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defendi

The Four Main Complaints

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Aside from the general perception note, which I've already started an argument about ( :) ), my players four main complaints.

The rings seem to be a little TOO general. They balk a lot at the fact that air has NO effect on the TN to hit and that no ring has any effect on melee damage. If air even had a +1 TN effect a high level, like Air stance, that would probably alleviate that complaint some. The fact that a hulking crab does the same damage with tetsubo as a tiny crane is never going to sit well with them, though, no matter how abstract you want the ring system to be.

The bushi seem way too similar. The kata system doesn't have enough variety. We need a LOT of katas that only certain clans can take and the advancement charts need to funnel the schools into taking these katas. I LOVE the fact that you can go against that, and my players do too, but the fact that the base variety isn't there to begin with really bothers them. (Maybe this one will be in the final system, but if so, we aren't testing it).

The Advancement System favors bushi too much. The charts seem set to be perfectly geared for exactly what bushi want and what the party needs them to develop, while shugenja and the like need to frequently deviate from their advancement table to serve the party's needs. My shugenja tend to spend almost half their XP outside their advancement chart, while my bushi almost never have to. (Also, the suggest XP rate seems WAY too high).

Healing seems to have been nerfed too much. With fire stance a thing, one path to inner peace, per person, per scene, isn't enough to keep up with all the damage they take. They have some other options, like kiho healing, but many parties won't have access to those. Maybe one form of healing per source per scene, and not restrict by path to inner peace or kiho or kata specifically, and that way themed parties aren't punished for being themed?

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If your Crab player took Large Stature, it seems reasonable to apply that to the attack roll with the tetsubo. In that case, rerolling two dice will generally let you do more damage. This may be too powerful, though.

If your Crane player took Small Stature, you may make that a disadvantage, requiring the player to reroll two of their success dice when using the tetsubo. In that case, since you're inverting the advantage, the player would get 1 void point.

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On 11/17/2017 at 8:02 PM, defendi said:

The rings seem to be a little TOO general. They balk a lot at the fact that air has NO effect on the TN to hit and that no ring has any effect on melee damage. If air even had a +1 TN effect a high level, like Air stance, that would probably alleviate that complaint some.

Not sure exactly what you're saying. Are you suggesting you want being in air stance to make it easier to hit someone, or harder to be hit (which it does)?

Also note that air stance does vary at high level - see the update, page 7:

Quote

“Increase the TN of Attack and Scheme action checks targeting you by 1 If your school rank is 4 or higher, increase the TN by 2 instead.”

Also, fire stance has a massive effect on melee damage. Because you use strife results as bonus successes, a 3-4 dice roll in fire stance normally produces 2 or more extra damage relative to the same swing in any other stance - which makes sense, because it's the aggressive "just clobber 'em and bugger the consequences" combat stance.

On 11/17/2017 at 8:02 PM, defendi said:

The fact that a hulking crab does the same damage with tetsubo as a tiny crane is never going to sit well with them, though, no matter how abstract you want the ring system to be.

As noted, if we're talking specifically about an attack roll with a massive, heavy weapon, applying Large Stature and Small Stature as advantage and disadvantage to the roll respectively is not unreasonable, which will substantially change the likeliness of a damaging hit and/or the bonus successes (and hence damage) when you hit

On 11/17/2017 at 8:02 PM, defendi said:

The bushi seem way too similar. The kata system doesn't have enough variety. We need a LOT of katas that only certain clans can take and the advancement charts need to funnel the schools into taking these katas. I LOVE the fact that you can go against that, and my players do too, but the fact that the base variety isn't there to begin with really bothers them. (Maybe this one will be in the final system, but if so, we aren't testing it).

To each their own. We've only had three bushi so far in our games (one Duellist, one Defender and one Commander) and they have all felt very different. We've been using the 'Veteran Samurai' character creation option from the update, so they're rank 3 and have gone a fair way along their respective school trees, and do have very different abilities. I'll admit that stock characters with little more to their name than a school ability and maybe 2 other rank 1 techniques are pretty similar (especially since all bushi schools have earth as one of their ring rank increases).

