seafaring (Air) or Composition (Air) respectively.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Magnus Grendel said:

For skill dice compromised isnt so bad. For ring dice it essentially makes 2/3 of all die faces blank and removes the explosive success to boot. That's pretty painful for a mid-high TN check.

Again, clearly I am missing something.

Any check outside of combat boils down to:

"I'm [Verb]ing the [Object]."

The Verb is your approach, which mandates the ring, the object is the subject matter which mandates the skill. Whilst the mandate comes in two halves, for a specified task it's no less mandated.

If what you need to do is analyse someone's fighting style - or for that matter a sword, a boat, or a haiku - then what you're doing is analysing.

Which is an approach using the Air ring, even ifit's then Martial Arts (air), Smithing (Air), Seafaring (Air) or Composition (Air) respectively.

 

 

Yes you seem to be missing the point.

In 4th if you swing a sword at some one its Agility/Kenjutsu final. There is no approach, there is no I attempt to Wear foe down so I use will power or stamina, you just use Agility

same examples you used.

Agility or Intelligence/Sailing

Agility/Kenjutsu

Awareness/Poetry

Awareness/Song

Awareness/Weaponsmithing

and that pretty much what you have to roll you don't get to decide what trait to use.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another thing to note on the "why wouldn't I just us my best ring all the time" that no one seems to be pointing out is that, for most skill checks you literally cannot achieve a result with any ring. Any ring can be used to attack, but not every ring can be used to paint a picture or craft a blade. If you're not using fire ring you cannot smith a new katana into existence, just like if you can't try to repair that same katana by bashing on it in a passionate frenzy. Both of those things are "Smithing" checks, yes, but it's more like every SPECIFIC ACTION is assigned a default ring, not every specific skill. Honing a blade is an action using the smithing skill and the air ring. If you want to hone a blade, you use those things, just like in 4th ed if you wanted to swing a sword you used kenjutsu and agility.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

For skill dice compromised isnt so bad. For ring dice it essentially makes 2/3 of all die faces blank and removes the explosive success to boot. That's pretty painful for a mid-high TN check.

Again, clearly I am missing something.

Any check outside of combat boils down to:

"I'm [Verb]ing the [Object]."

The Verb is your approach, which mandates the ring, the object is the subject matter which mandates the skill. Whilst the mandate comes in two halves, for a specified task it's no less mandated.

If what you need to do is analyse someone's fighting style - or for that matter a sword, a boat, or a haiku - then what you're doing is analysing.

Which is an approach using the Air ring, even ifit's then Martial Arts (air), Smithing (Air), Seafaring (Air) or Composition (Air) respectively.

In prior editions, "I'm [verbing] the [object]" picked only skill, not skill and trait; the trait was (95% or more of the time) locked to a single trait.

Now, the player says "I'm [verbing] the [object] using [skill]" and, if the verb fits, determines the ring rolled. The selection of 30 or so verbs, while missing several common ones.

Take spotting the box in ch 9...

I could use

  • Earth & skulduggery to reall where stuff is often hidden, and look in those places
  • Water & skulduggery to quickly look over the room
  • Fire & skulduggery to theorize where things might be hiding
  • Air & skulduggery to look at the tracks and follow anything that may have fallen
  • Air & skulduggery to methodically search the room
  • Void & skulduggery to just get a hunch something's hidden and where.
  • Earth and Fitness to get down and look under the furniture
  • Water and fitness to to move the furniture
  • Air and fitness to get you to look under the furniture
  • fire and fitness to tear apart the room until I find things
  • Void and Fitness to stand upon my head for a different point of view.
  • Earth or Water and Command to get the inkeep to do it for me 
    • Earth: sooner someone checks, sooner we leave and you can re-open, and it's not going to be me.
    • Water: "Pretty please?"
  •  Fire and command to make the inkeep angry enough to search. "If you don't search, I think I'll stay a month... while keeping this place closed "
  • Air and command: "I think I lost a koku coin. Would you see if it went under the furniture?"
  • Void and Command: "Hey, ko, I can use your help..."

