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Soshi Nimue

Do we really need to track honor and glory?

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This beta continues one of the great traditions of L5R - an honor and glory track.

This creates a lot of uninteresting book keeping.  You track the minute changes from 0-100 covering a few points for a breach of etiquette or failing in bushido with some ultimate penalty or reward which is far removed from the players immediate actions.  There is also an inherent dissonance between these factors which are directly tied to the decisions of the player role playing that character that are different then other aspects like skills and aptitudes, in that a player can be perfectly honorable from the onset.  If a player always makes the most honorable choices, even at a sacrifice to themselves, then they have always been honorable.

For the sake of creating a more narrative system that reacts to how players act out their character, and to enable more appropriate responses from the game, I feel this needs to change.  We need to move away from deciding "how honorable" a character is, and focus instead on whether or not they have acted honorably, and the karmic reward for such actions.  We also need to do away with the notions that non-people are somehow naturally honor-less.  Certainly less people care if they are honorable or not, but there is nothing that says a peasant, or a ronin could not be honorable.  Honor is understood across the caste spectrum.

Giri and Ninjo already set a better stage than we've had before.  Finally we give a specific line on the character sheet in which a player can dictate what they perceive as "honorable."  The game already has a decent idea of giving players advantages as a reward for being honorable, and disadvantages as a penalty - but this is still far removed and includes the extra book keeping.

To simplify the system I think we should simply give the player an advantage for the session IF they make a choice that follows their Giri or Ninjo.  If they make a choice that forsakes either then they receive a disadvantage which can be called out against them.  These are temporary karmic rewards for the player's actions and are immediately available.  If the player chooses Giro over Ninjo then they are both activated, an advantage and disadvantage, giving both the player and the GM tools to create actual narrative consequences for these actions.

Its simple, direct, and allows a player anywhere on the honor spectrum to become engaged by the system, and tempted to act honorably.

Then Status will change - In my opinion the Status spectrum has never served as a stable model for social or political advancement, or renown.  Not all advancements are linear, and it has never been able to properly manage all of the ways in which a character can be known, especially when it comes to being known for the bad things.  

I suggest we simply give a space to list off traits freely.  These traits allow a person to be recognized within a context.  If they are known as a bandit then they gain the bandit trait.  If they are known to be offensive in court, then they gain the offensive trait.  This queues the GM and players to act according to that players tendencies.  These are not always all known to everyone, and social skills discovering (dis)advantages would be able to uncover traits as well.  These are primarily role play queues but can be turned to give the same mechanical effect of a (dis)advantage based on context.  If a player has a negative trait exposed this could cause them the anxiety penalty just for being exposed - or could even give the adversity penalty if they were making some check when this trait was exposed, and knowledge of this trait would hinder them.

Basically these changes make honor a more dynamic system with direct rewards and consequences.  Status is now free to be whatever status needs to be, both non-linear and concealable allowing duplicitous characters to properly function.  The book keeping is dropped out as the system is turned into a simple list of triggers which either happen, or don't, and aren't awkwardly added together...

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To me it feels like characters are supposed to care about their honor and their glory, or the whole Strife thing and the giri-ninjo being at odds narrative falls flat. From that POV, yes, you probably should track them. My issue with this is that not all characters care equally about these, if at all.

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12 hours ago, Soshi Nimue said:

We also need to do away with the notions that non-people are somehow naturally honor-less.  Certainly less people care if they are honorable or not, but there is nothing that says a peasant, or a ronin could not be honorable.  Honor is understood across the caste spectrum.

Which is why status is a third, seperate 'tracked stat'. A status 10, Honour 100, Glory 100 character is unlikely (maybe an Ashigaru who held a castle gate by himself with a broken,rusty spear or some such ludicrous awesomeness)  but possible.

Status is by and large only changed by being awarded titles, which is currently not in scope of the beta, whilst honour and glory vary rapidly with your actions.

12 hours ago, Soshi Nimue said:

I suggest we simply give a space to list off traits freely.  These traits allow a person to be recognized within a context.  If they are known as a bandit then they gain the bandit trait.  If they are known to be offensive in court, then they gain the offensive trait.  This queues the GM and players to act according to that players tendencies. 

