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FFG Max Brooke

[Focus Topic] Skills, Advantages, and Disadvantages (Week 5)

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I also REALLY need a general perception/spot skill. 

I feel like advantages/disadvantages had all the interesting flavor sucked out of them when they were forced into their current paradigm. Now they are all extremely boring and don't allow for things like Ishiken-do. I would prefer that you went back to a point system, perhaps with a point pool a character can spend during 20 questions.

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2 hours ago, AK_Aramis said:

That said, I would suggest, like horsemanship, these should be "limiter skills" - you cannot use more skill dice than the lower of the limiter skill or the primary skill. So, attacks from horseback, use lower of Iaijutsu or Horsemanship. Quick draw outside the duel/clash, use lower of Iaijutsu or melee. Quickdraw on horse, lowest of the three.

I like the idea of using the lowest skill between horsemanship and the relevant martial arts skill for mounted combat. Mounted combat is a whole different ballgame compared to regular fighting and it's not just "I am fighting with my weapon like normal, but I'm only sitting on top of something." You are very limited in the angle and type of attacks you can do because you do not want to hit the horse in the head/neck or anywhere else. There is a heck of a lot of other difficulties with it, but I will spare people the details unless they want to hear it. 

Also, the good thing about that is you could still use your pure horsemanship skill for things like controlling your horse/staying on it etc. And it can work for other skill use cases that might involve multiple etc. Nice.

Iaijutsu on horseback would be incredibly difficult. The only way I can think of it working is if you angled the saya vertically and drew the katana upwards and then slashed downward to your right side so that you don't hit the horse. And even then I'm not sure you could angle the saya vertically because the horse is wider than you are so the saya would bump into it before it could go completely vertical. Maybe if you were already holding the saya in the left hand you could have a lot more freedom on how you draw without hitting the horse, but then your hand needs to be off the reins. Still, I love the unconventional skill use cases and I'm sure a case where it would work out well would appear somewhere.

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ok some clarifications on stuff as I see it .

1: I see a lot of stuff about perception and spotting things so I will cover that and a dev should say something if I am totally wrong. Tactics, sentiment, Theology, survival, &courtesy cover all possible perception and spotting out side of artistic things. here is why. Tactics and any  Approach could be used for answering player questions like  Do I sense an ambush (void)  Can I spot a place where I would set up an ambush (air)  Did a fight a happen here (earth)  Was this ground scorched by lightning or did someone  set this fire on purpose  (fire). Sentiment could be done for Scholarly  endeavors. Theology for spiritual perceptions. Courtesy for social awareness. and each artisan skill has it's own established way of viewing it's specific  section of art.

2: Approaches and skills as above you can have many Approaches to each skill so lets try and break down each element a little easier

Earth: solid stoic direct this is the grounded Approach straight to the point no real fluff

Air: Graceful perceptive cunning and Precision  is what the book says so think of it has the way the wind blows some times it's narrow and harsh other times and can cut wear down stone after a while. 

it's the bird flying so gracefully in the air  that it can take your breath away. it also represents the mind and social graces in the same manner.

Fire:  your emotions run hot and fast passion is your friend and foe your desires burn your soul you act with ferocity and speed no pretense to being subtle in a social Aspect.

Water: think of water in almost all it's natural states. The powerful rushing torrent of a rapids, the way it adapts to where it is flowing around through and over everything, how it nurtures the crops, how it is everywhere in almost everything so the kami of water is aware of just about everything. a water Approach should cover them aspects in some manner. in a conflict the extra action is the speed of the water and the ability to adapt (sheath and draw a new weapon you need to us or drop your bow draw your melee weapon and strike at your melee opponent). in a social  environment flowing around the conflicts   and smothering the hot heads with cool reason.

