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Nothing Personell Kid: A look into "why can I teleport?" aka "What's the deal with range bands"

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4 minutes ago, Doji Meshou said:

This is my point. If you want L5R to function well as a wargame, you need to use a different structure. That's not a knock on L5R; it's just not designed to be a wargame, regardless of whether it has (bad) rules for movement. I'm not mad at a cheeseburger for not being a salad, and I'm not mad at L5R for not being a wargame.

I'm glad you find (found?) it usable in the way you want! It's just not particularly well supported as-written, IMO, and narrativist range bands in 5E are just the latest example.

No. it's not. Its an example of wargame scaling. Many wargames have scaled up or scaled down cousins. Mechwarrior/Battletroops/Battletech/Battleforce/Succession Wars. Classic Traveller/Striker. AD&D/Battlesystem. OD&D/Chainmail/Chainmail (chainmail had two different scales within; 3 if you count jousting). Renegade Legion: Leviathan/Interceptor. Heavy Gear/Heavy Gear (2 scales  - character, vehicular, in one combined RPG and Wargame rulebook for 2E), Jovian Chronicles (again, 2 different in one rulebook, plus a third scale in a supplementary game). The Fantasy Trip - Wizard&Melee vs Lords of Underearth. Fantasy Wargaming: The Highest Level of All had highly flexible scaling. MegaTraveller has 3 inherent scales: characters individually, Vehicles, and Conglomerate units, plus the ship combat rules (broken as they were).

L5R has, in all prior editions, supported skirmish wargame mode combat.

In 1st & 2nd eds, it's had a narrative battle system, which was fraught with "Someone failed to translate John-speak to English"... John Wick, much like his good friend Ken St. Andre, often needs his rules translated by other staff into something that others can understand.

John didn't exit the minis-game modality for combat until several years after L5R 1E. By which time, he was no longer on the project.

The real turning point seems to be somewhere after Orkworld  and Cat, and before Houses of the Blooded.

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15 minutes ago, Doji Meshou said:

(NB:

- I never played L5R 1E and 2E;

- Given they're several editions back, I don't think they're useful points of comparison any more.)

Considering that they've reset the setting back to 1E, and several of the schools are more 1E based than 3E or 4E based, 1E most certainly is a good comparison point.

Also, I've found no game flows well with more than about 20 units on the table... Hence why I like the scale switching.

I've run battles in L5R with ip to 40 characters/monsters played out at 3E core combat. It bogs. Playing it in Clan War, with small squads of 4, it goes much faster, and doesn't make much difference in outcome.

If the mass combat system actually worked (which, for me, mechanically, it does not, because units really don't matter at all), it would be a strength, but for right now, I'd recommend dropping mass combat entirely and making a fully compatible boardgame tie-in. Which is the one thing FFG has NOT done with the Star Wars lines - each game is incompatible with the others, making crossover play and scale hopping impractical.

 

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1 hour ago, Doji Meshou said:

(NB:

- I never played L5R 1E and 2E;

- Given they're several editions back, I don't think they're useful points of comparison any more.)

I have to disagree here.

L5R 1E will always be the the gold standard every edition will be measured on, by the very merit of being the first iteration of L5R.

Many people loath 2E which is why it is over ignored very much, but even the beloved 4E was bring the mechanical complexity and variety of 3E together with the 1E game feeling.

Edited by Yandia

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Every journey starts with a single step...

Or to put it differently, the distance is not really what matters here, it is about the story you expereince at the table. But I guess some people simply will never be capable to look at roleplaying games as anything but a conflict simulation.

Edited by Drudenfusz

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2 minutes ago, Drudenfusz said:

Every journey starts with a single step...

Or to put it differently, the distance is not really what matters here, it is about the story you expereince at the table. But I guess some people simply will never be capable to look at roleplaying games as anything but a conflict simulation.

Independent from the fact how much the combat matters in this game, the rules for it and every otehr conflict that can come up should still be crisp and good. Just because it might matter less is not a reason to write up bad rules for it. 

That said I don´t really see a problem with the movement as in "The land of the magical Samurai" called Rokugan it is not that much of a deal to move like that.
You also can do the reasonable thing and just ignore the messurements given as example and just say rangeband 5 is range 6 and thats it so when you move 2 range bands you move a range of 2 but than
stop there and don´t translate it into  meter.

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23 minutes ago, Drudenfusz said:

Every journey starts with a single step...

Or to put it differently, the distance is not really what matters here, it is about the story you expereince at the table. But I guess some people simply will never be capable to look at roleplaying games as anything but a conflict simulation.