That's pretty much what the Glory scores do. Glory is essentially a measure of "people like you/know who you are in a positive sense" with mid-level being 'normal', high being 'famous' and low being 'infamous'.

Repeatedly losing glory to the point your glory drops to below 29 gives you 1 Infamy disadvantage, and a disadvantage appropriate to the crime seems justified - which is where your 'offensive' or 'reputed bandit' adversity/anxieties would come from.

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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I guess this is a typical case of "Rokugan Your Way" rearing its head and how specific gaming groups perceive Honor/Glory/Status. 

For example, over here at my gaming group, Honor is all the jazz all the time. Honor binds all samurai equally, and nobody can hide from who they really are. Your Honor Rank speaks way before your character can open his/her mouth, and it sells out the character in an instant. If you have high Honor, you are a consistent and reliable good guy, and people will know it. If you have low Honor, then your flawed nature shows and people will recognize that they can't trust you fully for one reason or another. I'm fairly sure that no amount of Defense Skill or Earth Ring saved as many PC lives around here than an appropriate Honor Rank.

Glory is in a similar boat. High Glory establishes a clear and undeniable importance. Low Glory makes you a nobody. 

Thus, having a value for both is paramount for us. We use these things a lot and sometimes track them even more vigorously than Wounds. However, if your group doesn't mind these stats then they are obviously dead weight. In my opinion, Honor, Glory, Infamy, and Status are (should be) essential for adventuring in Rokugan, and if everything, they deserve more depth and attention rather than being replaced by some special snowflake concepts.  

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44 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

I guess this is a typical case of "Rokugan Your Way" rearing its head and how specific gaming groups perceive Honor/Glory/Status. 

For example, over here at my gaming group, Honor is all the jazz all the time. Honor binds all samurai equally, and nobody can hide from who they really are. Your Honor Rank speaks way before your character can open his/her mouth, and it sells out the character in an instant. If you have high Honor, you are a consistent and reliable good guy, and people will know it. If you have low Honor, then your flawed nature shows and people will recognize that they can't trust you fully for one reason or another. I'm fairly sure that no amount of Defense Skill or Earth Ring saved as many PC lives around here than an appropriate Honor Rank.

Glory is in a similar boat. High Glory establishes a clear and undeniable importance. Low Glory makes you a nobody. 

Thus, having a value for both is paramount for us. We use these things a lot and sometimes track them even more vigorously than Wounds. However, if your group doesn't mind these stats then they are obviously dead weight. In my opinion, Honor, Glory, Infamy, and Status are (should be) essential for adventuring in Rokugan, and if everything, they deserve more depth and attention rather than being replaced by some special snowflake concepts.  

Aren’t you the guy with the psychotic no ambition no sensitivity test character? :P

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6 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

Aren’t you the guy with the psychotic no ambition no sensitivity test character? :P

Yue is actually a perfect example of why Giri and Ninjo can't work for Honor and Glory. She has no ambition, but she nevertheless acquires Glory because it "comes" whether she wants it or not. Similarly, despite being kinda psychopathic, she still gets to be honorable, because the two things align well all things considered. I have to count Yue's Honor and Glory, because trying to tie her situation into the Ninjo/Giri mechanic would be pretty darn hard if not straight-out impossible. 

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47 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

Yue is actually a perfect example of why Giri and Ninjo can't work for Honor and Glory. She has no ambition, but she nevertheless acquires Glory because it "comes" whether she wants it or not. Similarly, despite being kinda psychopathic, she still gets to be honorable, because the two things align well all things considered. I have to count Yue's Honor and Glory, because trying to tie her situation into the Ninjo/Giri mechanic would be pretty darn hard if not straight-out impossible. 

Not dissing you, it just seems funny given the way your group apparently uses honor and glory in general.

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Honor and glory should matter way more than they do now. Heck, I'd rather see more stuff tied to honor rank and glory rank. Not sold on having then grant advantages/disadvantages.

Would rather see each on a scale of rank 5 to rank -5. Rank 0 is the common person/base baseline. Then treat honor and glory like an advantage/disadvantage where the amount of strife removed/gained or dice re-rolled is based on your honor/glory rank.