Void: the mystery of the void magic, wisdom, intuition and instinct   all the things one can not put a finger on right away. be it the lucky day or the horrible night you suffered from. that little voice in the back of your head that whispers someone is trouble  but most people ignore. the awareness of the mystical and the paranormal the goosebumps   ya get when a spirit is near. this is the void everything and nothing at the same time. everything  that the other elements are not.

now seeing how the Approaches are now you have to relate them to skills lets take the lowest skill skulduggery  picking a lock (AIR perception , and knowledge ) . Stealth(water cause you flow away from the troubles and around the terrain), Setting a trap[mechanical] (fire cause of the invention of a trap) , waiting  for the right time to strike or move(earth Discipline and patience), planning a mission (void  Wisdom instincts and intuition)

so  try to look at all skills in this manner this and you will find picking an Approach will be easier  and more  intuitive (look you used void).

well that's all for skills now my rant on advantages and disadvantages

 

Advantages and disadvantages should have a point value and should be taken out of  the 20 questions (drop the questions to 16)

it should be you must take at least 10 points of disadvantages and advantages and then value advantages and disadvantages properly then you could add in a lot more with different effects

Bring back Prodigy at 10 point advantage and have it do +1 skill die  to every skill on your advancement chart and have that your high mark for advantages work down from there.

change disadvantages so they fit better not just here have some strife or reroll them 2 successes and if ya fail get a  void point there is so much more potential.

all advantages and disadvantages that are RP possible should be RPed a bit by the player if he is not doing it then you need to have a conversation about it with him if someone took  flirtatious but is not flirting then he is just taking a disadvantage for no reason. if you have a warrior that's idealistic then he should act that way.

I think that is enough for now  I hope this is helpful both to the GMs Players and, Devs.

  

Edited by Grodark

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20 hours ago, Grodark said:

ok some clarifications on stuff as I see it .

[snip]

Lots of great ideas there, and well elucidated. I still would prefer a general perception skill, with a note that suitable other skills may be used specific to the circumstance.

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On 11/2/2017 at 11:28 AM, FFG Max Brooke said:

•Are there any activities you have wanted to pursue during a session that are not clearly covered by one or more skills?

Mounted Combat needs some clarification. Feels like riding was an afterthought to system.
We had a lot of questions on mounted combat, note that we do NOT want even more rules and subsystems plastered on, just clarifications and simple elegant solutions that are intuitive and easy to use in game play.

Questions related to mounted combat:

  • Does the mount and the rider each take their own stance?
  • How does movement from a stance work with a mount?
  • Does a mount take a stance of its own? In combat we have treated it as the mount and rider can each have a different stance and movement from the stance for the rider is basically them shifting around on the horse. We treated rider and mount as a separate targets. So you could target the horse but not the rider(s) and vice versa. Before for some things we were just saying yes or no based on the situation, like being able to ride by and grab an object. Will probably consider the take extra (non-rolling) action from water stance as a way to do the things the rules don't really cover.
  • How can you attack with the mount (i.e. have it kick or trample someone) ?
  • Also need to figure out how movement stacks (see the various movement threads)
  • When does the mount act of its own accord?
  • Who chooses the type of outburst the mount has since it doesn't have to do the typical outburst?
  • Guidelines for using powers/techniques/spells/etc. on mounts/animals would be nice.
  • Guidelines for what is and isn't honorable in combat with a mount.
  • How much faster does spurning on the animal make it go?
  • Can you spend your xp on your mount?
  • Should mounts or animal bonds get xp so they don't die right away at higher level play?
  • How do you move and attack now that charge is gone?
  • The rules say that a horse doesn't take actions of its own when ridden, but assists with some things and provides bonus successes to movement checks. Does that mean it can't unmask/etc. when ridden? Does this mean a horse/pony wont just start walking on their own if someone is on them, even someone with no skill at riding?
  • What are the TNS for getting animals to do things?
  • Survival mentions a TN1 check to spur on an animal. So went with TN1 for getting a trained animal to do something, tn2 for untrained animals or tasks animals don't normally do, and if it was an animal bond, then not requiring a roll at all for most things. Typically we didn't roll and went with common sense. This also had the benefit of helping to avoid the strife bookkeeping, especially for those with animal bond, where every roll/interaction meant reduced strife.
  • Is it an action or movement to command an animal? Should it just be a free action or part of the movement?

