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FFG_Sam Stewart

Week 9 Survey Link

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Hello L5R Roleplaying Game Beta testers!

We hope you have all had a great week! We're all back from the Thanksgiving holiday and getting things organized over here, so this week we wanted to throw another survey your way. 

This survey is all about duels. Duels are a big part of L5R, so they're something we definitely want to get right. Your feedback will help make that possible, so please swing by and fill out the survey! 

 

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One minor issue with the survey as I found it: in the GM section it's not clear whether you're asking about a duel between two PCs or a duel between one PC and one NPC. I'd expect to make many more decisions and dice rolls in the later case than the former.

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I'd rather see most duel actions not have rolls, simply to speed what is really a big slowdown in overall play, and eliminate the back and forth on TN to be hit.

Return to the 2E/3E model of TN climbs with Focuses, but only drops from techniques. This forces a resolution earlier. 

I've been pondering more...

And perhaps every action should incur +1 strife, even in void stance, after resolving it, excepting calming breath.

Eliminate most of the rolls. Focus just adds +1 to opponent's strike TN. Center adds 1 to your Damage or Deadliness until after your next strike.

Add an action, perhaps "Glare" - which inflicts strife upon the opponent.

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Trying to come at duels from a mechanics perspective is the wrong way to do it. The rules around duels should be part of the story and something one can break if they are willing to pay the price (or can get away with it).  The honor that runs through the setting should be what has minions step aside as their leader faces off one on one with a PC.

If the rules for skirmishes were more streamlined and the damage system wasn't a clunky pile of garbage, duels could easily be handled as any other combat. If damage was tweaked so that it only takes 1-2 hits to drop a character and requires less rolling and got rid of the crit charts, then fights could be quick and deadly.

Then adjust dueling based abilities and talents so they are more about focusing on a single opponent at the expense of being more vulnerable to other opponents. This way a duelist is deadly one-on-one but can be quickly overwhelmed by multiple opponents.

The game currently tries to use mechanics to give a duel weight and tension. This is the wrong. The mechanics should get out of the way as it is the story that makes a duel interesting. It is the stakes beyond just two people battling. It is everything that is riding on the outcome, it is everything that led up to that moment. Those are things that can only be weighed down by mechanics and here they are utterly crushed by bad mechanics.

Having different rules for every type of conflict isn't working. Mass combat is a mess. Skirmishes as written still need a lot of work and basic things like throwing a person, tripping them, doing non-lethal damage, etc. are all more or less ignored or require techniques and/or opportunities. Combat really is built around the idea of people with swords trying to hack away, leaving most everything else an afterthought at best. Even movement comes across like a half-hearted effort.

The game is trying too hard to have the mechanics drive the narrative and create drama. The mechanics should be providing a framework to let the people at the table drive the story and create the drama.

Most of the fixes so far feel like just a cheap coat of paint trying to hide the problems and most of the emails explaining design decisions come across like poor excuses for bad design decisions.  There have been some good things, but the problems far outweigh benefits.

At this point, my group is done. They wanted to see something great come of this game. They wanted to see the game succeed. But so far this game is just not working for the group. They only stuck around this long because they love the setting . They could take or leave past versions and were actually excited by the idea of a new system for L5R. The beta killed that excitement along with hope for the future of the setting. You've managed to turn off people who have ran countless hours of l5r at cons and gaming events and who have even bought books for people who wanted to play but couldn't afford it. One player was so disappointed by the beta and FFG in general (the design emails really rubbed them the wrong way) they canceled plans to buy Genesys and are not even sure if they will buy any more SW books (but will still run SW for their friends who like the setting and the game).  None of us are planning on buying FFG's L5R. It would take some major overhauls and streamlining to make this into a product we would enjoy. I like the SW rpg well enough to play with friends, but I'm not going to spend any more money on any FFG products.

At this point, my group feels like you would be better off scrapping this system and using the Genesys system. Even the players that have no love for that system think it is a better option than continuing on the course you're on.

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The new (3.0) damage system and the Parry rules are getting in the way of duels.

Duels to First Strike require any critical. Unless you use a technique that inflicts a critical upon success, or get lucky with enough opportunities on your Strike, you can not inflict that critical to anything that has at least 1 Fatigue remaining on your first strike.

Same goes for duels to First Blood. And in those, Parry will reduce the first critical you land to something that doesn't count.

 

I'd rather have duels that are 1 round things. And if it's not settled with that round, then it devolves into a "skirmish between two people"

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1 hour ago, Exarkfr said:

The new (3.0) damage system and the Parry rules are getting in the way of duels.