The other option I'd look at is dropping honor/glory to a 1-5 scale like everything else and then having the strife/dice for virtue/flaw/fame/infamy advantages/disadvantages  based on your honor/glory rank.

Either of these options streamlines the mechanics (and this game desperately needs streamlining) while giving both narrative and mechanical benefits.

Would also drop the void point requirement to invert an advantage/disadvantage on a roll or explicitly state that the GM should consider waving the VP cost when the players/PCs are being clever and the actions are well within character.

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1 minute ago, jmoschner said:

Honor and glory should matter way more than they do now. Heck, I'd rather see more stuff tied to honor rank and glory rank. Not sold on having then grant advantages/disadvantages.

Would rather see each on a scale of rank 5 to rank -5. Rank 0 is the common person/base baseline. Then treat honor and glory like an advantage/disadvantage where the amount of strife removed/gained or dice re-rolled is based on your honor/glory rank.

The other option I'd look at is dropping honor/glory to a 1-5 scale like everything else and then having the strife/dice for virtue/flaw/fame/infamy advantages/disadvantages  based on your honor/glory rank.

Either of these options streamlines the mechanics (and this game desperately needs streamlining) while giving both narrative and mechanical benefits.

Would also drop the void point requirement to invert an advantage/disadvantage on a roll or explicitly state that the GM should consider waving the VP cost when the players/PCs are being clever and the actions are well within character.

That’s really nice for your typical Crane and Lion characters. Scorpion and Mantis characters might be less well off.

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1 minute ago, jmoschner said:

Honor and glory should matter way more than they do now. Heck, I'd rather see more stuff tied to honor rank and glory rank. Not sold on having then grant advantages/disadvantages.

Would rather see each on a scale of rank 5 to rank -5. Rank 0 is the common person/base baseline. Then treat honor and glory like an advantage/disadvantage where the amount of strife removed/gained or dice re-rolled is based on your honor/glory rank.

The other option I'd look at is dropping honor/glory to a 1-5 scale like everything else and then having the strife/dice for virtue/flaw/fame/infamy advantages/disadvantages  based on your honor/glory rank.

Either of these options streamlines the mechanics (and this game desperately needs streamlining) while giving both narrative and mechanical benefits.

Would also drop the void point requirement to invert an advantage/disadvantage on a roll or explicitly state that the GM should consider waving the VP cost when the players/PCs are being clever and the actions are well within character.

That’s really nice for your typical Crane and Lion characters. Scorpion and Mantis characters might be less well off.

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7 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

Not dissing you, it just seems funny given the way your group apparently uses honor and glory in general.

Oh, well, we readily dismiss character personalities when calculating Honor and Glory. You might feel like you are acting in a certain way, but neither Bushido nor the world is compiled to follow your ideas. 

11 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

That’s really nice for your typical Crane and Lion characters. Scorpion and Mantis characters might be less well off.

You are free to play an honorable Scorpion or Mantis. You will go off-theme, of course, but not being a prick isn't something that comes naturally to these folks. 

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2 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

1) Oh, well, we readily dismiss character personalities when calculating Honor and Glory. You might feel like you are acting in a certain way, but neither Bushido nor the world is compiled to follow your ideas. 

2) You are free to play an honorable Scorpion or Mantis. You will go off-theme, of course, but not being a prick isn't something that comes naturally to these folks. 

1) that seems odd with regards to honor, but whatever works for you.

2) the point isn’t that I can. The point is that apparently the system is supposed to tell you to play some characters as expected for their clan and others opposite to that. Why are we playing a system like this in Rokugan, exactly?

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3 hours ago, nameless ronin said:

Why are we playing a system like this in Rokugan, exactly?

 

Because we have different Clans. Sticking with Bushido is supposedly a good thing, so those who don't do that will naturally start with a handicap of sorts - this is literally the very first thing Akodo said about the whole code. 

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1 hour ago, AtoMaki said:

Because we have different Clans. Sticking with Bushido is supposedly a good thing, so those who don't do that will naturally start with a handicap of sorts - this is literally the very first thing Akodo said about the whole code. 