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

recall - you've not been here before. What are you recalling? That stuff might fall? Youll still need to search to actually find anything (although you won't waste time checking the rafters)

Survey - yes, that's pretty much exactly what's intended.

Theorise - might have some traction. But you're trying to  theorise what might have happened to an item whose existence you don't know about in the first place. If you pass, the results of your conjecture is that you think "maybe something might have fallen under the furniture", which doesn't put the item in question into your hand. What does? Searching for it in those places. Which is survey, above.

Analyse - where stuff that was in the room prior to may have fallen is not a property of the tracks.

Hunch - whilst a void check might actually be of use here, it's going to be getting a funy feeling because of the aftereffects of Maho. Any feasible sixth sense input is going to be so blotted out by that that it's not going to divining rod a purely mundane item.

Fitness tests - bending over is not a difficult challenge. Its a TN 0 issue and as such doesnt require a test. Lying on the floor or standing on yoyr head (which is what you achieve by passing the test) doesnt necessarily mean you spot something you don't know is there, though.

Command - fair enough. But even with an older edition, or any other RPG with social skills, 'I intimidate the NPC into doing it for me' is a perfectly valid option. The problem us that he's going to go and search the room (a survey check) and of course you don't know if he succeeded when he finds nothing (he is after all, just a smelly peasant) because you don't know if there was anything to find.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Magnus Grendel said:

recall - you've not been here before. What are you recalling? That stuff might fall? Youll still need to search to actually find anything (although you won't waste time checking the rafters)

Theorise - might have some traction. But you're trying to  theorise what might have happened to an item whose existence you don't know about in the first place. If you pass, the results of your conjecture is that you think "maybe something might have fallen under the furniture", which doesn't put the item in question into your hand. What does? Searching for it in those places. Which is survey, above.

No - since any ring can explicitly be used, albeit at higher difficulty - I can recall where things were in any similar space. May be harder, but by the RAW and the AAW, it's a valid approach.

Theorize, same thing. It can  be used to find it. As in, "It should be here" and actually pulling it out is then TN0.

8 minutes ago, Magnus Grendel said:

Analyse - where stuff that was in the room prior to may have fallen is not a property of the tracks.

for it to wind up under there, either it was kicked, or it was falling off of him as he came in. One can find the scratches it would have left in the floor and follow them

And again, the GM doesn't get to reject an approach, only to penalize it with a high TN.

8 minutes ago, Magnus Grendel said:

Hunch - whilst a void check might actually be of use here, it's going to be getting a funy feeling because of the aftereffects of Maho. Any feasible sixth sense input is going to be so blotted out by that that it's not going to divining rod a purely mundane item.

Again, you're ignoring that void is explicitly allowed to find that thing, AAW. Perhaps the Kansen make it rattle, or a bug skitters to it, but RAW & AAW, I can use void to find it.

8 minutes ago, Magnus Grendel said:

Command - fair enough. But even with an older edition, or any other RPG with social skills, 'I intimidate the NPC into doing it for me' is a perfectly valid option. The problem us that he's going to go and search the room (a survey check) and of course you don't know if he succeeded when he finds nothing (he is after all, just a smelly peasant) because you don't know if there was anything to find.

Note, even if the GM is being a ****, in this edition, I can still help him, by direction, and thus participate in the roll, and NPC rolls are not expected to be hidden, as players have a chance to interfere by activating the NPC's disads.

As for Fitness - finding the object is TN0 if it's exposed to direct view. Fitness in all modes is a way to put it into plain view... and thus make it TN0.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I mean you're discussing spotting the box, which is right next to 6 different skill checks, every single one of them that works with any ring the players want by the example, and the only difference is a poor ring is a little harder. There's no reason listed to not always use your highest ring in the room, and as long as one person used water the box is probably found (I mean assuming the person doesn't decide to remove strife from themselves or someone else) which raises the question of how do you know there's something useful to spend water on? If the GM tells you ahead of time then someone can make sure to cover the base.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, AK_Aramis said:

No - since any ring can explicitly be used, albeit at higher difficulty - I can recall where things were in any similar space. May be harder, but by the RAW and the AAW, it's a valid approach.

