Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
FFG Max Brooke

[Focus Topic] School Abilities (Week 8)

Recommended Posts

Greetings L5R Testers!

This week, our discussion topic is School Abilities! You also have a new one to discuss based on last week's poll results: Way of the Dragon, the school ability of the Mirumoto Two Sword School, which can be found in the special preview here.

A few questions to get you started:

• How many school abilities have you tried at the table? Which ones have you found the most fun to use?

• Are there any school abilities you have had trouble making use of at the table? What do you think stood in the way of their usability?

• Are there any school abilities you feel are so strong they crowd out other options (or so weak they get crowded out by better alternatives)? If so, why?

• Finally, if you have any other feedback on schools (skills and techniques at various ranks, starting equipment, ring allocations, names, etc), feel free to bring it up here!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mirumoto Two Swors School is awesome. The mechanics really fit the theme of using off-hand sword both to attack and defend.

 

I like almost all school abilities. But i think that, while the Shiba Guardian is working now (being 1 use per scene) is not a very fun school ability. It's a good effect but i don't see Way of the Phoenix defining a Shiba Guardian. And i don't know, but a Guardian shouldn't be better at... guarding? The Shiba Guardian should be one of the best yojimbo of Rokugan, but their school ability don't quite make them more able to protect their charges, to put themselves in harm's way to give life to their shugenja.

 

Also i would really like if there was a School Ability at School Rank 3. I guess that a good samurai will be at least rank 3, and he should have something more defining of his shool. There's too much ground between School Ability and Mastery Ability. Something between those two would be nice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, FFG Max Brooke said:

• How many school abilities have you tried at the table? Which ones have you found the most fun to use?

Let's see: akodo bushi, Hida Bushi, Togashi Tattooed monk, Isawa Shugenja, Kuni Purifier, Kakita Duelist,  Bayushi Courtier, Doji Diplomat, Kitsuki Magistrate.

7 hours ago, FFG Max Brooke said:

• Are there any school abilities you have had trouble making use of at the table? What do you think stood in the way of their usability?

Mostly, players forget to use them. Isawa's is especially prone to be forgotten.

Hida Defender's is the easiest to use - it only has to be remembered when you change equipment.

7 hours ago, FFG Max Brooke said:

• Are there any school abilities you feel are so strong they crowd out other options (or so weak they get crowded out by better alternatives)? If so, why?

None that I've noticed.

7 hours ago, FFG Max Brooke said:

• Finally, if you have any other feedback on schools (skills and techniques at various ranks, starting equipment, ring allocations, names, etc), feel free to bring it up here!

I feel that skills and rings should not count more than once each per school rank; twice if a skill is both specifically listed and included in the listed skill group. Otherwise, players are likely to raise nothing but rings - my players are spending more than half their points on raising rings.

Add to that the warp-speed Experience gains - I could easily see cutting Exp by a factor of 5 or 10 for real play. The advancement is too fast. 2-3 skill levels per session, or one ring increase per session.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, FFG Max Brooke said:

A few questions to get you started:

• How many school abilities have you tried at the table? Which ones have you found the most fun to use?

Tried

  • Way of the Crab
  • Way of the Crane
  • The Path of Shadows
  • One with the Elements

Way of the Crane has had the most use so far - resulting in the only successful Cut Of The Head clash in a mass battle by turning Teeth Taker to paste in one turn. One with the Elements is cool, but we haven't had an Isawa Shujenga with any especially impressive abilities to use it with yet.

12 hours ago, FFG Max Brooke said:

• Are there any school abilities you have had trouble making use of at the table? What do you think stood in the way of their usability?

We forgot!

  • Way of the Lion  - we had a mass battle which was a pretty one-sided win for the PCs but technically the Commander could have roflstomped the enemy utterly and totally to prove a point.
  • The Way of Names - because Murasaki hasn't had any downtime to make up a talisman yet.
12 hours ago, FFG Max Brooke said:

• Are there any school abilities you feel are so strong they crowd out other options (or so weak they get crowded out by better alternatives)? If so, why?