Those whose clan don’t typically do that will actually start with a handicap then. Is part of character creation supposed to be to choose whether you pick a “gimped” clan or not? The point of Rokugan having different clans is that everybody has a different idea of what they’re supposed to do and how.

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The Answer to the OP question is "It's a game do what you want".

That said I don't get the question.

Honor and glory have been a part of the game since it first can out.

This maybe that I am one of "The Old Guard" as people put it, but why do you play a game if you don't like its key mechanics?

Honor is your personal worth and Glory is how the world see you.

Its the same as most games forms of reputation and self worth however they portray them in other games.

I just have never got the "I love L5R crowd" then they list everything that they think is wrong with it which amounts to most of the game.

To the point I have seen a lot of people on this forum say they don't play the game they imported to other system.

Again You can do what you want when it comes to gaming by why should catered to those people?

I hear it all that time that the old system is played out and no one would buy a 4.5/5th ed yet check ebay and Drive-thru and you see 4th ed books going for fairly high prices.

Or in the case of Drive-thru players begging for PoD versions of the books to be available.

I know this is a rant at this point, but this is something that has been bugging me with all the let get rid of xxxx threads that have started to show up.

That said Do what you want.

 

  

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My point is NOT that honor and glory aren't important aspects of a character.  My point is that a track of 0-100 where minor decisions create minimal impact with a potential karmic reward far removed from the decisions which lead to it is not the best way to run this system.  It involves a lot more nit-picking, a lot more paper work, and doesn't feel rewarding unless your players have latched onto some placebo effect where they actually feel the impact of +/- 3 honor...

What I suggest is simply changing the system to a more immediate, and dymanic system.  If a character makes a decision which follows their giri or ninjo, or makes a decision which is honorable against their own best interests then they activate an "honored advantage" which gives them an extra free advantage for the session.  Similarly if a character makes a decision which goes against their giri or ninjo, or makes a decision which is self serving or dishonorable, then the GM gains a free disadvantage against them for the session.

This gives an immediate karmic reward for being honorable or dishonorable.  It cuts out the paperwork of calculating the exact impact of every small slight of honor.  It also gives incentive to dishonorable folks to occasionally act honorably as they can receive some recognition or reward from it despite their previous actions.

What constitutes honorable or dishonorable is defined by each character through the giri and ninjo, and the narrative the GM and players create.  I feel this is best as every character should have some ideal of what is honorable or not, which is often influenced by their clan but at its core is a very personal belief.

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

Status and glory on a 0-100 system is just horrible.  Doing away with that in favor of titles is much better.

Glory is highly contextual.  What you may be known for in one area as a good thing may be a negative thing in another setting.  You might be well known in one area and completely unknown in another.  Contextual traits completely fail on a blanket, linear, global scale of 0-100.

This is similar for Status.  You may be a high ranking courtier, but how will you be treated in the Crab lands?  If you are a Daidoji who's served on the wall and are known for your combat prowess you may be treated very well, but if you're Kakita Yoshi who's never drawn a sword... well you might not get such treatment.  There are growth lines as a warrior, as a socialite, a politician, magistrate ect - and a single character may exist in multiple spectrum as well.  Similar to Glory this becomes too contextual for a single linear progression.

This has been exposed with every L5R system as various notoriety home-brews have been used to accommodate contextual status.

If we simply used titles which had no effect, but could be invoked as an advantage or disadvantage based on narrative circumstance then we allow a character to have multiple aspects to their glory and status in play at one time, without the added paperwork and scale balancing.  If you are famous in Ryoko Owari Toshi specifically you can have a title for that and be famous in that city while being completely ignored in Toshi Ranbo.

Again - I'm not against honor and glory, or status as being aspects of a character.  I feel they are very important aspects for the setting.  What I challenge is that the 0-100 linear, global scale is a conflicting and contradictory system with a lot of paper work, and only becomes MORE paperwork if you attempt to expand that scale to account for contextual factors.  The karmic rewards of actions are too far removed from the actual actions which the player may take.  By bringing the reward forward to the point of the decision a player can more directly feel the impact of acting (dis)honorably, and may more easily see the monikers of recognition they may experience, and importantly might know why they should care to know someone else.

