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Beta Rules Update v2.0 and Preview Material

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On 14/11/2017 at 2:55 AM, Doji Meshou said:

I have the clearest memory of Holmes frying poppy seeds for their oil in one of his shorts, but I honestly can't remember which one.

ANYWAY that's a distinction without a chemical difference (although a perfectly good cultural one at the time).

On the contrary, there are quite a chemical diferences. One is a stimulant, the other an analgesic to start with...

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3 hours ago, Suzume Chikahisa said:

For me to roll Perception+Kenjutsu was a perfectly fine way to get clues from a body as was Perception+Anatomy, Perception+Ichi-Miru, Perception+Authopsy or Perception+Investigation.

Sure.
But those pairings won't let you find the hidden body in the first place, which is what is being discussed.

On 18/11/2017 at 5:36 AM, defendi said:

The argument they are making in this thread is that there is no roll to SEE the bonzai. The player notices it automatically. They make a skill check to understand that what they are seeing deserves special notice, which is a seperate thing, and that's why there's no general perception skill.

If we consider that everything that matters is automatically noticed, we render Water/Survey useless.

Why, then, not do the same with the other rings ?
Why not also automatically know what the hints mean (Earth and Air), and have a good idea of what happened  (Fire) ?

 

I feel the box about investigation (p95), was added as an after thought.
It needs to be developed. Could each of the situations presented as examples in table 3-17 be approached in a different way ? Would it give other informations ?
Like :
 - Could I Analyze or Sense a crowd to find someone with hostile intents ?
 - Could I Theorize where the invisible object is, or just Survey the room to find it ?

And, if every approach is fine, then why not always use your best ring ?

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3 hours ago, Exarkfr said:

And, if every approach is fine, then why not always use your best ring ?

Wait.. isn’t that what we all do anyway? :P

Or at least switch back and forth between one’s two strongest Rings... not an issue per se because 1) Different Rings/Approaches can reveal the same thing from a different angle, with various flavors (which also encourages all players to participate as each may learn a different thing from the same object depending on their approach), and 2) the GM can always play on the variable TNs. With a TN 3 (Air 2, Earth 4), even if my Earth is higher than my Air, it may be beneficial to get outside of my usual comfort zone. 

But ultimately, yes, it seems we’re supposed to explore all possible approaches in game. It’s one of the strengths of the system. And let’s face it, when you can use martial arts with all 5 rings to attack, anything is fair game ;)

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Might be a problem with me, but as a GM, I would not let someone attempt an approach that makes little sense just because it's their best ring.

And, regarding variable TN, I'm also not the kind that just lets a player try all 5 approaches until they find they easy one.

It just seems too convoluted (even backwards, at times), like they are trying hard to make everything fit into the approach model.

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Oh but the variable TNs are not hidden by default (at least in RAW)... so the GM can lay it out openly before the players. Up to the players to pick the approach they like best. Those that make no sense can be banned or at least have a much higher TN.

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21 minutes ago, Franwax said:

Oh but the variable TNs are not hidden by default (at least in RAW)... so the GM can lay it out openly before the players.

Which begs the question: what is the point of spending an opportunity on a failed check to "Determine the easiest way to accomplish the task you were attempting (including the skill and approach that have the lowest TN when used)" if everything is told upfront ?

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7 minutes ago, Exarkfr said:

Which begs the question: what is the point of spending an opportunity on a failed check to "Determine the easiest way to accomplish the task you were attempting (including the skill and approach that have the lowest TN when used)" if everything is told upfront ?

Only the basic TN is revealed. The variable TNs are not known until you spend the Opportunity. 

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There are a number of issues with investigating in the system as written.