If you are going to break riding off from survival, I would suggest you create an animal handling skill and have riding be a part of that skill. This could cover all types of interactions with animals/creatures. If approaches keep locked to skill groups, I'd list it as a social skill, otherwise I'd put it in with trade skills.

 

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•Are there any skills that have confused you in their implementation?

The biggest issue has been the various approaches being linked to skill groups. That doesn't really work. There are times when an approach from a different group fits the situation better, like using social approaches for dealing with animals or trade approaches being a better fit when using an artisan skill, or that you really need to use scholar approaches with all skills to investigate.

We also allowed using social opportunities when dealing with animals. We also allowed using martial opportunities and such when using survival in place of fitness.  That worked much better than the current system and the game flowed better.

Not sure why animal NPCs have nature as a skill, when they also have survival as a skill (usually equal to or greater than their nature skill). Seems odd to give them an optional subskill at a lesser value than the main skill.

 

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•Does your group generally apply advantages and disadvantages narratively, or only to the specific listed checks and rings?

Narratively. The advantages and disadvantages as written are a bit of a mess and not very interesting. Would like to see these streamlined so that there is just one category of advantages and one of disadvantages. Then the player/gm decides if the re-roll or strife effect applies to the given situation, not just the roll.
We did this for a session and it actually played a lot better and people were using them more often.
We never use the void recovery from disadvantages. We tired it but it just didn't work so we gave up on it. It doesn't fit narratively and is a mess mechanically. The game works smoother without void points attached to disadvantages (at least at our table).

Might even be nice if in character gen, it was set up so that if you take an advantage you have to take a disadvantage, but could forgo taking any advantages. Currently you can just make up ones that will never come into play or hustle your gm so your advantages are always in play and your disadvantages rarely if ever come up.

 

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•Are there any advantages or disadvantages from prior iterations of the game you would want to see return?

Not with the current method of advantaged and disadvantages. Though we would be okay with scrapping the current method and going back to a point based build.

 

Quote

•Are there any advantages or disadvantages you have had trouble using at the table?

For the most part we've avoided the ones that stand out as debilitating or never going to come into play across a variety of situations.

The Animal bond could use more clarification, but then animals and mounts feel like an afterthought anyway.

 

 

Misc update stuff:
The new air stance slows combat at higher levels. It was a bit of a misstep. Most NPCs are not going to hit the numbers outside of NPC squads and even then most won't be using many opportunities. This also needs some clarification how it effects techniques and abilities targeting a person or group of people. For instance should the TN of Way of the Earthquake be raised because of air stance? I wouldn't think so, but not sure.
If air stance ups the TN of techniques that already have a TN of 4 or 5 to use, then those start to really lose their punch.

This also led to instances where only half the PCs had to take air stance to make the whole group impossible for the NPCs to hit. Those in Air stance guarded those not in air stance, so everyone had a higher TN to be hit, then cleaned up the NPCs.  At higher levels it led to some shenanigans where everyone went air and assisted the bushi (who was also in air stance) and then cut through the foes fairly quickly. This was also the method that was required when a character needed to use a technique with a TN of 5 or 6 (especially those that also needed opportunities to be effective).

The added medicine stuff is good and seems to be working in play.

Strife still isn't adding any narrative benefit to our table and isn't playing out as anything other than book-work that distracts from the story. Being tied to the dice and so many mechanics, strife has become just another number to manipulate. After following it all by the book, we did a bit where we ignored strife on the dice, only had it come from character choices, and it played a lot more like how you describe you want the game to go.

Unmasking should be streamlined so that the act is either a minor breach of honor, a minor diminishment of glory, or imposes a disadvantage (causing re-rolls) to all rolls for the rest of the scene (and give the ability to flip the disadvantage into an advantage via void points). This would streamline the mechanics and keep unmasking balanced.