On 11/17/2017 at 8:02 PM, defendi said:

The Advancement System favors bushi too much. The charts seem set to be perfectly geared for exactly what bushi want and what the party needs them to develop, while shugenja and the like need to frequently deviate from their advancement table to serve the party's needs. My shugenja tend to spend almost half their XP outside their advancement chart, while my bushi almost never have to. (Also, the suggest XP rate seems WAY too high).

What is it that the Shujenga are needing to buy? Masakuri - our party's shujenga - is a Meishodo Master and has yet to spend a single XP on non-tree advances. 

If it's something that only the Shujenga can take presumably it must be invocations (because if it's just skills, why not have the Bushi broaden their horizons a bit and share the 'wasted XP costs' if they insist the party must have a load of ranks of medicine or whatever)., but I can't imagine what's so critical.

On 11/17/2017 at 8:02 PM, defendi said:

Healing seems to have been nerfed too much. With fire stance a thing, one path to inner peace, per person, per scene, isn't enough to keep up with all the damage they take. They have some other options, like kiho healing, but many parties won't have access to those. Maybe one form of healing per source per scene, and not restrict by path to inner peace or kiho or kata specifically, and that way themed parties aren't punished for being themed?

Anyone can heal themselves given a round or two of safety. Beta Update, Page 7:

Quote

Calming Breath
Description: During a conflict, you may inhale deeply before exhaling, drawing upon your inner strength.
Activation: As a Support action, you may use this action.
Effects: Remove 1 strife (to a minimum of half your composure) or 1 fatigue (to a minimum of half your endurance).

Also first aid for anyone with the medicine skill. Beta Update, Page 5:

Quote

The following actions related to the Medicine skill are available to
all characters.
First Aid
Patching up cuts and bruises in the field is a key use of Medicine. As a Support action, a character may make a TN 2 Medicine (Earth) check targeting a character at range 0–1. If the healer succeeds, target heals fatigue equal to 1 plus the healer’s bonus successes and cannot benefit from the First Aid action again until they have been treated more thoroughly, such as with the Treatment action. The healer may spend  *+ to affect one additional target per ** spent this way.
Treatment
While quick action in the field can get a character back on their feet, long-term care is also important. As a downtime activity, a character may make a TN 2 Medicine (Water) check targeting a character convalescing character in the scene. If the healer succeeds, the target heals fatigue equal to the healer’s Water ring plus their bonus successes. The healer may spend *+ to affect one additional target per * spent this way.

That's aside from any other healing based techniques like the (Kata) Warriors Resolve (P.109), (Kiho) Chi Protection (P.144) and (Inovations) Heart of the Water Dragon (P.129), Inari's Blessing and Path To Inner Peace (P.130).  Every single school therefore has access to at least one technique which can recover damage (although it may be limited to 'self' rather than 'friendly party member')

The only technique categories which don't have a damage-healing technique in it are Shuji (which still has the strife-healing courtier's resolve) and Maho (which....yeah. 'Healing' not so much a big deal unless you count being raised as a full-health zombie peasant 'healing'...). 

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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Im sure there is a lot of people here who enjoy the fact that the system is not Star Wars/Genesys, but Im part of those who will not buy the game BECAUSE of some (again) new set of dices to buy.

I really enjoy Star Wars made by FFG, and Im so excited by the incoming Genesys System.

In France we call this "boycott" I dont know if the same word exist in english, but I will not buy this game. I would prefer find somewhere the 4th Edition or not buy this at all. Im very upset by this policy of new dices (I know it is mostly commercial) but Im done.

I was on the beta mailing since the beginning, hopping the dices will became same as Genesys System.

Sorry FFG, again, you're going too far of my heart with this maners... (FFG games are the best. Commercial policy is the worst)

Edited by Poliakhoff

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Honest question - do you refuse to buy/play board games too? They also come with quite expensive, unique, non-cross-playable components that make them very expensive, probably more expensive than an RPG rulebook+a set of dice.

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5 minutes ago, WHW said:

Honest question - do you refuse to buy/play board games too? They also come with quite expensive, unique, non-cross-playable components that make them very expensive, probably more expensive than an RPG rulebook+a set of dice.