  • The first is that by the RAW the player picks the skill, then the GM picks the ring. This is backwards from searching for the unknown, as the player will likely know what approach they're using, but not the skill.
  • Next are the TNs. If TNs are open, the GM is basically laying it all out on the table. If the TNs are hidden, PCs and players end up building up strife on rolls they may never have a chance of hitting.
  • Opportunities. Opportunities let you know the correct skill and approach. So really all a player needs to do is make a roll, probably their best roll, farm for an opportunity, then get the answer to the best skill to use. That is a waste of everyone's time. You put a monk in the group and it is basically a given you know the right skill and ring.
  • Next is assisting. Assisting makes searching moot unless there is a time crunch. Everyone aids the person with the highest water and a table of 4 PCs at rank 1 will hit TN5 most of the time, by rank 3 they should be able to find anything as a team. Now this is NOT a call to raise TNs or nerf assisting.
  • Poorly written and conveyed info in the book is up next. If the intro mod in the beta is a guide to how they expect investigation to go, then basically the GM is to lay out all the clues and have the players roll to fill in the details. If that is the intent, the rules don't clearly convey that. Also not every scenario is one where the GM can give all the clues and not every GM is skilled at giving such clues or players capable of picking up on those clues. This then creates even more work for the GM in a setting that already requires a lot of work on their part.
  • Finally, which skill to use in each scenario isn't always obvious or intuitive. This takes the GM and players out of the moment and breaks the flow of the game. Now we have to turn our focus away from the story and focus on mechanics.

I like that they are trying to make all skills relevant some of the time, especially the ones that rarely see use. However the current method isn't working that well. 

The simple solution is to add the generic "noticing of stuff" into another existing skill. I'd go with either Meditation and/or Sentiment. This way PCs can take in the environment and either gain insights directly from the skill roll or use opportunities to delve deeper into the scenario using other skills.

If altering Meditation, I'd change the name to either "Awareness" or "Reflection" and adjust the skill so it covers being aware of and reflecting on one's self as well as the world around you. This way the skill can cover the basic notice and investigate while still covering what meditation already does. This kind of self and world awareness is also thematic with the setting and fits with the broad nature of skills in the game.

If changing Sentiment, I'd change it to Perception (or other appropriate name) and wrap noticing more than just emotions into the skill. Expand the skill to be about perceiving the world around you and noticing the changes in the environment and in others as well as insight into those changes. This would keep the skill's uses thematically appropriate and set it up as the main investigation skill while working great with the approaches for the skill group.

 

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45 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

Only the basic TN is revealed. The variable TNs are not known until you spend the Opportunity. 

Sadly it's not consistent with the adventure.
To check to tracks in the blood and to check the blood splatters, you can use two different skills, with different TN each.

The TN is thus variable based on Ring and Skill (and an opportunity would reveal that)

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2 hours ago, Exarkfr said:

Might be a problem with me, but as a GM, I would not let someone attempt an approach that makes little sense just because it's their best ring.

I'll let 'em. My approach is to let anyone try anything, go ahead and give it a roll! 2 successes? You theorize that you might find the murder weapon tucked behind the armoire. Oh you check? It's not there. Afterall, it was only a theory. Meanwhile the guy who gets 2 successes using his eyeballs to just survey the scene notices the lamp over there is covered in blood!

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4 minutes ago, Exarkfr said:

Sadly it's not consistent with the adventure.
To check to tracks in the blood and to check the blood splatters, you can use two different skills, with different TN each.

The TN is thus variable based on Ring and Skill (and an opportunity would reveal that)

I mean, you will only get the TN for the actual Ring, you won't get any other info like whether it is the best TN. If the TN is suspiciously high, you fail but you get an Opportunity or two then you might want to check whether there is a lower TN or not. Maybe there isn't (the stories I can tell...) but the chance is always there. 

6 minutes ago, KillingGoblinBabiesIsDishonorable said:

I'll let 'em. My approach is to let anyone try anything, go ahead and give it a roll! 2 successes? You theorize that you might find the murder weapon tucked behind the armoire. Oh you check? It's not there. Afterall, it was only a theory. Meanwhile the guy who gets 2 successes using his eyeballs to just survey the scene notices the lamp over there is covered in blood!

This example is bad because the player must get his intent (find the murder weapon) with the success, regardless of the Approach used. So if the player uses Theorize to find a clue, and he succeeds, then he will find a perfectly usable clue with the Theorize Approach. Maybe not the murder weapon, but a possible suspect or a motive. 

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3 minutes ago, KillingGoblinBabiesIsDishonorable said:

I'll let 'em. My approach is to let anyone try anything,

The main problem I have with that is: if you can let anyone use nearly any skill with their best Ring, why bother with all the system ?
It looks like, in the end, every one is a Kitsuki.