  • Not really. I still think Way of the Lion should have been specific to tactics and command checks rather than attack actions - it would fit the 'dedicated strategist' role rather than 'bloke with a double-handed weapon', but it has been reigned in so using it comes with risk.
12 hours ago, FFG Max Brooke said:

• Finally, if you have any other feedback on schools (skills and techniques at various ranks, starting equipment, ring allocations, names, etc), feel free to bring it up here!

  • A scrub through bushi starting wargear to ensure that everyone starting with a bow also starts with arrows! 
  • I agree with @AK_Aramis that ring increases are an 'easy option' to spend XP on, but that's a slightly awkward element of the way the game is set up; ring increases get expensive fast meaning that after the first couple you ever buy they tend to take up a huge chunk of your XP to buy anything. We've done 'Veteran Samurai' character creation but no post-adventure XP buys.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, FFG Max Brooke said:

• How many school abilities have you tried at the table? Which ones have you found the most fun to use?

 

Let's see: our party is using Way of the Lion (Akodo Commander), One with the Elements (Isawa Elementalist), Speaking in Silence (Doji Diplomat), and The Path of the Shadows (Shosuro Infiltrator); the other party in my club is using Way of the Crane (Kakita Duelist), Kitsuki's Method (Kitsuki Investigator), Blood of the Kami (Togashi Tattooed Monk), The Way of Names (Iuchi Meishodo Master). 

Way of the Lion was by far the bestest, even after the nerf. This is how every bushi school ability should look like IMO. Just the right amount of utility exactly where the school needs it... pure joy to use. Speaking in Silence is a close second, especially since the player uses it very creatively: there was a skirmish recently where he used Use Skill with Courtesy to persuade an enemy bushi to drop his weapons then use the school ability Opportunities to lend Assistance while disarming an opponent with a successful check. 

Quote

• Are there any school abilities you have had trouble making use of at the table? What do you think stood in the way of their usability?

Well, Blood of the Kami is pure disappointment, but not actually troublesome. Other than that, no problems around here. 

Quote

• Are there any school abilities you feel are so strong they crowd out other options (or so weak they get crowded out by better alternatives)? If so, why?

The Path of the Shadows is bad. Too limited for what it does or gives too little for its highly situational nature. I heard that Way of the Crane is suffering from the same. The Way of Names is really darn powerful tho - the invocation spam is unreal in the other party. 

Quote

• Finally, if you have any other feedback on schools (skills and techniques at various ranks, starting equipment, ring allocations, names, etc), feel free to bring it up here!

 

Not a fan of the special snowflake names. 

There should be more starting School Skills (6 out of 10 maybe).

Not a fan of the single-ability setup either. The five ranks were better and helped out against shuggies a little.

Dunno about having a fixed starting equipment. The players should be able to assemble their starting gear as they wish and never look back. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, FFG Max Brooke said:
 

• Are there any school abilities you feel are so strong they crowd out other options (or so weak they get crowded out by better alternatives)? If so, why?

• Finally, if you have any other feedback on schools (skills and techniques at various ranks, starting equipment, ring allocations, names, etc), feel free to bring it up here!

Akodo is strong as  ****, basically erasing the  need for two of the stances  from ranks 3-4. Why bother with Strife (Void) when you can turn it to successes? Why enter Fire and give your game away when you can just do the same thing naturally? Sure, it costs fatigue now, but taking a bit  of wind to utterly  nuke a threat  is an amazing tradeoff. It reminds  me  of the spells we would invent as power-gaming kids. "See, this spell kills any enemy without allowing a saving throw, but it  makes you unable to be  healed for that turn! It balances  out, right?"

We also have a bit  of a Fight Club going where we test builds and rules, and the Mirumoto ability is also amazingly good and flexible. Once  per -round-? I hope that's a typo, because forcing  multiple reroll on an opponentis really strong, and dropping TNs by multiples for your  next attack is stronger still, giving them perhaps the  only way to counter Centering  or Guarding in the game. You only need one round to determine the outcome  of a combat, and Way of the dragon makes that really comfortable. Force reroll while you defend to pile up strife on your  opponent while you wear him down, or  just lower TNs to pile up successes with each strike and knock him out  in a single TN0 blow where every success  is a bonus  one to damage. I guess the whole Kakita vs. Mirumoto debate  has  just been settled.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How are you using Way of the Dragon to counter Center/Guard, if the opponent didn't attack you? If they are Guarding, they didn't strike you, and if they didn't strike you, you couldn't trigger the Trap --> get TN reduction. 