Im only playing Xwing, but I stopped buyng ships a year ago. And nothing more BECAUSE of this dirty policy (and trust me, it is difficult to not buy such great games as L5R LCG or Destiny...). But it is not my point.

FFG creating a new RPG while creation the Genesys System in the mintime would be a perfect timing to cross the systems and have one. Not two.

And one dice set. Not two.

Edited by Poliakhoff

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Let's see, what would be my four main complaints...

  1. The rules are too convoluted and hard to use smoothly. There are too many sub-rules and side-mechanics that don't tie into the main set well and disrupt the game's flow. It isn't as big as a problem if your group is experienced and thus is able to handwave these bumps away, but I'm fairly sure that's not how the game was intended to work. 
  2. The Skill List is bad. It is filled with nonsensical and counterintuitive choices, as well as things that were clearly made to detach 5R5 from 4th Edition. 
  3. Assistance works in very strange ways and can potentially disrupt games a lot more than the convoluted rules. 
  4. Conflict resolution (all four types) feels clunky and handles very oddly. There are also strange differences in how each type of conflict plays out despite sharing the same basic mechanics.

There is also a problem with starting power levels, but I wouldn't put that among these points, it isn't so bad tho it ties into no3 as Assistance is an easy escape route but a corrupting temptation. 

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8 hours ago, Poliakhoff said:

Im sure there is a lot of people here who enjoy the fact that the system is not Star Wars/Genesys, but Im part of those who will not buy the game BECAUSE of some (again) new set of dices to buy.

I really enjoy Star Wars made by FFG, and Im so excited by the incoming Genesys System.

In France we call this "boycott" I dont know if the same word exist in english, but I will not buy this game. I would prefer find somewhere the 4th Edition or not buy this at all. Im very upset by this policy of new dices (I know it is mostly commercial) but Im done.

I was on the beta mailing since the beginning, hopping the dices will became same as Genesys System.

Sorry FFG, again, you're going too far of my heart with this maners... (FFG games are the best. Commercial policy is the worst)

 yes, "boycott" is in english - same spelling and meaning.

As for the dice, while I dread buying moe custom dice, genesis would be a definite, "No way, not L5R-enough"... especially after using the fixed difficulties. I'm half tempted to switch to L5R dice mechanics for FFG Star Wars. The much more character focused success and failure, and the lack of needing to tell players the difficulty, make this a better experience for less cinematic. And my L5R games are not exactly cinematic... Heroic, gritty... but no chanbarra, and no wild swings of fate.

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4 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

Let's see, what would be my four main complaints...

  1. The rules are too convoluted and hard to use smoothly. There are too many sub-rules and side-mechanics that don't tie into the main set well and disrupt the game's flow. It isn't as big as a problem if your group is experienced and thus is able to handwave these bumps away, but I'm fairly sure that's not how the game was intended to work. 
  2. The Skill List is bad. It is filled with nonsensical and counterintuitive choices, as well as things that were clearly made to detach 5R5 from 4th Edition. 
  3. Assistance works in very strange ways and can potentially disrupt games a lot more than the convoluted rules. 
  4. Conflict resolution (all four types) feels clunky and handles very oddly. There are also strange differences in how each type of conflict plays out despite sharing the same basic mechanics.

There is also a problem with starting power levels, but I wouldn't put that among these points, it isn't so bad tho it ties into no3 as Assistance is an easy escape route but a corrupting temptation. 