One player tried an interesting technique where they played a void /air turtle. They basically rushed their build to raise their void and tactics. They then were going first, guarding, and using opportunities to add and remove strife from others. They were able to consistently raise their TN higher than the NPCs could hit, then once they pushed the NPCs past their strife limit they switched to air stance and whacked em. It made combat slow and a little boring, but was rather effective. Also since the XP rules in the book suggest to give XP by the hour, dragging everything out is actually encouraged and rewarded.
While that was happening, we started to wonder if guarding stacks, so for example if you have someone on a wall shooting down, they can guard a person who is already guarding themselves? Also how things stack in general probably needs to be addressed.

 

Players were wondering why they could potentially recover all their fatigue/strife mid combat via calming breath, but can't outside combat. Some felt like it opened the door to everything resetting every scene or players potentially starting conflicts just to heal up. It also dragged out combats a bit more as players or NPCs often had to ignore a downed foe giving them time to heal up just enough to cause trouble again.

 

The rules overall feel like they need to start being streamlined and simplified when possible. The game feels more like a bunch of separate subsystems slapped together than a cohesive game system.

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On 11/3/2017 at 11:32 PM, AK_Aramis said:

On Iaijutsu. As it sits, it's weak sauce. There's no explicit way to force a stress-out in a duel, and it is really only truly useful if you can.

Note that a finishing blow opportunity comes 'when your strife is greater than your composure', not 'when you suffer an outburst' - so the change from outbursts to unmasking hasn't affected this. 

On 11/3/2017 at 3:02 PM, GaGrin said:

FFG. WTF? That's more dangerous than almost every single martial weapon on the table.  An Otsuchi is deadliness 3.  An arrow is deadliness 3.  A SPEAR is deadliness 3.

Guys.  Sort it out!

  • In its defence:
    • it's also only damage 2, so against an opponent with actual armour (even ashigaru stuff) it'll have trouble causing damage in the first place.
      • It only really got a chance to show off because Sakae (the Maho-Tsukai) is only wearing protection 1 robes, and the Oni has its armour compromised by the ritual.
    • Otsuchi and equivalents are explicitely high-damage/low deadliness - good for incapacitating but not dealing powerful criticals without the incapacitated/unconcious bonus. Comparing their deadliness to a bladed weapon or equivalent isn't fair. 
    • it's range 0
  • On the other hand:
    • It's got an air rank of 4 and martial arts melee 2 so racking up bonus successes and/or opportunities isn't that hard - it's arguably better than a lot of starting PCs in a fight. That seems rather too good.
    • Even if we use a narrative phrase of 'talons like daggers', a knife is only deadliness 4
    • Going to pop a note in the balance issues forum

 

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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not sure if this is the place to ask this silly questions but

1: how do you gain a skill group

2: how do you advance a skill Group

3: why would anyone have an entire skill group

 

the advancement table dose not include skill groups advancement skills are 2X skill  rank your going into but there is no Skill group 10X rank your going into

RP wise why would anyone have an entire skill group this seems like to much unless someone used all there character creation options to pick up rank 1 in all of  the skills in 1 group for some silly reason (maybe something like a crane artisan might pick up all the artisan skills) but then again why is that artisan  sent out on missions  (better be a good story behind that)

Edited by Grodark

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10 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

Note that a finishing blow opportunity comes 'when your strife is greater than your composure', not 'when you suffer an outburst' - so the change from outbursts to unmasking hasn't affected this. 

There's still no way in a duel to force stress, and no good reasons to do anything other than strike-strike-strike...