You also can't drop TN of your attacks to 0. In most cases, you are dropping them by 1, from 2 to 1. 

Edited by WHW

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, WHW said:

How are you using Way of the Dragon to counter Center/Guard, if the opponent didn't attack you? If they are Guarding, they didn't strike you, and if they didn't strike you, you couldn't trigger the Trap --> get TN reduction. 

You also can't drop TN of your attacks to 0. In most cases, you are dropping them by 1, from 2 to 1. 

 

You can easily shift between both, as the  need dictates, for  maximum effect. That was the  point. You control the flow  of the combat by making enemy actions  harder/yours easier as convenient, every single round.

 

And...TN 0 was hyperbole. People are not  literal all the time. The fact  is, Mirumoto can count  on ignoring enemy Air Stance and generally accruing  more successes, particularly  in hard rolls, consistently.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

People might not be literal all the time, but neither of your examples really work. Anyone can get TN 2 --> TN 1 reduction by using Void Opportunities; only way to get TRAP trigger against Guard/Center is to be attacked, trigger TRAP, then decide to not attack until opponent Guards/Centers. Unless you are using one of the higher rank techniques, or fighting through Wounds, TN reduction on attacks will give you one or two TN reduction, even if you are Rank 5. If anyone controls the flow, its your opponent, which gets painfully obvious in situations where you might not be the primary target of enemy attacks, like in group combat where your school ability is solely determined by enemies deciding to attack you instead of someone else. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, Sephyr79 said:

You can easily shift between both, as the  need dictates, for  maximum effect. That was the  point. You control the flow  of the combat by making enemy actions  harder/yours easier as convenient, every single round.

Not really. It is a completely reactive ability and it also has a few flaws. Its great when you are guarding or centering against Melee Attacks but does nothing against Schemes or Ranged Attacks and Spinning Blades Style will prevent you from using Ward or Trap if you trigger it.

Changes to how Concealable works also make Soaring Slice with Concealable weapons and Shuriken very good at negating the Way of the Dragon.

Edited by Ultimatecalibur

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Ultimatecalibur said:

It is a completely reactive ability and it also has a few flaws. Its great when you are guarding or centering against Melee Attacks but does nothing against Schemes or Ranged Attacks and Spinning Blades Style will prevent you from using Ward or Trap if you trigger it.

You are also stuck with one-handed grips on your weapons (obviously enough), which means that when you do actually strike someone you'll have trouble putting down a truly lethal critical.

Also: a trap ability to pin an opponent's weapon....and we don't (finally) have a technique which does something with the Snaring quality?

The text even talks about using Jitte or an open hand (two of the four Snaring weapons), but the mechanics isn't at all affected by the quality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/22/2017 at 6:55 PM, FFG Max Brooke said:

• How many school abilities have you tried at the table? Which ones have you found the most fun to use?

• Are there any school abilities you have had trouble making use of at the table? What do you think stood in the way of their usability?

• Are there any school abilities you feel are so strong they crowd out other options (or so weak they get crowded out by better alternatives)? If so, why?

These are the ones we tested the most from rank 1 to rank 5 from original beta through v2. Didn't have much time with v3 updates to give everything a solid work through. 

Born in the Saddle - Kinda Meh and without clear simple riding rules kinda useless. Usefulness very campaign/GM dependent.

The Way of Names - Most useful school ability. Helps the all the characters. We wondered if the talismans could be used by an animal (especially if it s your animal bond). Led to most fun due to player shenanigans. 

Speaking in Silence - useful and fitting for the school

Way of the Crane - meh usefulness at lower ranks, better at higher ranks.

One with the Elements - This gets super nasty at higher ranks, but is also the only way to make some of the crazy high TN and Opp requirements even possible. Combine this with a talisman from Way of Names and some assistance from the other PCs and let the magic happen.

Way of the Phoenix - felt a little off. Not sure how.

Kitsuki’s Method - Meh at lower ranks, starts to really shine around rank 3.

Ikoma Bard - useful, better at higher ranks.