  1. Too clunky? no. not overall.
    • Nowhere near as clunky and convoluted as Pathfinder...
    • some sections are clunky
  2. Yes, I agree, the skill list is wonky
  3. Yes - assistance is too powerful as R&K with no clear guidelines on how many can help
  4. conflict resolution, in general, works rather well, unless you try to force a d10R&K mode upon it.
    1.  Intrigue actually works well, but probably should go to a Star Wars style generate slots and anyone on a side can fill any slot to prevent abuses
    2. Duels are boring for everyone else at the table, and too many rolls.
    3. skirmish works really well, tho' I'd not mind seeing star wars style initiative
    4. Mass combat sucks badly.
      1. Incoherent writing,
      2. side based damage,
      3. poor selection of actions to pick from
      4. challenge ties to a duel
      5. too abstract
      6. the whole movement/range bands issue 
  5. R&K is SLOW.
    • It was slow under classic L5R, too.
      • BIggest slowdown? Rank 3+ samurai with bonus rolled and bonus kept resulting in initial pools of 12k12+15, becoming 10k13+15, becoming 10k10+30...
      • Many players had a hard time totalling dice, and so were needing calculator or scratch paper once keep exceeded 3d
      • I had players who waffled a lot over whether or not to make raises. Also slowed things down.
    • the 5E numbers are much easier, but the result space is much wider, with 5E custom dice, resulting in Analysis paralysis.
      • this is especially problematic with my largely "on the Spectrum" group - 5 of 7 diagnosed with autism spectrum, 1 ADHD (similar symptoms, same treatment), and 1 with symptoms but no diagnosis. Not that they're complaining. They love the result space ... it's just they actually think through which to keep.
      • The spends for opportunity are also a major slowdown. 
        • They're often worth it. Often, not always.

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52 minutes ago, AK_Aramis said:
  1. Too clunky? no. not overall.
    • Nowhere near as clunky and convoluted as Pathfinder...

I beg to differ. HARD.

Anecdotal evidence: I'm introducing my girlfriend to RPGs, we started playing Pathfinder. She never played RPGs before, except for (ironically) two sessions of the L5R 4e system in the Dragon Age setting. She isn't having any problems with Pathfinder at all so far.

 

52 minutes ago, AK_Aramis said:
  1. R&K is SLOW.
    • It was slow under classic L5R, too.
      • BIggest slowdown? Rank 3+ samurai with bonus rolled and bonus kept resulting in initial pools of 12k12+15, becoming 10k13+15, becoming 10k10+30...
      • Many players had a hard time totalling dice, and so were needing calculator or scratch paper once keep exceeded 3d
      • I had players who waffled a lot over whether or not to make raises. Also slowed things down.

Those are player problems, not system problems. Its very hard to believe that players had such a hard time to do absurdly simple addition operations. Although... its 10k10+21, not +30. Each Kept dice above 10 is +2 to the result of the roll. Seriously, I suck at math, but this couldn't be simpler.

In my games, I had a rule: during combat, when your turn came up, you had 5 seconds to make up your mind about your action. If you can't, you lose you action. You had the entire round to see what your action was going to be, that is enough time to even consult the rulebook if necessary, while still keeping attention to what everybody else is doing. There is no need to stall the game with humming and hawing before taking your action.

Edited by Mirumoto Saito

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5 hours ago, Mirumoto Saito said:

I beg to differ. HARD.

Anecdotal evidence: I'm introducing my girlfriend to RPGs, we started playing Pathfinder. She never played RPGs before, except for (ironically) two sessions of the L5R 4e system in the Dragon Age setting. She isn't having any problems with Pathfinder at all so far.

Indeed, because Pathfinder is largely simulationist. Even the things we don’t really have a real life counterpart for are fairly intuitive. These beta rules are convoluted because they are not simulationist in nature and thus less intuitive.

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My biggest issue is the skill list is bizaar. It has skills that make no sense. And lacks skills that are key. I want samurai who can ride horses so have to be good in the wilderness? That kindof makes sense in star wars where everyone mostly uses vehicles and they have piloting skills. It makes no sense for L5R to have no riding skill. A clans whole schtic is horsemanship and there is no horsemanship skill for them. Also we need some xp to diversify our chareacters. They are pretty cookie cutter out the box. Also it seems like pretty much all the disads are various types of maiming. Where are the social ones like rival, enemy, etc. 

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2 hours ago, AK_Aramis said:

Actually, it varied by edition. 

Indeed. Second Edition is even simpler. After converting rolled dice to kept dice, you're done.

"Classic L5R", though, will never not be 4th edition by common parlance.

Edited by BitRunr

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44 minutes ago, BitRunr said:

Indeed. Second Edition is even simpler. After converting rolled dice to kept dice, you're done.

