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Ben Riggs

Ran beta. It didn't go well.

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19 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:

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."

So I guess my question would be why have the whole approach system then.

when you can just say 

Smithing/Fire: create new piece from raw materials

Smithing/Air: repair a damaged piece through upkeep

etc.

the whole approach system seems pointless and just confusing fluff when you can just be straightforward as above.

 

 

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1 hour ago, tenchi2a said:

So I guess my question would be why have the whole approach system then.

when you can just say 

Smithing/Fire: create new piece from raw materials

Smithing/Air: repair a damaged piece through upkeep

etc.

the whole approach system seems pointless and just confusing fluff when you can just be straightforward as above.

 

 

I think you need a bit more creative here to really get the potential of the approach system running.
Yes creating a standard sword from scratch is Fire but you also could use your smithing to acutally
recreate an old family sword that was lost or recreate a tressured relic of your family.
This would still create a new item but would fall under teh earth approach as this is a restorative
task you are trying to acomplish.
In the end the trick with the system is how you describe your action. You need the right description
for the right ring focus to make it work but in the end you can use any ring you want for a given
task if you phrase it the right way.

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2 hours ago, Teveshszat said:

I think you need a bit more creative here to really get the potential of the approach system running.
Yes creating a standard sword from scratch is Fire but you also could use your smithing to acutally
recreate an old family sword that was lost or recreate a tressured relic of your family.
This would still create a new item but would fall under teh earth approach as this is a restorative
task you are trying to acomplish.
In the end the trick with the system is how you describe your action. You need the right description
for the right ring focus to make it work but in the end you can use any ring you want for a given
task if you phrase it the right way.

That's dependent on GM agreement. You're still describing creating a new thing, starting from no bits of an old thing. 

 

Yes, you're re-using the design of an old sword - what you know of it - but whether that's 'restoring' because you're trying to restore a sword the family doesn't have with a new one is somewhat tenuous.

Trying to claim duplicating an existing item as 'restore' doubly so.  I could equally see a GM being hesitant to call copying an existing design 'invent', but it's the only artisan approach which describes creating something from raw materials.

 

Restoring old-and-busted sword, yes, definitely Earth. But that presumes the availability of old-and-busted sword and you being (narratively) prepared to use it. 

That's not by any stretch of the imagination impossible - after all, a blade with heritage is an important heirloom - but not everyone has one, even in bits.

 

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8 hours ago, rcuhljr said:

Lets look at a section from the ronins path again.

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).

Considering the Ronin's Path example of chasing down the soldiers, I suspect the "Enlighten" approach--revealing a fundamental truth--would be about soldiers, war, or duty; in other words, a fundamental truth to which your situation relates, not the fundamental truth of your situation. And the "Con" approach is used for tracking (odd pairing, yes), and tracking individual soldiers at a busy military site would probably be difficult (hence the higher TN). 

But it raises the larger question of when multiple approaches are appropriate. Let's consider the following:

  1. Step 2.3 of making a check says the GM identifies the approach (singular).
  2. Step 2.3 and "Multiple Approach Options" (p. 178) both say that sometimes multiple approaches are viable (which, to me, seems different than most of the time)
  3. The majority of checks identified in A Ronin's Path permit multiple approaches. (.... I could be wrong here. I didn't count)

#3 seems at odds with #2. Have the designers misrepresented their intentions somewhere? Or, for some reason, did they intentionally design A Ronin's Path to include more checks with multiple approaches than players should normally encounter? I'm not sure. Personally, I give greater weight to RAW than the precedent set by A Ronin's Path; to me, A Ronin's Path seems less like a representation of a good L5R game, and more like a way to shoehorn all the mechanics into a single story arc for play-testing. 

 

9 hours ago, rcuhljr said:

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. 

[snip]

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

All those smithing examples are great! If those conditions fit non-fire rings for getting an as-new blade in a way that satisfies your table, use em! And they're all great examples of narrative restrictions/challenges. For example, restoring a  broken blade requires a broken blade. Just like making a new one requires un-forged steel. As everyone can see, if players steer circumstances in their favor, they can use their highest ring.