Edited by Soshi Nimue

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That’s weird in the setting itself, though. Are the Scorpion any less efficient in their task than other clans due to their being less honorable? I don’t think so. Quite the contrary in fact. But giving a hefty mechanical bonus tied to honor would clash with that reality. Some virtue advantages or matching disadvantages work well because they’re not that great to begin with, and advantages can be inverted. You still get some benefit for being a paragon of bushido but that’s not a game changing bonus. 

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I applaud them fro having an actually %scale this time (I mean the old games had that as well but they did write it down diffrently).

However I would prefer a shorter scale 0-10 (without decimal places) or perhaps even 0-5 which would nicely fall in line with the skills.

You could even get into situations where you have to do a fire honor roll or a water glory roll or a void status roll, but make these mechanics somehow memorable and make the change in honor/glory/status memorable.

Currenly it is Oh I lost 5 honor, I gained 7 and lost 3 again ... So much has happend without an actual impact.

 

As I said before honor/glory/status as they currently are decribed in the rulebook could be deleted without much loss.

 

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2 hours ago, Soshi Nimue said:

What constitutes honorable or dishonorable is defined by each character through the giri and ninjo, and the narrative the GM and players create.  I feel this is best as every character should have some ideal of what is honorable or not, which is often influenced by their clan but at its core is a very personal belief.

... No. Neither in the genre, nor in past L5R, has honor been internally set as a rule.  Both Honor and Glory are measured by outside standards in both classic and 5e. In 2E and 3E, explicitly different values for violating bushidō in different ways by each clan; buried in the expansions to 1E, and according to John Wick about 10 years ago, that each clan would have different glory awards and honor awards based upon everyone else's expectations.

Glory is awarded by NPC's, or sometimes by PC's in charge of other PC's and not uncommonly by PC's in charge of NPCs. The GM is supposed to award the glory based upon recognition in court of the deeds done in 1E.

Honor is how well the character lives up to the Code of Bushidō, which is the universal standard in Rokugan (and was fairly widespread as the samurai caste ethical code in Nippon, too). It's filtered a little by clan, as Rokugan is not one unified culture, but at least 8 (7 great clans, the Shinseist monks) different closely related cultures.

It is still dishonorable for a crab to be rude. A crab who is rude suffers an honor hit and a glory hit. Not as big a one as a dragon or crane, tho.

Likewise, a a Scorpion killing someone in the night is still being dishonorable, and still takes the honor hit - tho' a crab doing so would suffer twice as much, and a lion 4x as much.

Most Crab are honorable and relatively polite - but not overly formal.

Most Crane are not cowards, but a Crane suffers half what a dragon or lion would, and a fourth what a crab would, should they show fear.

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I think there might be some confusion due to the words used. Honor is sometimes referred to as an “internal” measure, not in the sense that each person determines what they consider as honorable or not, but in the sense that each person “knows what they did”. You, yourself, know the motive of your actions, and barring some pathological-level denial, acting against Bushido will result in a Honor loss, whether anyone else knows about it or not. Bushido is still the (externally defined) gold standard here, and variations are marginal, depending on Clan tilts and biases, as AK explained. But even if you do not display any outward sign of your shortcomings, if you know you failed to uphold Bushido, your honor suffers. Conversely, it is conceivable that an apparently cowardly act done in good faith (obeying your lord’s order, with ulterior and more honorable motive...) does not cost honor - though it might cost Glory if witnessed. This is what the new mechanics for staking honor is for btw. 

Now, past editions have sometimes admitted to vastly different views of Honor. Could be mistaken but I recall even some shadowland creatures like the Tsuno had a half-way decent Honor score despite not giving a rat’s fart about Bushido. Just because they abided by they own code...

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1 hour ago, AK_Aramis said:

It is still dishonorable for a crab to be rude. A crab who is rude suffers an honor hit and a glory hit. Not as big a one as a dragon or crane, tho.

Likewise, a a Scorpion killing someone in the night is still being dishonorable, and still takes the honor hit - tho' a crab doing so would suffer twice as much, and a lion 4x as much.