"Classic L5R", though, will never not be 4th edition by common parlance.

No edition will ever be more classic than 1st in my book. That aside, I expect “classic” in this context to mean “d10 R&K”, so all editions up to and including 4th (minus the d20 version we don’t talk about).

Edited by nameless ronin

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On 11/25/2017 at 3:57 PM, nameless ronin said:

No edition will ever be more classic than 1st in my book. That aside, I expect “classic” in this context to mean “d10 R&K”, so all editions up to and including 4th (minus the d20 version we don’t talk about).

same here.

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Sorry, I was on vacation. To respond to some of the responses:

Large and small statures:

That WOULD adjust things, but it seems a huge over adjustment in the other direction. It makes Large Stature super powerful, and small stature, which is an advantage, into a disadvantage, which I'm pretty sure isn't what the devs intend. It would be way better if one of the rings just affected your damage in some small way.

On Air ring:

I'm not saying that it should make it easier to hit, and I'm not saying that Air stance doesn't make it harder to be hit. I'm saying that a person with a 5 air ring is passively no harder to hit normally than a person with a 1 air ring, and that universally bugs my players. Its the same issue as with the damage. The rings have been abstracted to the point where they only have active effects, they have no passive effects. If I'm a medium-sized guy (let's take the hulking crab out of the picture) who's super strong, I do no more damage than another medium-sized guy who can barely lift the stack of books he's reading in the library. If I'm a super fast guy in water stance, I'm no harder to hit than a super-slow guy in fire stance. I know they are worried about huge numbers piling up here, which is why I suggested just a small bonus on the extreme ends, like Air stance currently gives.

Healing:

I'm aware of the other healing techniques, but calming breath, while a laudible addition, is a joke compared any of the others (1 point of healing when you're taking 3-5 back that same round is not that helpful), and you're lucky to have two different forms those healing types in a party aside from medicine. The kata one can only be used on yourself, so it can't be spread around, and the kiho one is going to be rare in most groups. The most healing we've ever gotten out of Path to Inner peace in a single casting is 5 because of the backlash rules. Our highest medicine healing check to date is about 4. I think my goblins have never had a round where one of them didn't do 9 damage in fire stance and they commonly do 13 or more (like every other round). They don't have many good rings, and they are minions, so earth stance is almost never the right choice for them. They are almost always in fire or water as they swarm the group, and it's devastating. (Air just doesn't seem in character for the minions...it's a little too saavy). Maybe my goblins are super lucky, but I can't NOT roll a 13 damage attack every other round or so. Yeah, they flee if the party doesn't kill them right away because of all the strife, but the damage, such as it is, is done, and the healing just can't keep up.

On the Bushi and Shugenja:

Maybe you're right about them getting more diverse at higher ranks. I hope so. At rank 2 they all feel the same. They in theory have different katas, but they don't have the wide style of techniques that make them play differently.

As for the shugenja, you asked what they are spending points on. It's the invocations. There's nothing a bushi needs to do his job that's out of their porfolio (at low ranks, at higher ones you skip an occasional rank). The shugenja have most of their invocations outside of their portfolio at any given time. Our main shugenja is so far behind because there were three or four invocations that he thought the party REALLY needed that weren't rank 1 fire invocations, but those were the only invocations that gave him credit for advancing his rank. Then when he hits rank 2, most all rank 2 invocations don't give him advancement credit. Same at 3.  Meanwhile, bushi commonly have all kata up to their rank as valid qualifying buys. Not every rank, but often enough to put them WAY ahead.

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10 hours ago, defendi said:

I'm saying that a person with a 5 air ring is passively no harder to hit normally than a person with a 1 air ring, and that universally bugs my players.

This is a 'to each their own taste' thing. I fundamentally don't get the insistence on being 'passively harder to hit' when, essentially, you're just standing there like a lemon. 

Yes, a high agility person should be harder to hit - if they are actively using their agility to avoid being hit. Which at the very least, to me, is being in air stance and ideally is using guard/centre in air stance with Crescent Moon Style to defend and take 'attacks of opportunity' rather than attacking as your main action. 