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4 hours ago, Grodark said:

not sure if this is the place to ask this silly questions but

1: how do you game a skill group

2: how do you advance a skill Group

3: why would anyone have an entire skill group

 

the advancement table dose not include skill groups advancement skills are 2X skill  rank your going into but there is no Skill group 10X rank your going into

RP wise why would anyone have an entire skill group this seems like to much unless someone used all there character creation options to pick up rank 1 in all of  the skills in 1 group for some silly reason (maybe something like a crane artisan might pick up all the artisan skills) but then again why is that artisan  sent out on missions  (better be a good story behind that)

The skill group in the advancement table only means that if you choose to upgrade any individual skill from that group, then you count the spent points towards your school rank advancement. You only ever rank up 1 skill at a time and the skill group just lets you upgrade any assortment of skills in the group and it counts toward rank advancement. Hope this helps.

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sorry Tokugawa77 might have been my quick typing it was supposed to be gain a skill group  

In addition to specific skills, techniques, and rings, school advancement
tables include a skill group: this means that as long as you have
spent XP on a skill found within that skill group, it will count toward
advancement. Note that you cannot count XP twice: if a school includes
both the Martial Arts [Melee] skill and the Martial skill group on the
advancement table, you do not get to list XP for both lines if you increase
your ranks in the Martial Arts [Melee] skill—that XP counts only for
the more specific line 

 

this is from page 45 of the beta book it mentions leveling skill group  or skills in group  not sure what their referencing

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1 hour ago, Grodark said:

Note that you cannot count XP twice: if a school includes

both the Martial Arts [Melee] skill and the Martial skill group on the
advancement table, you do not get to list XP for both lines if you increase
your ranks in the Martial Arts [Melee] skill—that XP counts only for
the more specific line 

this is from page 45 of the beta book it mentions leveling skill group  or skills in group  not sure what their referencing

This line is here because sometimes a specific skill on your current rank of your advancement chart is also part of the skill group that is listed in that rank. They are clarifying that when you spend xp to increase the skill that is specifically listed, but also technically part of the skill group, that you only note the experience spent on the more specific line (in this case the specific skill) and not on both. If for example your advancement chart had martial skill group listed and you wanted to increase meditation skill(which is in martial skill group) and it was not specifically listed, you could still upgrade it and mark those points spent on the martial skill group line. If you upgrade a specific skill that is listed on your current advancement chart, then you mark the points spent on that line.

The skill group on the advancement chart basically means that you can upgrade any skill that is part of that group and it will count towards ranking up. Every rank of everyone's advancement chart has 1 skill group and 3 specific skills that they can increase and count towards ranking up. Sometimes the specific skills listed just so happen to be part of the skill group listed as well, so they try to clarify this so people don't mark twice the experience because their skill is both individually listed and part of the group listed. Hope this helps.

EDIT: I think the misunderstanding stems from a misunderstanding of how the advancement table works. The advancement table is completely different from spending xp on things. The only things you can spend xp on are individual skills, rings, and techniques. You do this separately from the advancement table and can only get techniques that your character is able to know(designated by school). If you spend say 2 xp to increase skullduggery, but it isn't listed on your current rank of your advancement table, then the xp is still spent and the skill still increases, but you do not get to mark the xp spent on the table. If you increase say aesthetics using 2 xp, the xp is spent and the skill increases. Also, if that skill is listed on your current rank of your advancement chart, then you note 2 xp beside that skill on the chart and add that 2 to the total for ranking up. Once your total xp spent for a rank hits or exceeds what you need to rank up, then you become the next school rank and you start using the next rank's chart for xp spent.

Now, say my current rank in the advancement table has the martial skill group, but the 3 other individual skills listed are from different groups. This means that if I increase any skill from the martial group, then I am allowed to note that experience on my chart for ranking up. If I spend 2 xp on meditation(martial group) now and 4 xp on fitness(martial group) later, that means that my martial skill group line on my advancement chart should have 6 beside it, because I have spent 6 total on martial skills for this school rank.

So, the chart doesn't tell you what you can spend xp on, it tells you what you need to spend xp on if you want to increase school rank. Hope this helps

Edited by tokugawa77
Clarification

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On 02/11/2017 at 3:28 PM, FFG Max Brooke said:

Greetings L5R Testers!