So.... why shouldn't they? What's the actual problem with characters rolling their highest ring most of the time?

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56 minutes ago, sidescroller said:
  1. Step 2.3 of making a check says the GM identifies the approach (singular).

[snip]

So.... why shouldn't they? What's the actual problem with characters rolling their highest ring most of the time?

Again, 2.3 says you pick the singular approach based on their description of what and how they want to do, which means it was a multiple approach roll, and you+they are picking the final ring they are using. " Then, the GM selects which of the five elemental approaches corresponds to the methods the player described. " The GM is literally picking which of the five rings match which means it was a multi approach roll and that's the default status. There are only 5 instances in the entire adventure that don't allow any ring and two of those are optional side notes when dealing with the mass encounter.
 

At least for me, the problem is it kills the systems core principle of rewarding well rounded characters. A 4/4/1/1/1 character is much better off as far as making rolls goes than a 3/2/2/2/2. I like that if I have a weakness as a character it comes up and hinders me in game play. I don't want to be great at everything because then there's not time for my other players to shine. This ties into my other grief at the rank advancement tables where you're now punished in advancement for deviating from the norm and further rewarded for over specialization.

Edited by rcuhljr

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5 hours ago, rcuhljr said:

"Then, the GM selects which of the five elemental approaches corresponds to the methods the player described. " The GM is literally picking which of the five rings match which means it was a multi approach roll and that's the default status.

I get what you're saying, and I think we're interpreting the text differently. If we're just gonna be "again"-ing at each other, we might as well just say the devs should clarify whether multi-approach is the default and move on.

5 hours ago, rcuhljr said:

At least for me, the problem is it kills the systems core principle of rewarding well rounded characters. A 4/4/1/1/1 character is much better off as far as making rolls goes than a 3/2/2/2/2.

This gives me an idea for a new thread to analyze multi-approach TNs. Like, what should the default TN bump be for using a less effective approach? 1? 2? 2xTN? Dunno. I would assume the goal isn't to create an avenue for PCs to steamroll everything with only one ring.

But maybe the devs don't care; maybe the point is that characters differentiate themselves more by skills, schools, and techniques (and we'll see more of the latter two).

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Hi,

just a quick reaction to the initial post, from Ben Riggs :

I feel the total opposite of what you say, and the conceptors need to know that not everyone thinks like you.

most of the so called ''evolutions'' of roleplaying game system are unbarable to me. (for example I can not stand the new Deadlands reloaded bullcrap : I stick to the old one). I think a good system is not a ment to be simple but complete, in the sens that it should not leave any logical blind spot, and everything should be covered by the rules (to me the best example of that is the game ''pathfinder'', which is almost perfect).

I don't think L5R was ever made to be a simple game : you whant to play? then learn the freakin' rules by heart : to play a good game you have tu put efforts, especially as a game master. Mastering is about sweat, tears and blood, that's it.

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On 10/31/2017 at 0:36 PM, 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.

here is the thing though:
Are they doing it wrong? The players, I mean.
If they are playing a stubborn, pragmatic, and stern Samurai, wouldn't "Earth" be his most favored approach in almost all things?
Considering the game now has techniques for Courtiers and the new scheme system, is it really an issue?

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14 hours ago, Ockbald said:

here is the thing though:
Are they doing it wrong? The players, I mean.
If they are playing a stubborn, pragmatic, and stern Samurai, wouldn't "Earth" be his most favored approach in almost all things?
Considering the game now has techniques for Courtiers and the new scheme system, is it really an issue?

Favoured, yes. But it's not always the appropriate ring for a given task (remember that matching the approach and hence ring to the declared intent is a GM decision, not a player one).

Any task can be broken down into:

"I [do a thing] to the [target]"

The former defines the approach and hence the ring, the latter the target (for the purposes of range, etc) and the skill if it's not already mandated by the thing you're doing ('I heal' is medicine pretty much regardless of target) or the tool you're using to do it (a bow or sword will mandate the skill needed to use them).