Theorize, same thing. It can  be used to find it. As in, "It should be here" and actually pulling it out is then TN0.

for it to wind up under there, either it was kicked, or it was falling off of him as he came in. One can find the scratches it would have left in the floor and follow them

And again, the GM doesn't get to reject an approach, only to penalize it with a high TN.

Again, you're ignoring that void is explicitly allowed to find that thing, AAW. Perhaps the Kansen make it rattle, or a bug skitters to it, but RAW & AAW, I can use void to find it.

Note, even if the GM is being a ****, in this edition, I can still help him, by direction, and thus participate in the roll, and NPC rolls are not expected to be hidden, as players have a chance to interfere by activating the NPC's disads.

As for Fitness - finding the object is TN0 if it's exposed to direct view. Fitness in all modes is a way to put it into plain view... and thus make it TN0.

 

Page 91 of the Beta Rulebook

"However, because it can only build upon a solid foundation, a character cannot Recall information about something completely novel or unfamiliar, and they must use other approaches to gather enough context to know which facts are relevant to the situation at hand."

You cannot recall that something you don't know exists is under a sofa. You don't know it exists. It's pretty clear that you're supposed to HAVE to use multiple different ring approaches throughout your game to achieve different results. If you want people to be able to use the Refine approach of your air ring to forge a suit of armor from scratch that's your prerogative as the DM, but the intention of the game is clearly to make you use fire ring invent approach for that task.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, tenchi2a said:

And here lies one of the biggest issue with the game.

Most if not all Players are going to do just this. 

Very few outside the beta are going to take time to find the best approach, and are just going to go with their highest ring.

Yes the GM can call them on it but if they are anywhere near good role-players I can guarantee you they will come up with some answer to why it works.

Then get upset where you overrule them.

The problem here is the generic setup of the Rings.

In the other editions of the game the traits where hard to argue about. Perception was Perception, Agility was Agility. 

Here you can make-up any excuse to justify a ring to use.

I pointed this out earlier in others threads and the answer was the same. You aren't going to convince them it will be any different. They read what they want in the text and so do you, but sadly both approaches are allowed... and the game will suffer or not of it depending the table you play with. My high fire character sure uses fire for about everything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, KillingGoblinBabiesIsDishonorable said:

Page 91 of the Beta Rulebook

"However, because it can only build upon a solid foundation, a character cannot Recall information about something completely novel or unfamiliar, and they must use other approaches to gather enough context to know which facts are relevant to the situation at hand."

You cannot recall that something you don't know exists is under a sofa. You don't know it exists. It's pretty clear that you're supposed to HAVE to use multiple different ring approaches throughout your game to achieve different results. If you want people to be able to use the Refine approach of your air ring to forge a suit of armor from scratch that's your prerogative as the DM, but the intention of the game is clearly to make you use fire ring invent approach for that task.

You can, however, recall prior hotel rooms, and what you've found there. A room in an inn is pretty much similar to any other room in an inn.

Plus, it's explicitly allowed to use any ring..

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, AK_Aramis said:

You can, however, recall prior hotel rooms, and what you've found there. A room in an inn is pretty much similar to any other room in an inn.

Plus, it's explicitly allowed to use any ring..

 

So you walk into a hotel room and roll recall. "I recall that hotel rooms had things in them." What good does that do you? Without an accompanying survey check to see what among that list of things you recall were in your last hotel are missing from this one you're not going to note that this room doesn't have tiny shampoo. And even if you do, what then? "Hmm, Usually there would be a bucket in the bathroom for rinsing yourself off after you soap up.." tells you you're missing a bucket, it won't tell you the bucket is hidden under the sofa.

You can use any ring for any skill, Yes, it does explicitly say that. However, every ring does different things. You can use earth with composition, and you can use air with composition, but the results of those checks are not going to be the same, even though they're the same skill. If you're after a specific result, then you have to pick the specific ring (or rings in some cases) that will give you that specific result.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gotta say: my group is loving approaches! 