This week, our discussion topic is Skills, Advantages, and Disadvantages. Here are a couple of questions to get you started:

•Are there any activities you have wanted to pursue during a session that are not clearly covered by one or more skills?

Not per se, but consistently we found the aproaches a far more useful shorthand than the skills or skill groups themselves for what we wanted to do. IE Recall or Survey + appropriate skill regardless of skill group and so on (I'm one of those that is perfectly fine with how investigation or Deceit are working). Skill groups come across as essentially useless outside the Opportunity tables and Character Advancement.

One exception was Horsemanship, as it turned out it would be covered by Survival if we read the horse/pony description, but riding seems to be a tacked on afterthought. When a major faction is largely defined by it...

Operating Siege Engines was other situation we didn't really find an answer we were fully confortable with, and you probably want to take a look at how to handle general Engineering considering the Kaiu schtick.

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•Are there any skills that have confused you in their implementation?

Well, Horsemanship, Siege Warfare and Engineering have already been touched upon. Fitness and Survival feel overbroad at what they do, the Artisan skills, particularly Design and Aesthetics just kind os seem to be there one being incredibly narrow  (Design which is just tailoring as described) and un-samurai like, the other being a catch all, and I see absolutely no reason to separate armed and unarmed melee combat at the level of granularity you have chosen for skills

One a more flavour level rather than mechanical I really don't like how Tactics and Sentiment are named. Tactics should be something like Warfare or Battle and Sentiment should be something like Empathy, Perception or Awareness.

Meditation also seems a odd fit as a Martial Skill.

Quote

•Does your group generally apply advantages and disadvantages narratively, or only to the specific listed checks and rings?

We forgot to use them alot, but when we used them it wasn't specifically to the listed examples.

 

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•Are there any advantages or disadvantages from prior iterations of the game you would want to see return?

I'd be interested to see how/if the Sacred Weapon advantages are going to be implemented, as well as the Yogo Curse, the Moto Curse, it not already absorbed into the Foreign Culture Disadvantage, and Great Destiny/Dark Fate.

Quote

•Are there any advantages or disadvantages you have had trouble using at the table?

No, however Passions and Anxieties are tied to Strife that is feeling more and more like meaningless bookkeeping with no benefit, and Adversities are directly tied to Void recovery in a way that we simply abhor.

Actually, Void has been a bit of a bugbear, we have no problem with Void not being recovered by resting but as it is Void recovery goes against both the thematic aspects of the element and even some of the stated goals of the developers. Meditation should allow for the recovery of Void, and if you really want to have Disadvantages tied to the recovery of Void thant it should be not tied to roll failure but in fact it to sucessful rolls despite the penalty from the Disadvantage.

Reward sucess over the disadvantage instead or rewarding failure.

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2 hours ago, Suzume Chikahisa said:

if you really want to have Disadvantages tied to the recovery of Void thant it should be not tied to roll failure but in fact it to sucessful rolls despite the penalty from the Disadvantage.

Reward sucess over the disadvantage instead or rewarding failure.

Amen to that! Especially since players are free to keep only one die, deliberately failing their roll in order to recover Void points. Much more interesting the other way around!

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5 hours ago, Suzume Chikahisa said:

Actually, Void has been a bit of a bugbear, we have no problem with Void not being recovered by resting but as it is Void recovery goes against both the thematic aspects of the element and even some of the stated goals of the developers. Meditation should allow for the recovery of Void, and if you really want to have Disadvantages tied to the recovery of Void thant it should be not tied to roll failure but in fact it to sucessful rolls despite the penalty from the Disadvantage.

Reward sucess over the disadvantage instead or rewarding failure.

2 hours ago, Franwax said:

Amen to that! Especially since players are free to keep only one die, deliberately failing their roll in order to recover Void points. Much more interesting the other way around!

There's good reason to reward failure instead: it gets people who would otherwise not accept failure to look upon failure as an option.

it's rewarding "Letting the GM invoke my disads in a way that matters" being rewarded more than the failure itself.