Just remove the investigation part, give the players all the info they need, and move on trying to catch the culprit.

 

I always end up finding that this system is either too complex, or not enough.

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2 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

I mean, you will only get the TN for the actual Ring, you won't get any other info like whether it is the best TN. If the TN is suspiciously high, you fail but you get an Opportunity or two then you might want to check whether there is a lower TN or not. Maybe there isn't (the stories I can tell...) but the chance is always there. 

Sure... but, let's look at the "check the tracks" situation.

The player comes across a pool of blood with footprints visible.
They decide that they will use their knowledge in tracking to study those tracks  (Air / Survival)
GM announces that it is a TN4 task.
Player rolls and fail, but get one opportunity.
They spend it to learn that the easiest way is Fire/Tactics, with a TN of only 1.
Any player (can be the same) can then easily make that check and get the info.

 

Even if we set aside the fact that Air / Survival is what you would use for tracking, while Fire/Tactics is what you use for a head-on assault...
Why go through all this ? It's over-complicated.
Why bother with variable TNs if you can learn the best way and retry until you succeed ?
If you WILL succeed, you should NOT roll.
Yet, the system makes you jump through 2 loops to get what you want.
One test to learn what test you should make to get the info and then make that other test is one test too much.

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15 minutes ago, Exarkfr said:

The main problem I have with that is: if you can let anyone use nearly any skill with their best Ring, why bother with all the system ?
It looks like, in the end, every one is a Kitsuki.

Just remove the investigation part, give the players all the info they need, and move on trying to catch the culprit.

 

I always end up finding that this system is either too complex, or not enough.

It's a matter of letting them try not letting them succeed. You can try to jump 100 feet in the air from a standing position. You can roll for it and everything, but it doesn't mean it's going to happen

 

19 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

This example is bad because the player must get his intent (find the murder weapon) with the success, regardless of the Approach used. So if the player uses Theorize to find a clue, and he succeeds, then he will find a perfectly usable clue with the Theorize Approach. Maybe not the murder weapon, but a possible suspect or a motive. 

That's the realm of opportunities. Failing to find what you were looking for but finding something else of value is textbook opportunity usage. If you're using fire ring to theorize where something could be, that's your intent. During a fight you want to kill your opponent, but your roll isn't a roll to kill the opponent, it's a roll to attack in hopes of killing the opponent, just like a roll to theorize a solution is a roll to craft a theory in hopes that it will provide you with something, it isn't a roll to get the thing. With success you successfully come up with a theory, as you were intending to do. It doesn't have to be a fruitful or correct theory in any way, and if you would always give the player something worth while for any roll they do that's just you being very generous as a DM.

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@Exarkfr It is up to the GM to make the combination reasonable. For example, the TN can be 1 for Fire / Tactics because the blood trail goes through a battlefield - anyone can follow it until then, but finding the right one will require you to know where the warring sides retreated and pulled away their wounded, so you can find the blood you are looking for. 

 

@KillingGoblinBabiesIsDishonorable I assumed that the intent was "finding a clue" and not specifically "find the murder weapon". If it was the latter, then the character will successfully theorize the location of the weapon (maybe vaguely like "it must be in the murderer's room and not here") and not run into a hole. 

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3 minutes ago, KillingGoblinBabiesIsDishonorable said:

It's a matter of letting them try not letting them succeed. You can try to jump 100 feet in the air from a standing position. You can roll for it and everything, but it doesn't mean it's going to happen

We are talking about investigation, which means stuff that will happen. Not people attempting impossible things.

Would you let a player use Recall / Medicine on a pool of blood to see where the footprints are leading ?

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3 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

@Exarkfr It is up to the GM to make the combination reasonable. For example, the TN can be 1 for Fire / Tactics because the blood trail goes through a battlefield - anyone can follow it until then, but finding the right one will require you to know where the warring sides retreated and pulled away their wounded, so you can find the blood you are looking for. 

In the scenario, the blood pool is in a room.
But still... why bother ?
Make any roll and you will learn the best combination thanks to a single opportunity.
What's the point ? Why would you try to find a sensible combination, roleplay it, fail, and just move on with the easiest combination ?