On 10/31/2017 at 7:36 AM, tenchi2a said:

[Numbers added for ease of discussion]

[1.] Then get upset where you overrule them.

The problem here is the generic setup of the Rings.

[2.] In the other editions of the game the traits where hard to argue about. Perception was Perception, Agility was Agility. 

[3.] Here you can make-up any excuse to justify a ring to use.

  1. Can't help Whiny Player Syndrome :rolleyes: I mean, wouldn't calling for a different trait in an old edition provoke a similar reaction in such players? "What? Kenjutsu/Perception to recognize his sword style? But I'm such a great swordsman I should just knowwwwww!! Kenjutsu is an Agility skiiiiiiiiiiillllll!!! Why not intelligence? My fire ring is so hiiiiiiiiiiiigh!!!" Or god forbid you asked for any other trait on investigation besides perception :D
  2. I found the opposite to be true. It took my group quite awhile to decide--outside of pre-ordained skill+trait pairings--when to use perception vs. awareness, agility vs. reflexes, etc. There's a fair amount of redundancy among the 8 basic traits, which always struck me as gamist symmetry. (Hold your horses, folks! Didn't say gamist symmetry is bad :P)
  3. This hasn't been an issue for my group. According to Step 2.3 of making a check. the GM identifies the appropriate approach. Singular. Sometimes multiple approaches are viable. (I've definitely said "no".)  If their justification is a flimsy cover for power gaming, no need to indulge them. If, instead, their description enhances the game--awesome! Go for it. Maybe with an adjusted TN. Maybe not.

I definitely think it's possible that the beta adventure sets some bad examples for multiple approaches. Choosing the "right" approach often reduces the TN to 1, when the "average" task is 2. Choosing the wrong approach only raises the TN by 1, when perhaps it should raise the TN by 2. Haven't done the math. But that's always an option for GMs who find that +1 TN isn't sufficient to encourage players to choose the best approach, as opposed to their best ring. 

 

Edited by sidescroller

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/2/2017 at 3:40 AM, sidescroller said:
  1. Can't help Whiny Player Syndrome :rolleyes: I mean, wouldn't calling for a different trait in an old edition provoke a similar reaction in such players? "What? Kenjutsu/Perception to recognize his sword style? But I'm such a great swordsman I should just knowwwwww!! Kenjutsu is an Agility skiiiiiiiiiiillllll!!! Why not intelligence? My fire ring is so hiiiiiiiiiiiigh!!!" Or god forbid you asked for any other trait on investigation besides perception :D
  2. I found the opposite to be true. It took my group quite awhile to decide--outside of pre-ordained skill+trait pairings--when to use perception vs. awareness, agility vs. reflexes, etc. There's a fair amount of redundancy among the 8 basic traits, which always struck me as gamist symmetry. (Hold your horses, folks! Didn't say gamist symmetry is bad :P)
  3. This hasn't been an issue for my group. According to Step 2.3 of making a check. the GM identifies the appropriate approach. Singular. Sometimes multiple approaches are viable. (I've definitely said "no".)  If their justification is a flimsy cover for power gaming, no need to indulge them. If, instead, their description enhances the game--awesome! Go for it. Maybe with an adjusted TN. Maybe not.

I've never seen a player complain about requesting a swapped ring that wasn't reasonable. However for your example int/kenj makes more sense unless you're particularly far away or the swordsman in question is trying to conceal his techniques in which case perception makes more sense. Awareness/investigation is super common.

As for point three, I believe you're reading it wrong. The quoted section has the player describing their approach, and the GM identifying which element their phrasing matches. That's the reason the singular phrase 'approach is used.' If someone says "I climb the wall slowly and carefully, making sure each handhold is secure before moving on." You tell them what approach that is, singular. You don't say "Well you can use fire, or earth, or water for climbing this wall, but void and air are right out" which is what you seem to think is going on. It's not saying as a GM you pick the only acceptable ring. All of the examples in the book there are no blocked rings, only a favored ring which is slightly easier and one opposed ring which is slightly harder, but never a reason to not just use your highest ring.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, rcuhljr said:

I've never seen a player complain about requesting a swapped ring that wasn't reasonable. However for your example int/kenj makes more sense unless you're particularly far away or the swordsman in question is trying to conceal his techniques in which case perception makes more sense. Awareness/investigation is super common.