I understand I seem to be in the minority, though, so I'll wind my neck in and leave that in the Defence Scaling argument thread where it belongs.

10 hours ago, defendi said:

That WOULD adjust things, but it seems a huge over adjustment in the other direction. It makes Large Stature super powerful, and small stature, which is an advantage, into a disadvantage, which I'm pretty sure isn't what the devs intend. It would be way better if one of the rings just affected your damage in some small way.

That is something to discuss with the GM; as in 'how often will this trigger and what will be the consequences'.

Any advantage or disadvantage can come into play positively or negatively (where common sense allows it to fit the situation, anyway). But they still work in your favour more often than not.

  • An advantage inverted and applied to a check as a disadvantage generates a void point regardless of whether you pass or fail the check (a 'true' disadvantage only gives you a void point if it causes you to fail).
  • Small Stature should give other advantages (stealth and skulduggery, for example)
  • Small Stature doesn't necessarily mean 'weak' (and so won't necessarily trigger on an attack if the GM doesn't rule that it does), just as 'Large Stature' doesn't necessarily mean strong. Equally, none of the rings correspond directly to brute strength, or, really, to any single physical characteristic. If being a strongman is that important to your character concept, then a custom advantage along the lines of "Massively Strong" would be rather more appropriate (the advantage of all advantages being mechanically identical is that it's easy to create custom ones as the only balancing factor is 'how often does it trigger?')
10 hours ago, defendi said:

I'm aware of the other healing techniques, but calming breath, while a laudible addition, is a joke compared any of the others (1 point of healing when you're taking 3-5 back that same round is not that helpful)

When you can do it as a free action in water stance, it can be rather more useful. 

10 hours ago, defendi said:

I think my goblins have never had a round where one of them didn't do 9 damage in fire stance and they commonly do 13 or more (like every other round). They don't have many good rings, and they are minions, so earth stance is almost never the right choice for them. They are almost always in fire or water as they swarm the group, and it's devastating.

How many goblins in a minion group are we talking about here? This is emphatically not Edge of the Empire - even a group of 2-3 minions is a very credible threat...

10 hours ago, defendi said:

As for the shugenja, you asked what they are spending points on. It's the invocations. There's nothing a bushi needs to do his job that's out of their porfolio (at low ranks, at higher ones you skip an occasional rank). The shugenja have most of their invocations outside of their portfolio at any given time. Our main shugenja is so far behind because there were three or four invocations that he thought the party REALLY needed that weren't rank 1 fire invocations, but those were the only invocations that gave him credit for advancing his rank.

We had an Isawa Elementalist in our party - to be honest, she never seemed to have much of a problem with the Fire invocations (she is both in and out of character a borderline giggling pyromaniac, so the response "there are other elements?" pretty much covered her view on life)

The Rank 1 fire invocations seemed pretty efficient as both damage and enhancement roles:

  • Extinguish (Okay, assuming you took it for free) - suppressing fire is very situation-specific. It's nice if you find yourself facing Shadowlands Goblin Bezerkers, or in a burning house, or when facing Kanazagan no Oni in the taster adventure when he keeps setting people on fire. What makes it worth taking, though, is the ability to use it to reduce the TN of your next attack (a really common theme for fire magic) - potentially useful in a 'last moment before contact' ability, especially since the Elementalist is probably the weakest fighter of the three Shujenga schools so far (Purifiers have access to Kata and the Meishodo Master gets decent weapons and a warhorse off the bat). Of course, most of the other fire invocations have this too, so I'd probably not spend XP on the ability.
  • Biting Steel (Good) - this is amazing and probably the most important tool she's had access to so far. It turns her shoddy wakizashi into a weapon that's actually worth swinging, and gives her an immediate free swing with it for just one opportunity. Add in the ability to apply it to other people's weapons to make it even better, and it's one of the best tools in a fire-focused shujenga's arsenal.
  • Haze of Battle (Good) - this....is variable. It's amazing for clearing house when facing low composure minion groups. Minion groups are recommended to use a 'joint' composure value of 2-3 times their normal composure (see page 191), but are each individual targets, so you can dropping 3-4 strife onto every member of a squad can easily break them, leading to them either running (don't need to fight them so yay) or being compromised and enraged (can't use strife results, fire stance becomes useless, and they suffer extra criticals so also yay).
  • Katana of Fire (Amazing) - This is specific to the Shujenga (Biting Steel is more flexible) but it's an amazing power because of one line "Damage inflicted with this weapon is supernatural rather than physical" - it goes straight through masterworked plate armour without slowing down. Add in the opportunity-driven abilities to create a Yumi with it and fire arrows which also pierce plate armour and apply the Burning condition, and it's on a par with most 'direct attack' invocations but without the risk of spiritual backlash nuking the entire party in a fireball.
  • The Fires From Within (Okay) - Basically "have a fireball". Lobbing damage-causing shots is nice, but the check isn't too easy and it can go horribly wrong if you screw up the check. 
  • The Fires That Cleanse (So-so)  -Basically "nova". This is easier to cast, throws in Burning to boot...and requires you to be at least range 2 from all of your allies, whilst in the middle of the enemy. Probably pass on this one unless you have a cunning plan.