 

If what you're doing is talking to someone, then stubborn, pragmatic and stern is pretty much always an option; that's what the Reason approach is, and it's why pretty much any ring can be used for arguing your case in intrigue scenes (which is why it's a conflict scene with every stance available at all times).

You cannot, however, sneak about in a stubborn and pragmatic manner. You sneak about in a sneaky manner.

You can move around about in a stubborn and pragmatic manner (using fitness [earth] is the check you'd use for a long-distance march without suffering fatigue, for example), but that's not trying to be sneaky, so you won't be. If your goal is to move around without being noticed, you need to make a fitness [air] check instead.

On ‎17‎/‎11‎/‎2017 at 7:27 PM, Oxcelot said:

Ryan Macklin said interesting things about this:
http://ryanmacklin.com/2011/06/issues-use-whenever-stats/

Which is a fair comment.

But:

When talking about beating up thugs (in his example) that's clearly a conflict scene - so:

  • you're in a stance of your choice, the system having accepted it and allowing/encouraging you to use your best ring (which is a good way of ensuring no character is completely useless in a fight)
  • There are non-stat reasons to be using different rings, because using a given ring 'locks' you into that stat for the turn, which in turn drives whether you can easily suffer criticals (earth), deliver bonus damage (fire), move or heal faster (water), or defend yourself better (air), which may be more important to you than one bonus ring die on the check.
  • If, for example, you're currently incapacitated, Water stance lets you calming breath and then continue fighting, whilst any other stance doesn't let you do anything except heal, so even if water's your lowest ring, that's remarkably appealing at that moment.

When talking about cracking a safe, yes, you could try different ring approaches to cracking the safe (the examples given are brute force, patience, and analytical skill). However, you may not want to:

  • It's not simply a case of setting the ring. Given what you want to do (open the safe), the GM listens to your intended approach and chooses:
    • The ring
    • The skill
    • The TN
    • The consequences of success & failure
    • The opportunities available
  • The big thing is that a given narrative approach sets all four as a 'bundle deal'. There are many ways to achieve a given task (smash the safe versus pick the lock) but the GM is at liberty to change all of the above values if he or she changes any of them.
  • The difficulty of a check is not fixed, but variable depending on your approach; a safe may be much less vulnerable to brute force than precision, for example, so whilst, yes, you have fire 4 and only air 2, but the TN for the check might be TN5 for smashing open an iron-bound, teak safe in a realistic time and only TN2 for picking a relatively simplistic lock.
  • Equally, the skill will vary. Smashing the safe is probably fitness (because "brute force & ignorance" tasks usually are) whilst picking the lock is probably skulduggery. Since these add a number of skill dice equal to your skill rank (and said dice are arguably 'better' than ring dice), Fire 4 + fitness 0 versus Air 2 + Skulduggery 3 is a lot less of an easy choice.
  • Lastly, the consequences & opportunites will vary. In the example on that page, smashing the safe versus picking the lock with patience and careful analysis both achieve the goal of the check - "open the darn safe".
    • The latter approach is, however, quiet. Which is why you can spend air opportunities to succeed whilst not drawing attention to yourself, whilst doing so with fire opportunities takes twice as many. Which, if your goal is to get the contents of the safe without drawing the attention of the ten picked hatamoto bodyguards in the next room, is a good thing.
    • By comparison, fire opportunities can be spent to be flashy and impressive - if you have a cowering prisoner who refused to help you open the safe, spending an opportunity to smash it open in a suitably intimidating manner is likely to make him much more co-operative for the rest of the scene.
    • Finally, the GM sets the consequences for failure. Failing to open the safe means, in both cases, the safe isn't open and you don't get what's inside. However, trying and failing to smash it open is much more likely to exhaust and even injure you (inflicting an odd point or two of fatigue) than failing to pick the lock.

 

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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