Most Crab are honorable and relatively polite - but not overly formal.

Most Crane are not cowards, but a Crane suffers half what a dragon or lion would, and a fourth what a crab would, should they show fear.

This is exactly my point - so much paperwork and balancing of the scales.  Every +3 or -5 is pretty meaningless provided the player balances their ledger - but essentially a character is going to be as honorable (or dishonorable) as their player role plays them to be.  This means it is internal, even if there is outside scrutiny.  The effects of being honorable or dishonorable are far removed, requiring many +3's and +5's strung together before there is any reward for obtaining an honorable status.

The games have used this system previously - but I feel it adds a lot of paperwork to the mix, relies on placebo effects, and belies the complexities of the context of honorable or dishonorable actions.  I am not being an "old guard" saying that the new rpg needs to do what the old one did - I'm taking the exact opposite position.  This has always been a problem with the rpg's and this is a great time to be rid of it.

A 0-100 scale of linear honor progression, void of context, removed from its karmic reward, overly complex and yet insufficient in measuring the depth the honor system should have.  Nothing is interesting in +3 or -5 honor.  If we can ask ourselves whether we should bother having a player roll a skill check by asking if the outcome of the check could be interesting, I feel we can equally question whether we should bother up keeping a ledger of honor if the drama, the context, and the karmic rewards for (dis)honorable behavior are lost in it.

I'm not suggesting honor and glory be removed - but suggesting that a narrative game should focus more on the drama and context of a characters actions rather than translating them into a lengthy scale that simultaneously slows down play, adds in paperwork, and strips what could be a dramatic decision of all the narrative color it contains, reducing it to a simple +3 (x4 if lion, /2 if scorpion)

Edited by Soshi Nimue

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3 hours ago, AK_Aramis said:

... No. Neither in the genre, nor in past L5R, has honor been internally set as a rule.  Both Honor and Glory are measured by outside standards in both classic and 5e. In 2E and 3E, explicitly different values for violating bushidō in different ways by each clan; buried in the expansions to 1E, and according to John Wick about 10 years ago, that each clan would have different glory awards and honor awards based upon everyone else's expectations.

Glory is awarded by NPC's, or sometimes by PC's in charge of other PC's and not uncommonly by PC's in charge of NPCs. The GM is supposed to award the glory based upon recognition in court of the deeds done in 1E.

Honor is how well the character lives up to the Code of Bushidō, which is the universal standard in Rokugan (and was fairly widespread as the samurai caste ethical code in Nippon, too). It's filtered a little by clan, as Rokugan is not one unified culture, but at least 8 (7 great clans, the Shinseist monks) different closely related cultures.

It is still dishonorable for a crab to be rude. A crab who is rude suffers an honor hit and a glory hit. Not as big a one as a dragon or crane, tho.

Likewise, a a Scorpion killing someone in the night is still being dishonorable, and still takes the honor hit - tho' a crab doing so would suffer twice as much, and a lion 4x as much.

Most Crab are honorable and relatively polite - but not overly formal.

Most Crane are not cowards, but a Crane suffers half what a dragon or lion would, and a fourth what a crab would, should they show fear.

L5R rpg 4th ed Page 90 
Honor Primarily reflects how an individual samurai rates his personal ability to adhere to the tenets of Bushido and fulfill the duties assigned to him by his lord. While Honor is primarily internal, there is an external component to it as well, as a samurai's Honor greatly impacts how one carries himself and thus others perceive him.

So you are wrong on Honor not being internal.

Gory on the other hand is very much external. 

Edited by tenchi2a

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47 minutes ago, tenchi2a said:

L5R rpg 4th ed Page 90 
Honor Primarily reflects how an individual samurai rates his personal ability to adhere to the tenets of Bushido and fulfill the duties assigned to him by his lord. While Honor is primarily internal, there is an external component to it as well, as a samurai's Honor greatly impacts how one carries himself and thus others perceive him.

So you are wrong on Honor not being internal.

Gory on the other hand is very much external. 

your quote from 4th also states it is external. It's an internal assessment of an external standard.

Bad form, pan.

 

Edited by AK_Aramis

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