To be honest, Biting Steel aside, she spent most of her XP at school rank 1 on ring and skill increases.  We've generally found that having relatively few techniques and being better at them (especially invocations, where the consequences for screwing up checks are quite high) is more useful than having lots of techniques but lower skill/ring ranks to use them with.

 

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All right, at this point, I think your position on most of this is so alien to me that we can't possibly come to an agreement. For instance, your stance on fire invocations being good enough that a shugenja shouldn't want to be well rounded is just heinous to my group. :)

To answer your goblin question, though, minion groups of four. 2-3 groups, against a party of 8.

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5 hours ago, defendi said:

All right, at this point, I think your position on most of this is so alien to me that we can't possibly come to an agreement. For instance, your stance on fire invocations being good enough that a shugenja shouldn't want to be well rounded is just heinous to my group. :)

To answer your goblin question, though, minion groups of four. 2-3 groups, against a party of 8.

From another point of view - the fire invocations are so good that the Isawa players are complaining about them not being good for school advancement in rank 2, 3 or 4.  My isawa players have this bizarre belief that Isawa are all fire-mages... no doubt inspired by a combination of older editions, a zillion JRPGs with "Red Mages," and other cultural contamination, without really grasping the role of shugenja.

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6 hours ago, AK_Aramis said:

My isawa players have this bizarre belief that Isawa are all fire-mages... no doubt inspired by a combination of older editions, a zillion JRPGs with "Red Mages," and other cultural contamination, without really grasping the role of shugenja.

I think that's a result of a perception that invocations='magic'.

Most of my players came into the game from Black Crusade, where Daemonology/Sorcery is a thing similar in effect but distinct in execution from Psychic Powers, so the concept isn't too alien to them.

Psykers focus their own 'mental strength' and throw it as a bolt of energy, the daemonologist summons the attention or presence of a patron daemon and essentially says "Get 'im, Kevin!" - which is a lot closer to what a Shujenga is doing; theoretically they can do anything because it's not them doing it, they're just better with the invocations they 'know' because they have a better chance of persuading the kami to co-operate.

I think a lot of people treating invocations as 'spells' rather than a 'pleasepleasepleasehelp' have a bit of a mental blind spot for Importune Invocations (P132) for this reason - given sufficient effort (appropriate offerings, one with the elements, channeling, void points thrown at the check) you 'know' every invocation in the book from day 1, all that varies is the difficulty of the check.

Obviously a passionate (read: high fire ring) Isawa is likely to have a better 'rapport' with fire kami, and is probably therefore likely to try and use them to solve a problem as her first resort, but that's not the same as it being the only option, so I get there's some logic to arguing it in-character too.

12 hours ago, defendi said:

All right, at this point, I think your position on most of this is so alien to me that we can't possibly come to an agreement. For instance, your stance on fire invocations being good enough that a shugenja shouldn't want to be well rounded is just heinous to my group. :)

To answer your goblin question, though, minion groups of four. 2-3 groups, against a party of 8.