Weakness Is My Strength - Needing to use a void point to use the ability is not that great and makes it very GM dependent on getting to have situations where the PC can regain void. Also a reminder of how crappy the void recovery is in the game. This ability saw limited use and the random nature of rolling made the usefulness a mixed bag. A few times it helped, others no impact, and once it ended up helping the NPC. So a waste of a void point.

The Path of Shadows - Did not see much use at all in our game as most situations where you are sneaking or going unnoticed and striking are resolved as a single check outside combat. In combat it helped a little, but took more effort to set up than it was worth. Not sure how it will play with the updates to fatigue and crits. Honestly we're not gonna bother testing it.

 

On 11/22/2017 at 6:55 PM, FFG Max Brooke said:

Finally, if you have any other feedback on schools (skills and techniques at various ranks, starting equipment, ring allocations, names, etc), feel free to bring it up here!

None of the schools really stand out one way or the other. Everything is just mediocre. None of us felt all that excited by what we saw or how it played. The roles for each school were obvious and some hit the mark a little better than others flavor wise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My main complaint (and one that my entire group shares) is that while scaling school abilities per rank are cool, we really really miss having a new, unique ability to look forward to in each rank-up. Even just one more ability at Rank 3 would go a long way towards making each school feel unique.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few questions to get you started:

• How many school abilities have you tried at the table? Which ones have you found the most fun to use?

Way of the Dragon, Way of the Crane, Way of the Lion, One with the Elements, Way of the Phoenix. My favorites so far are Way of the Dragon and One with the Elements.

• Are there any school abilities you have had trouble making use of at the table? What do you think stood in the way of their usability?

None so far...

• Are there any school abilities you feel are so strong they crowd out other options (or so weak they get crowded out by better alternatives)? If so, why?

The Way of the Phoenix. In my opinion that should be a SR 3, it’s nice but it doesn’t project the Shiba Guardian as a Yojimbo. Alongside the Iron Warriors the Shiba are the most efficient Yojimbo in Rokugan, yet I feel that is not shown with their school. I know the kata is decent, however how about increasing your charge and your defense more than the usual while you guard them. And with enough success you can make one attack while defending.

• Finally, if you have any other feedback on schools (skills and techniques at various ranks, starting equipment, ring allocations, names, etc), feel free to bring it up here.

Please add another intermediate school ability to the non shugenja schools. As I said before we need something crunchy in between something to keep the players interested until the las Rank. At least that’s the main turn offs for my players, they didn’t want to spend all the time leveling their characters for just a technique...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't play the beta but i really think that all the once per scene/session technique need a small passive, much like way of crab. And make that one of your starting school skill rank is 2 at creation (even without clan/family bonus) because is weird that someone can be considered a professionnal without any decent skill.. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, rcuhljr said:

Per scene bushi abilities like Shiba end up feeling way less awesome then constantly useful ones like Akodo or Mirumoto. If it's going to be once a scene it needs to be amazing.

The pre-nerf Akodo ability was way better than any other school.  Everyone pointed out it was broken, so they toned it down a bit, even though the re-work of Water Stance into Calming Breath offsets the cost somewhat.  Then they release the Mirumoto bushi school, and it's even more broken than the Pre-Nerf Akodo one, lol. 

I certainly hope they just release the full list of schools at some point in the Beta, because it's clear that their school design concepts aren't well-balanced and need community review.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 23/11/2017 at 0:55 AM, FFG Max Brooke said:

Greetings L5R Testers!

Hello ! 

Sorry about calling in late once again. Schedule is always busy.

Quote

How many school abilities have you tried at the table? Which ones have you found the most fun to use?

6. Some were good but most were just meh... Even though playing on strife is fun it does tend to get lame as time goes and the game is forwarding.

Doji Diplomat, Kuni Purifier are quite fun to see play as they alter dice results to some extent though limiting them a little as the characters evolve might be good.

Quote

Are there any school abilities you have had trouble making use of at the table? What do you think stood in the way of their usability?

Bayushi manipulator seems badly worded and it is complicated to see how you can accurately exploit it. Do you need to somehow learn the disadvantage that the targeted character has ? That would make sense narratively but also renders the ability hard to use. Or does it apply by default ? Then it is pretty much dumb : all you need to do is keep on pressuring someone and you'll learn his disadvantage just because the GM will have to do the reroll at some point.