 

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SO encouraging failure is better than encouraging success & people can choose to fail  and get rewarded for it in some way hmm sounds like a millennials ideal situation ("ma I quit my job so I can get a bigger paycheck from the government") come on guys I like the idea of the overcoming the disadvantage  than giving into it to get a reward . (" ma I got a raise today cause I over came my fear and asked for one")

 

talking on discord with other beta testers  came up with 2 possibly solutions 

1: make it a void point if you succeed  

2: make the reroll on step 5 not step 3  so players can not choose to farm the void points make it so they much choose to keep 2 a S and/or E  and reroll them and must still keep them 2 dice after the reroll

this will get rid of the choose to fail aspect. AKA VP farming.

 

Edited by Grodark

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Success is its own reward. It doesn't need more.

VP farming is the explicitly  intended behavior.

See, a lot of people will take but never play their disads in traditional systems.  In this system, players have to offer their disads at action time; if they do, they can get a VP for use elsewhen, but only when they do so and it impedes their action.

The obvious outcome is that you have the choice to use them on low-risk rolls and earn them by failing the low risks.

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I suppose it would serve the same purpose by rewarding success against lousy odds... by granting a Void point when succeeding on a check despite the disadvantage, you also encourage players to give their disadvantages some spotlight. Instead of seeking excuses to make (and botch) skills checks that don’t matter too much, they will try to court situations where their disadvantage applies but where they also have decent skill to mitigate the risk of failure. Narratively, I also find it more rewarding: fighting your inner demons and triumph against all odds! Even better, your friends can help you overcome your shortcomings by providing assistance on the roll, building up camaraderie and so forth.  It does not remove the incentive to play out the disadvantages. At all.

On another note, in previous editions, I made it clear to my players that disadvantages were not “free points”. It was my responsibility as a GM to provoke situations where they would come up. Now, I do like the fact that players also have an interest in “promoting” their disadvantages, but the way it’s currently done feels off. 

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2 hours ago, Franwax said:

I suppose it would serve the same purpose by rewarding success against lousy odds... by granting a Void point when succeeding on a check despite the disadvantage, you also encourage players to give their disadvantages some spotlight. Instead of seeking excuses to make (and botch) skills checks that don’t matter too much, they will try to court situations where their disadvantage applies but where they also have decent skill to mitigate the risk of failure. Narratively, I also find it more rewarding: fighting your inner demons and triumph against all odds! Even better, your friends can help you overcome your shortcomings by providing assistance on the roll, building up camaraderie and so forth.  It does not remove the incentive to play out the disadvantages. At all.

On another note, in previous editions, I made it clear to my players that disadvantages were not “free points”. It was my responsibility as a GM to provoke situations where they would come up. Now, I do like the fact that players also have an interest in “promoting” their disadvantages, but the way it’s currently done feels off. 

In this edition, it's a player's responsibility, not the GM's; without engaging the Disad→failure→Void cycle, they disconnect from the void→extra die→success cycle.

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Yes, I did say I like this particular development (shifting the onus to the player)... but this can be done equally well by tying the void gain to success or failure. It’s just that, to me at least, one way feels less clunky and narratively more interesting than the other. 

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Haven't yet had the chance to fully catch up on this thread....

 

but as far as skills go, my group is loving that there's no general perception or investigation skill. Before, my group felt that we just had to wait around while the one character who was good at looking for stuff did their thing, but now they feel they can all meaningfully contribute to an investigation. Which is good, because our games often feature those.

When you do have that one character that's particularly good at investigation, they're a Kitsuki, which is fitting. 

To be clear, this is a narrative and gamist preference--give each character and each player something to do to move an investigation forward. Whether or not it is accurate simulation is ... probably outside most of our (forum users) pay grades, and not important to us because we find this method fun.