Strongly agree. Handwaving movement doesn't impact my play. I don't see a problem with ignoring Range Band 6: Jet Flight, because it's clearly intended for situations where elemental dragons are using heavenly magic to do stuff. I'm left scratching my head that any GM would look at it and say, well, this permits teleportation. 

Is it a little silly and thoughtless? Sure. Does it take more than fifteen seconds to think your way around? Nah.

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3 minutes ago, Yandia said:

Again... Not paying for rules where this kind of hand waving is neccessary. I am not paying for bad design.

Again: I disagree that it's bad design. It's certainly not worse than any other narrativist tabletop game, and it's certainly better than turning L5R into a wargame with social rules. :)

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1 minute ago, Doji Meshou said:

Again: I disagree that it's bad design. It's certainly not worse than any other narrativist tabletop game, and it's certainly better than turning L5R into a wargame with social rules. :)

I think this is the main diffrence in our analysis.

L5R in my mind never was a narrativistic game, none of the previous editions were and this edition doesn't look like a narrativistic game either.

Previous designer actually wnet on record saying they would not use GNS classification for L5R at all.

 

I would actually not mind less combat rules... The current state of the combat rules is just bad. To detailed for proper narrative play and not detailed enough for proper miniture play.

Worst of both worlds.

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6 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

L5R has both courtly intrigue and combat. It has magic. It has investigations. It has many, many things characters can be doing. Why should most of them get resolved by using mechanics but one, or even just part of one, get handwaved? If the outcome matters, just do it properly.

I don't believe there IS a "properly" for movement in tabletop. There's only a spectrum between narrativist and gamist. 

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1 hour ago, Doji Meshou said:

I don't believe there IS a "properly" for movement in tabletop. There's only a spectrum between narrativist and gamist. 

The same goes for literally everything else in RPGs. Do you always do narrativist combat? Narrativist skill use? It’s certainly ok to handwave those occasionally too, but I doubt you never ever go gamist with them. Why is movement so  different?

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45 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

The same goes for literally everything else in RPGs. Do you always do narrativist combat? Narrativist skill use? It’s certainly ok to handwave those occasionally too, but I doubt you never ever go gamist with them. Why is movement so  different?

Because in terms of its cost/benefit ratio, I think movement contributes almost nothing to the narrative while significantly increasing bookkeeping. I feel the same way about mass combat in most systems and about Intrigues in L5R 5E. Whereas I think skirmish combat and duels (minus movement bookkeeping) have a significant narrative payload. :)

Edited by Doji Meshou

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2 minutes ago, Doji Meshou said:

Because in terms its cost/benefit ratio, I think movement contributes almost nothing to the narrative while significantly increasing bookkeeping. I feel the same way about mass combat in most systems and about Intrigue in L5R 5E. Whereas I think skirmish combat and duels (minus movement bookkeeping) have a significant narrative payload. :)

Any combat that starts where I expect positioning might both get complex and matter, I just grab some paper with a grid on it and we get on with it. It’s really not hard. And in narrative terms, it allows my players to use the environment   effectively without it just becoming chaos.

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In principle, I like the idea of a narrative way to handle range. But this system only seems to work if:

  1. You only worry about 1 axis
  2. "Moving one range band" means reducing the number of range bands between you and whatever you're moving towards by 1 (as opposed to the distance of the range band; otherwise, getting to Range 5 becomes very difficult).

The second point definitely needs clarification in the rules. Or maybe just I need to be pointed to where it's clarified. 

 

12 hours ago, Yandia said:

Unfortunately it also fails on a narrative level.

Being able to run 1000 kilometers (or miles it really doesn't matter) in 15 seconds as a normal human being without magic power is immersion breaking.

That is a speed of roughly 66 km/s. For comparision the speed of sound is 343 m/s. We are taking speeds close to mach 200!

[snip]

This is not compelling story telling but this is exactly what the rules allow.

Honestly, I don't see where the game lets characters move at 66 km/sec.

When I read the section on range bands, range 6+ is handled in narrative time. Range 5 is 100 to several hundred meters.

For estimation purposes. if we assume a round is about 15 seconds, and "several" = 4, then it would take the 100m world record holder 1 round to reach the close edge of range 5, and the 400m world record holder 3 rounds to reach the far edge of range 5. 