Kakita Duelist is kind of underwhelming. It basicaly translates as "you are good at cutting things".

Where is that making my character a "duelist" ? Nowhere.  You need to crit to make it useful. If you don't it doesn't. If another player (non Kakita) asks for the same sort of effects such as not killing a target or aiming at a killing strike, I would just raise the TN and I don't see why I should refuse them. So the Kakita duelist has no real uniqueness...

Togashi Tatooed order is kind of ... dumb.

Togashi tatoos are supposed to be made with the actual blood of the Kami Togashi mixed in the ink, enabling the monk to litteraly make miracles and surpass their human limitations. For instance they could breathe fire, jump at supernatural heights, walk on walls, and many more things ...

The tatoos seem kind of lame here. These tatoos seem more like the tatoos that could be made to visitors (not togashi monks) as a gift/reward and would make for nice advantages but not much more.

Quote

Are there any school abilities you feel are so strong they crowd out other options (or so weak they get crowded out by better alternatives)? If so, why?

Akodo commander is ... way over the top.

Removing strife from character to add some results gets way to powerful as the game goes on and the character levels up. The scaling seems insane. 

Likewise Ikoma bard is really rough gamewise and can end up messing a scene through sheer mechanics. 

Same feeling goes with the Shiba Guardian.

 

On the other hand Togashi tatooed order, Kakita duelist, Bayushi Manipulator feel to weak and are easily shyed out by players.

During character creation a lot of players were interrested in these schools but backdashed when the abilities were explained to them. they ended up going into the other school of the same clan except for the Kakita who was a hardcore fan of the school.

Togashi tatooed order sort of had all the magic it used to carry sucked out. Now it's just a bloke who can improve skill rolls. Went from being awesome to being meh.

Kakita duelist is weak and the player now feels like he should play something else. The GM (me) feels like he should ceate new sworn enemies for some of his players.

Bayushi manipulator seems badly worded and it's complicated to see how you can accurately exploit it. Do you need to somehow learn the disadvantage that the targeted character has ? That would make sense narratively but also renders the ability hard to use. Or does it apply by default ? Then it is pretty much dumb : all you need to do is keep on pressuring someone and you'll learn his disadvantage just because the GM will have to do the reroll at some point.

 

Quote

Finally, if you have any other feedback on schools (skills and techniques at various ranks, starting equipment, ring allocations, names, etc), feel free to bring it up here!

Here are some general feels on the schools.

 

What annoys me most is that there is little feel to the evolution of the character.

When you gain a school rank you just get better on your school ability... Nothing much new happens regarding your character. However some of the scools get insane as the ranks go higher. Scaling is a major problem. As they are, the scalings on the techs seem to make no sense on higher levels. Feels like your bushi is good at 1 thing, and only 1. They are going to overspecialize themselves. At higher ranks some Techs become pretty much broken (shinjo outrider reducing the TN by 5 pretty much means horses make the impossible possible, Akodo commander going pretty much into trance in battle instead of being a commander, Shiba guardian cleansing the strife from characters at insane speed ...).

Limiting the  evolution of school techniques altogether and adding new techniques that unlock when you reach the appropriate rank might be better. Different little bonuses that don't scale but allow you to modify dice results in certain situations showing your character is better at this, rather than the current overload at higher levels. Otherwise TNs will make no sense for tests asked to higher level characters.

 

The rules explained on modifying dice results, adding/removing rolled dice, adding/removing kept dice feel like they are unused when they could generate a lot of fun. There should be more ranked school abilities (2 through 5) with small effects to give the players something to look forward to when ranking up. 

Ranking up should be made slower (IMO)

 

Ranking up feels generic and underwhelming, 

The current system encourages players to powerlevel and minmax instead of creating a truly unique character with quirks and surprises. Getting back to the older insight system would be much better. Rokugan is a place of Karma and everyone wishes for a deeper Insight (which is a path to illumination) and pretty much anyone should be able to follow his own path for this. Samurais evolve as they understand the world and find their place into it, not just because the bushi gets better with his sword.

The current system pretty much grinds the player's freedom and tells him how he should level instead of sending him to discover the world and realize himself, pushing his philosophical and physical limits.

 

Edited by Dreamecho

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...