Hee hee :D And now we could split hairs about that particular case--how I was imagining it when I wrote it vs. what I actually wrote vs. how you interpreted it--or if investigation/awareness is indeed common, and when it should be used instead of investigation/perception. Which is entirely contextual. Doesn't that sound like four pages of productive fun :P (Totally sarcastic here--let's not do that)

The point was in response to tenchi2a's point about players getting upset when you overrule them on approach.

The point I tried to make was that I suspect that players getting upset about the GM's interpretation has more to do with the people at the table than the rules they use. That's the case in my experience, anyway.

11 hours ago, rcuhljr said:

As for point three, I believe you're reading it wrong. The quoted section has the player describing their approach, and the GM identifying which element their phrasing matches. That's the reason the singular phrase 'approach is used.' If someone says "I climb the wall slowly and carefully, making sure each handhold is secure before moving on." You tell them what approach that is, singular. You don't say "Well you can use fire, or earth, or water for climbing this wall, but void and air are right out" which is what you seem to think is going on. It's not saying as a GM you pick the only acceptable ring. All of the examples in the book there are no blocked rings, only a favored ring which is slightly easier and one opposed ring which is slightly harder, but never a reason to not just use your highest ring.

... I think you misinterpreted my interpretation. Ugh. Forums, right? But let's actually quote the section:

Quote

3. Determine Approach: Next, the player provides a brief description of their character’s methods to overcome the challenge using the chosen skill, as well as the outcome they desire to achieve through their check. Then, the GM selects which of the five elemental approaches corresponds to the methods the player described. [p. 13]

So, yes, the GM is looking for keywords about how the player wants to go about doing something. But the player is also responsible for describing an outcome, and not all outcomes are compatible with all approaches.

For example, let's say a character wants to forge a brand new katana:

Player: "I want to make a new katana. Having gathered the finest steel, I go to the forge, labor over the furnace, and fold the steel into perfection--or as close as I can muster"

GM: "Great! Making a new weapon uses the Invent (Fire) approach. TN 4"

Player: "Hmm... my fire is 2, but my Earth is 4. Can I use earth?"

GM: "In this case, I don't think so. Earth is for the Restore approach, and you're not restoring anything."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, sidescroller said:

So, yes, the GM is looking for keywords about how the player wants to go about doing something. But the player is also responsible for describing an outcome, and not all outcomes are compatible with all approaches.

For example, let's say a character wants to forge a brand new katana:

 

But see that's my  point, you went with an artisan skill which is one of the few where the approaches and outcomes are even close to limiting, and even then it's minimal at best. The player in your example just grabs a broken katana instead of the finest steel and uses earth. Or if they're a water ring they start with a nodachi, or air a serviceable but unimpressive blade. Everyone gets to the same end but just uses whatever ring they want. The other skill groups are even more flexible (with the same normal void isn't a real ring restrictions). Martial? Take you pick, Scholar, take your pick (or even void), social same as scholar, trade skill, anything but void again. 

Lets look at a section from the ronins path again.

Quote

The characters can investigate, asking after for the missing soldiers with a TN 3 Courtesy (Earth 2, Fire 4) check or simply looking around the place with a TN 2 Survival (Fire 1, Air 4) check.

As written you can ask about missing soldiers by enlightening someone about a fundamental truth of your need to know about missing soldiers and it's only TN3, or for some reason you're allowed to con mother nature into revealing the soldiers to you? Or you can merely exist in your environment and the soldiers will appear (as long as you roll well enough).

As it stands the times  when players won't just be rolling at their max ring is vanishingly small.

Edited by rcuhljr

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...