It's very easy to reach range 5 in 3 rounds. So unless many Rokugani samurai can out-sprint real-world record holders--while carrying most of their gear-- movement probably needs some adjusting... but I'm not sure that it's quite as unrealistic as you describe. Maybe Martial Skill Group opportunity spends for Water should be 1 range band per 2 OP, instead of 1:1. Similarly, maybe the Maneuver action should allow a character to move 1 range band, +1 band per two bonus successes. Haven't worked the math, though. 

I neither need nor want perfectly defined ranges for L5R, but I'd like to be able to work in two or 3 dimensions easily. Fate "zones" seem a little cleaner than current range bands, since each zone is about the same size. 

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Personally I am a fan of using miniatures and maps when I play RPG's. Pathfinder and D&D seem to have the ability to have understandable ranges, tactical movement, and the ability to have a narrative story (with the proper GM). When I played the Star Wars RPG (Fantasy Flight Version) we used miniatures and a map, it was a lot of fun and I hope that I won't have to put in the extra effort and make using maps and miniatures an option, I'd rather it be built into the game.

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15 hours ago, AK_Aramis said:

I've run battles in L5R with ip to 40 characters/monsters played out at 3E core combat. It bogs. Playing it in Clan War, with small squads of 4, it goes much faster, and doesn't make much difference in outcome.

Minion squads at least helps this side of things; you can get three dozen combatants on the field and only have six 'game pieces'. That is a nice simplification, and allows you to model a skirmish that actually is a skirmish (say, the final ambush in 13 assassins) rather than half-a-dozen-guys-try-to-stab-one-another of most dungeon crawl fights.

16 hours ago, AK_Aramis said:

FYI Mongoose Traveller is a whole pile of issues - and exponential range bands are ONLY in MGT2, not any other edition of Traveller. If MGT is your only exposure to Traveller, you haven't really been exposed to Traveller at all.

 I'll admit to not having a chance to read the 2nd edition of Mongoose's traveller book (don't know if the '2' there was intentional or a typo), but the first edition definitely had exponential range bands for ship combat. The point wasn't that it was a great system, the point was that whilst it has variable range bands, it recognizes this and also varies the effort required to cross them.

 

  • Mass combat following the same rules as personal combat with a 'person' being a 'cohort' is not inherently a problem.
    • That's actually what the updated version of Mercenary in Mongoose's Traveller does, as does Advanced Fighting Fantasy.
  • I don't see there's an issue with the concept of a cohort which has strength instead of resilience, discipline instead of composure, and performs assault and reinforce actions instead of strike and guard. 
  • The issue is more that for some reason the rules don't use a direct scale-up; because the army has a common pool of health across all its cohorts, leading to wierd situations like your opponents spending four or five turns attacking one cohort exclusively but not impacting its fighting power relative to any other cohort in the force. 
    • If I was rewriting it, I'd pretty much do 'army cohorts' like vehicles in edge of the empire; you have essentially identical stats to a normal character (renamed so there's no direct interaction) and just port the mechanics wholesale, complete with 'critical' effects (in this case stuff like 'rout' or 'shattered formation' rather than 'injured arm')
Quote

Worst case example: mounted character move. Being mounted adds the horse's water.

Indeed. It's something that's changed a bit post Beta Update #1 but didn't really affect matters meaningfully.

Previously

  • Move 1-2 range bands for free
  • Charge Action
  • If you succeed in a TN2 fitness check, move 1 range band plus your bonus successes
  • Add 4 bonus successes for a Unicorn Warhorse
  • Given that the furthest you could ever be away from someone was 6 range bands, the fact that passing a TN2 check always allowed you a minimum of 7 range bands of movement could be considered...excessive?
  • you even got a free strike thrown in for ** if you  got sufficient opportunities

Now

  • Move 1 range band for free
  • Maneuver action
  • Move 1 range band
  • If you succeed, move 1 range band plus 1 per 2 bonus successes
  • Add 4 bonus successes for a Unicorn Warhorse
  • That's still covering 5 range bands if you pass the check - enough to get from 'the horizon' to katana-stabbing range in one turn, which feels like it makes archery a somewhat redundant skill. 
  • It does at least mean that it'll take a couple of turns to get to someone on foot, though, and there's no longer the ability to teleport to someone and stab them in one turn.

Still no scaling of the size of a range band, though.

 

 

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5 hours ago, sidescroller said:

It's very easy to reach range 5 in 3 rounds. So unless many Rokugani samurai can out-sprint real-world record holders--while carrying most of their gear-- movement probably needs some adjusting... but I'm not sure that it's quite as unrealistic as you describe. Maybe Martial Skill Group opportunity spends for Water should be 1 range band per 2 OP, instead of 1:1. Similarly, maybe the Maneuver action should allow a character to move 1 range band, +1 band per two bonus successes. Haven't worked the math, though. 