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1 minute ago, Exarkfr said:

We are talking about investigation, which means stuff that will happen. Not people attempting impossible things.

Would you let a player use Recall / Medicine on a pool of blood to see where the footprints are leading ?

I will let him roll, and hopefully while he's preparing his dice for inevitable failure one of the other players asks to survey/survival to actually have a chance. The way I see it is it's not the DM's job to tell the player what to try and do. A player tells the DM what he's trying to do, and the DM tells him what happens as a result of trying to do it. If someone said, "I want to recollect deeply on my medical studies and research in hopes of remembering where these bloody footprints go", then I as DM am obligated to say, "Okay, that would be a recall / medicine roll, you can try if you want."

Best case scenario he successfully recollects his medical studies about blood and is no closer to following bloody footprints. Worst case scenario he can't even properly remember his medical studies and is still no closer to following bloody footprints. It's a strange world one lives in where no one ever has bad ideas or tries something impossible because the magic voice in the sky/their heads tells them the TN is too high, or that combination of skills can't possibly achieve that result. 

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1 minute ago, Exarkfr said:

In the scenario, the blood pool is in a room.

 

Again, the variable TN combinations must be sensible. If the blood pool is in the room then I would go with Water / Labor TN 2 (Void 1, Fire 3) - just looking through the room (Water Approach) will do it just fine, but feeling the restless spirits and the lingering violence (Void Approach) will do better, while thinking about the possibilities (Fire Approach) will just confuse you. The problem is more with the Labor Skill and how it interacts with the greater check, not the Approach system. 

Note that the check is set for the GM, the player can only play around it to fish for the better TN or suck up the worse TN. 

Also, you probably want to use lots of different Rings for those sweet-sweet Narrative Opportunities. 

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6 minutes ago, KillingGoblinBabiesIsDishonorable said:

I will let him roll, and hopefully while he's preparing his dice for inevitable failure one of the other players asks to survey/survival to actually have a chance. The way I see it is it's not the DM's job to tell the player what to try and do. A player tells the DM what he's trying to do, and the DM tells him what happens as a result of trying to do it. If someone said, "I want to recollect deeply on my medical studies and research in hopes of remembering where these bloody footprints go", then I as DM am obligated to say, "Okay, that would be a recall / medicine roll, you can try if you want."

Best case scenario he successfully recollects his medical studies about blood and is no closer to following bloody footprints. Worst case scenario he can't even properly remember his medical studies and is still no closer to following bloody footprints. It's a strange world one lives in where no one ever has bad ideas or tries something impossible because the magic voice in the sky/their heads tells them the TN is too high, or that combination of skills can't possibly achieve that result. 

As a GM, if a player want's to try something and you let them roll, you are accepting that they can succeed (step 1, Making a Check, p12 = " the player describes what they want their character to achieve if they succeed at the check"). If so, you assign the TN.

If they CAN'T make it, your job is to say "no" (p12, When to ask for a check = "Could they possibly succeed?")

That players often attempt stupid things, doesn't mean that you should go with everything.
That magic voice is just... the rules.

 

@AtoMaki

Hey, I'm just going with the scenario, here :P

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2 minutes ago, Exarkfr said:

As a GM, if a player want's to try something and you let them roll, you are accepting that they can succeed (step 1, Making a Check, p12 = " the player describes what they want their character to achieve if they succeed at the check"). If so, you assign the TN.

If they CAN'T make it, your job is to say "no" (p12, When to ask for a check = "Could they possibly succeed?")

That players often attempt stupid things, doesn't mean that you should go with everything.
That magic voice is just... the rules.

This is boiling down to the semantics of what an action consists of. An Attack roll to swing your sword at a man and hit him. To me, the action is swinging your sword to hit the man. Nothing should stop your character from trying to hit that man. Doing damage, however, is a lateral result of that action, not that action itself. You cannot take an action to "kill this guy", just like you can't take an action to "Find this thing." You can take an action that you hope results in that. I would say that the action you are taking is remembering, theorizing, or surveying. That is what your character hopes to achieve, they hope to remember something, come up with a theory, or scan an area. As a result of that action, they hope to find insight in the investigation, but just like it's possible to land an attack and not do damage, it's possible to come up with a theory or completely survey an area and not achieve anything from it beyond the success of trying.