I think it's more a difference of opinion on what "well-rounded" is - again, it depends on how much you need specific effects, but things like medicine are no less a bushi's job as a shujenga's*

Equally, most jobs can be done without resorting to invocations. Our Meishodo tends to get far more use out of a combination of social skills, scholar skills and totally mundane and non-magical excessive violence than she does with invocations. Even with a shujenga in the party, what's essentially 'divine intervention plz' isn't invoked all the time.

Still, to each their own view of the setting.

 

* "you think you're a battlefield veteran and you never bothered to learn to use a styptic and tourniquet?"

"I was never wounded like this before."

"Well, now you are. Pay attention. This will hurt."

Being a conversation from the last session.

12 hours ago, defendi said:

To answer your goblin question, though, minion groups of four. 2-3 groups, against a party of 8.

Impressive sized gaming group!

4 minions... it's not unheard of, but it is on the bigger side from our experience unless the party is racked and locked in wargear armour (generally, if you're facing shadowlanders, you should be armed and expecting battle - it's not like you've been mugged in a backstreet in the capitol. 3 groups of 4 is much more dangerous than 4 of 3 because it's bonus successes that trigger extra damage, and damage in excess of protection that triggers fatigue.

9 damage (assuming that's pre-armour) is about average - a ring die in fire stance tends to give you about 1.2 successes (including strife 'bonus successes'), whilst a skill die gives you about 1. With 3 assists, that's about 5-6 on average, which means a success with 3-4 bonus successes. Stacked on the damage of a goblin yumi, and that's 8-9 damage being normal.

So, yes, 4 goblins with spears jumping a bushi can be expected to do 8-9 damage in a round. On a battlefield, ashigaru armour isn't an unreasonable precaution, so that's probably 6 fatigue (or some armour damage instead if you spend a void point and get at least 1 success on the fitness check). Nasty, but shouldn't be enough to incapacitate anyone who deserves to be stood on the front line.

And that is you fighting four dudes at once, after all...

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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Quick. Walk me through the math on how three groups of four is more dangerous than four groups of three. I can't see it, and that might mean I missed a rule somewhere. Just because we disagree doesn't mean I can't learn from you. :)

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Imagine the player is in Plated armor, and the goblins are using the yari, for 5 damage. The damage from the yari is countered by the armor, so only bonus successes actually cause fatigue.

  • 3 groups of 4: 3 attacks, each of which get 3 bonus successes from assistance, will cause a total of 9 damage.
  • 4 groups of 3: 4 attacks, each of which get 2 bonus successes from assistance, will cause a total of 8 damage.

To take this to an extreme:

  • 12 groups of 1: 12 attacks, none of which get bonus successes, will cause 0 damage.
  • 1 group of 12: 1 attack, which gets 11 bonus successes from assistance, will cause a total of 11 damage.

Now, with a tetsubo against an unarmored player, this changes to favor individual attacks. With a weaker weapon, the balance shifts to larger groups making fewer attacks. Also, these simplified probabilities aren't quite right.

Anyhow, having expressed how this happens, I actually came up with slightly different numbers in a full simulation, which does slightly favor 4 groups of 3.

  • 3 groups of 4: 3 attacks, 2r4s-k5 fire stance gives 94.5% hit chance, with 4.61 damage, totaling 13.1 damage.
  • 4 groups of 3: 4 attacks, 2r3s-k4 fire stance gives 88.8% hit chance, with 3.74 damage, totaling 13.3 damage.

If the players shift to air stance to increase their TN, larger groups with fewer attacks are more effective.

Edit: Magnus points out an odd feature, where if you are likely to succeed already, you may prefer to keep ring dice (for fire stance), rather than skill dice, since the extra strife chance from ring dice outweighs the extra success chance from skill dice. This didn't make a noticeable difference in the example, though. Without a strife dump (like Akodo Commander), you'll also run into problems holding all that strife, but Akodo Commanders actually want more strife than they naturally accrue, so they should generally prefer to keep ring dice over skill dice, when both have explode + strife.

Edited by ubik2

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