Problem is you can do that in only 1 round, every round, without rolling a single die, nor spending opportunities.

- Start at the outer limit of range 5 (limit of bow range)
- set your stance to water and you can move to range 4
- use water stance to take a free Maneuver and you can move to range 3
- use your action on Maneuver and you can move to range 2 (spear range)

 

Worst is that I don't see how using range bands makes the game narrative at all.
It's a discrete number that you have to track and that matters for nearly any action you undertake.
And changing that number draws from the limited resources you have available each turn.
How different is "You are withing range 3, but can only attack at range 2 with your spear", from "you are 8 meters away, but can only attack at 3-4 meters with your spear" ?
Sounds closer to gamist than narrativist...

Edited by Exarkfr
spelling

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5 hours ago, sidescroller said:

Honestly, I don't see where the game lets characters move at 66 km/sec.

When I read the section on range bands, range 6+ is handled in narrative time. Range 5 is 100 to several hundred meters.

[snip]

I think you are refering to "To move a distance of range 6 or farther, a character must generally undertake a journey in narrative time."

So you can argue that moving is to or from range band 6 is not allowed by the normal move one range band thing, because it takes narrative time to get there.

Two problems with that:

1. From 5 to 3 is still 400m to 10 m, which is on a round length of 15s about 26 m/s. That is a fast moving car (100km/h or 60miles/h), but we are not breaking the sound barrier.

2. The 3 samurai problem:

Kakita A is 400m from Doji B, who is attacked by Tsuruchi C further down the line (also 400m). Kakita A tries to reach Doji B to protect him, so she moves up to 10m close from range band 5 to range band 3. From Tsuruchi C perspective Kakita A is in Range band 6 and should not be able to join the fight, but after her turn she is now in range band ... and here I really have problems. Still in 6 because she can't move closer? Is she in 5 because she is now roughly in the same spot as Doji B, or is she in range band 4 because she was in range band 6 before and moved 2 range bands and is now closer to Tsuruchi C in terms of range bands dispite being further away in terms of meter?

The range band system looks good on paper, but as soon as you really want to apply the rules they break appart. The range band rules are only good as long as you ignore any movement rules and handle movement narratively (which I would not have a problem with, but that is not what is written in the book because for some reason you can move 2 range bands).

Edited by Yandia

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11 hours ago, Doji Meshou said:

Again: I disagree that it's bad design. It's certainly not worse than any other narrativist tabletop game, and it's certainly better than turning L5R into a wargame with social rules. :)

The movement mechanics certainly are worse than those in Fate, Burning Wheel, or even Vampire the Masquerade...

And it wouldn't be "turning L5R into", it would be "Continuing to allow it to function as"...

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Current rules allow for a too much movement, I agree. Personally I prefer the zone system from FATE and that is how we have used it here as well, and other similar games like Ex3. Makes it much easier to track and visualize imho, and you can make some zones more difficult to cross than others, due to being larger or simply difficult ground, whatever.

 

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Yeah, zones would be fine.

The free move that comes with setting your stance could allow you to:
 - engage someone in the same zone if not already engaged
 - disengage
 - change reach when engaged

The Maneuver action would let you move to an adjacent zone.

Thrown weapons could be used in the same zone or an adjacent zone (if no wall or blocking terrain)

Ranged weapons could be shot in adjacent zone or 2 zones away (if not blocked)
Further ranges would be the domain of narrative movement / chase.

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58 minutes ago, Doji Namika said:

Current rules allow for a too much movement, I agree. Personally I prefer the zone system from FATE and that is how we have used it here as well, and other similar games like Ex3. Makes it much easier to track and visualize imho, and you can make some zones more difficult to cross than others, due to being larger or simply difficult ground, whatever.

 

This is what I mean. No, 'he's at range 3' is not really different to 'he's at 3-6 metres'. What I mean is that tracking by rough 'he's near you', 'he's over there by the castle gate' and so on tends to be faster without requiring a huge amount more detail as long as the effort to move is still broadly sensible.

Moving from anywhere in one 'zone' to anywhere in the next being a 'move', or anywhere within a zone as an incidental, is fine, and there's no requirement for every zone to be exactly the same size as long as they take rougly the same amount of effort to cross.

So for example "the west grassy cliff-top" and 'the rocky east cliff-top" might both be rather large zones compared to "the rickety bridge connecting them" because moving across it takes the same amount of effort as sauntering several tens of metres across a pleasingly verdant lawn.

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