I guess it's all personal preference on how you care to read it. I interpret it that way because I want a world where characters try impossible tasks, It's strange to me that individuals would only ever pursue avenues they had a chance of success in, just based on celestial intuition of divine meta intervention. If your character attempts something stupid, they are attempting something stupid, people attempt stupid things all the time, and if you just say "no you can't even try because it's stupid" then you're creating a world where the PC's, in universe don't have that flaw as people.

Rokugan your way and all that.

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2 minutes ago, KillingGoblinBabiesIsDishonorable said:

"no you can't even try because it's stupid" 

I would more likely tell them "You can't successfully jump across the rift. But you can jump nonetheless. And fall."
No roll. They jump, they fall.

Same with a Recall / Medicine to follow footprints :
"You'll get nothing from that, but feel free to waste your time".

If I'm not ready to accept a successful roll, I tell them upfront it won't work.

YMMV.

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9 hours ago, Exarkfr said:

Sure.
But those pairings won't let you find the hidden body in the first place, which is what is being discussed.

If we consider that everything that matters is automatically noticed, we render Water/Survey useless.

Why, then, not do the same with the other rings ?
Why not also automatically know what the hints mean (Earth and Air), and have a good idea of what happened  (Fire) ?

 

I feel the box about investigation (p95), was added as an after thought.
It needs to be developed. Could each of the situations presented as examples in table 3-17 be approached in a different way ? Would it give other informations ?
Like :
 - Could I Analyze or Sense a crowd to find someone with hostile intents ?
 - Could I Theorize where the invisible object is, or just Survey the room to find it ?

And, if every approach is fine, then why not always use your best ring ?

I think the pairings of Water + Labor, Government, or Skulduggery work well as actual "I'm methodically searching" checks.

Labor because it deals in construction and deconstruction.  Taking everything apart to completely expose all items within X is a great way to find anything.

Government because it includes duties to uphold the law.  Being trained to search things methodically would definitely fall under Government*

Skulduggery fits well as it signifies you might know where you would hide a body.  Knowing how you might do something, or how something might be done allows you to search for something without knowing what it is.

*I don't think the Skills are all properly named or that their fields are designed best, but as written this is contained withing Government.

--------------

idk if I agree with this 1 Opportunity - what is the best check to accomplish X task.  I haven't used this in my games yet, but it sounds like it cuts out a lot of RP potential as a player can basically solve any puzzle situation where I might be baiting for a specific check in a situation (conversing with an NPC to gain their favor and I want them to find his interests) and that's bad.  That completely removes part of the game where the players are trying to find out what to do!

That said - the approach system with both top level traits and skills makes it difficult to bait for a specific check to begin with... but that is another story I guess.

Edited by Soshi Nimue

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5 hours ago, jmoschner said:

There are a number of issues with investigating in the system as written.

  • The first is that by the RAW the player picks the skill, then the GM picks the ring. This is backwards from searching for the unknown, as the player will likely know what approach they're using, but not the skill.

This bit about the GM picking the ring gets mentioned a lot, but it's not really what the rules indicate. The rules have the GM determining the ring based on the action the player describes. I believe this is because the player is less likely to know these mappings. For example, when the player says "I search the room for the dagger", the GM knows that searching a room is a Survey action, and uses the Water ring. If the player says "I search the room with my Fire ring", the GM is going to say it's Water and not Fire. This is the same as if the player says "I stab him with my Katana using my Courtesy skill", the GM is going to say it's Martial Arts [Melee], not Courtesy.

The issue with the player not knowing which skill is appropriate would be problematic, but I assume the GM will suggest a couple of appropriate skills.

Quote

Next are the TNs. If TNs are open, the GM is basically laying it all out on the table. If the TNs are hidden, PCs and players end up building up strife on rolls they may never have a chance of hitting.

I think the dice mechanics make it important for players to always know the TN they are rolling against. This doesn't mean they know the TN before they attempt something. This is why the opportunity spend to find the ideal skill and ring is useful.

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