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AK_Aramis sorry but nope the +1k1 is still alive and well

Seize the Moment: A samurai should know the right moment to act, but
sometimes, even the hand of fate must be given a nudge by bold action.
While making a check, during Step 3: Assemble and Roll Dice Pool, a
character may spend 1 Void point to roll one additional Ring die and subsequently
keep one additional die during Step 5: Choose Kept Dice.

so spending the void is there as well as parry is very important .  So void is very powerful still and farming it should not be allowed.

if a GM wants you to earn a simple void point he just hold back a TN and poff there's a void point for the players.

 

Edited by Grodark

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On investigation, the trick is to make sure the general investigation is ONLY a fallback skill. Now, you can't police what people do at their table, but you can make it clear throughout the book that  the skill is only usable when no other skill is applicable.

One way to handle it might be to set the base TN at 4, and only reduce it to 2 if no other possible skill would fit.

Honestly, Rolemaster Standard System, for all you can criticize it for, is the only game that ever got the perception skill right. :) They had two (but practically one) general alertness skill that was always on with a ridiculously bad skill progression, so no one ever spent points on it, you basically just took whatever character creation gave you, then skills with normal skill progressions that only applied under certain situations (searching a room, situational awareness in combat, while on guard duty, while robbing a house, a pilot's awareness of their vehicle, etc).

That's what I'm trying to simulate with the TN 4 you drop if there's no other skill that fits.

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55 minutes ago, Grodark said:

AK_Aramis sorry but nope the +1k1 is still alive and well

Seize the Moment: A samurai should know the right moment to act, but
sometimes, even the hand of fate must be given a nudge by bold action.
While making a check, during Step 3: Assemble and Roll Dice Pool, a
character may spend 1 Void point to roll one additional Ring die and subsequently
keep one additional die during Step 5: Choose Kept Dice.

so spending the void is there as well as parry is very important .  So void is very powerful still and farming it should not be allowed.

if a GM wants you to earn a simple void point he just hold back a TN and poff there's a void point for the players.

 

The point is that the decision is not solely the GM's. If a GM isn't being a fair dealer on players' offering their disads, it becomes readily apparent. 

Concealed TN's are not recommended for common use. The player should have a lever to say, "I have something I want to ensure void for, and I'm not waiting for you to give it to me." 

The GM hiding TN's is a way to foreshadow big issues soon in session... but it's not intended to be the normal mode. As noted on page 179:

Quote

As such, for the majority of checks, it is recommended that the GM tell the players the TN, as this gives the players a more interesting set of choices. However, there are some rare occasions when the difficulty of a task would not be something the characters could accurately assess. 

And, for the record, I NEVER claimed that void points were unimportant. If you think I meant they were unimportant, you've deluded yourself.

I think the cycle is as important as the uses. Perhaps moreso, because it shapes player behavior.

For comparison... in 2D20 system success is rewarded with points that grant more dice for more success later. Likewise, fumbles either result in conditions or giving the GM points to make later disads worse or NPC rolls better. This results in both players lying about their rolls and in a nasty snowball effect that ruined 20% of sessions, by one or more of: 

  • elimination of difficulty (It's no fun if there's obviously no risk)
  • obvious evidence of the GM handing them victory (massive piles of unspent threat)
  • unrecoverably bad situations evolving from spending the rolled complications and rendering the PC's incapable of success

Meanwhile, Burning Wheel, Cortex Plus, Fate, and several others all reward nerfs with boons; players routinely deal with conditions and overcome them. It encourages playing your disads to get those points, and using them regularly in the knowledge that you can get more.

Edited by AK_Aramis

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so your totally for void point farming then farming then.

people will seek to do stuff  simply to fail where they will gain  VP as quickly as they can till the VP= their void ring.

now as for them other games you mentioned the disadvantages themselves  give a challenge for them to over come and when they over come them  they get a  reward they do not get a reward for failing to over come there disadvantages 

not exactly sure hat 2d20 is never seen a system like that but if your refereeing to the D20 system there is no extra dice reward for success and fumbles do not  exist in the game as written that's something people put into the game cause they hate people failing so much.

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