Duels to First Strike require any critical. Unless you use a technique that inflicts a critical upon success, or get lucky with enough opportunities on your Strike, you can not inflict that critical to anything that has at least 1 Fatigue remaining on your first strike.

Same goes for duels to First Blood. And in those, Parry will reduce the first critical you land to something that doesn't count.

 

I'd rather have duels that are 1 round things. And if it's not settled with that round, then it devolves into a "skirmish between two people"

Strike Actions, in both duel (Beta, page 162) and skirmish (Beta, page 165), carries an additional opportunity spend: 2 opp to do a critical strike.

Neither has been altered in updates 1 through 3.

So, any weapon can critical without running people out of fatigue by rolling 2 success + 2 opportunity while the target is in the correct range bracket for the weapon.

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Uh ?

Didn't I say "get lucky with enough opportunities on your Strike" ?

 

 

Edit:
BTW : "You don’t need to worry about range bands in a duel" (p161)

Edited by Exarkfr

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13 hours ago, AK_Aramis said:

And perhaps every action should incur +1 strife, even in void stance, after resolving it, excepting calming breath.

Something like this, yes. A 'time pressure clock' would help keep the action going and ratchet the tension up every round.

Both I and my players said they'd like to see duels be 1-3 rounds, ideally 2 (with one 'staring meaningfully through the morning mist' round and one 'strike round').

A long (real-time) duel is incredibly immersion-breaking for the players who aren't involved, however long it is narratively.

2 hours ago, Exarkfr said:

The new (3.0) damage system and the Parry rules are getting in the way of duels.

Duels to First Strike require any critical. Unless you use a technique that inflicts a critical upon success, or get lucky with enough opportunities on your Strike, you can not inflict that critical to anything that has at least 1 Fatigue remaining on your first strike.

I don't mind not being able to critical an opponent with fatigue left; as you note, it is possible - so clearly the target did manage to evade a blow that would have done better if I'd rolled better; needing [success][success][opportunity][opportunity] is a lot but far from impossible on a roll, and there are specific 'one-hit-kill' techniques.

I do however agree that parrying is more of an issue; unless I've missed something somewhere, short of unconsciousness there is no way to prevent someone from selecting parry as a response to being struck. Whilst I'm fine with it being an option, even being an option most of the time, there must logically be times where you couldn't. Therefore there should be some combination of die results and techniques which should allow me to prevent you from using parry as a response to suffering a critical.

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3 minutes ago, Exarkfr said:

Uh ?

Didn't I say "get lucky with enough opportunities on your Strike" ?

Critical ≠ high success. Success in 5E Beta so far indicates not hits, but forcing the opponent to move more to avoid an actual hit. Without 2 opportunity, you have NOT hit the opponent, no matter how many successes. You've merely forced them to move. And note that, as of Update 3, if they are not conscious, or are incapacitated, you auto-crit. Actual hits are orthogonal to a high success roll.

It's a matter of having the player skill to...

  1. work your distinctions
  2. Keep dice in a smart way
  3. know when to fail
  4. know how to (mechanically) fail gracefully
    1. for Invocations, if you can fail by 1-2, do so unless the fumble is to your benefit tactically. 
    2. Sometimes, a fumble is better than a failure or even a weak success
    3. if you fail, but have opportunity, you can use that for benefit.
  5. know when to take strife or not.
    1. If you're failing anyway, don't keep the *ing strife symbols unless
      1. they're explosive and 
      2. you're in a gambling mood.
    2. if you're not failing, decide if you actually need extra successes if they come with strife
  6. keep in mind your needed opportunities when using distinctions or offering adversities.
    1. If you've got a low chance of success, and failure won't hurt more for fewer, offer an adversity for gaining the void point. Unless you're full.
    2. if you can't get the needed opportunities to succeed on a technique, keep only enough to avoid undesirable fumbles.

At least, here, there ARE crits - unlike Classic L5R. In classic, unless you make specific raises for targeted hits, there's zero chance of a real critical hit doing specific damage.
And unlike Rokugan D20, the crits are not simply more damage, but actual penalty-bearing conditions. In d20, specific injuries simply don't exist in the core.

So, for the first time, it's possible. the odds are too low, but it's doable at all.

Until you have 2 in the ring, you're unlikely to even cause them to tire. Without 4, you're unlikely to be able to actually hit them.

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2 minutes ago, Magnus Grendel said:

needing [success][success][opportunity][opportunity] is a lot but far from impossible on a roll, and there are specific 'one-hit-kill' techniques.

Yeah.
But when you throw in Center (TN +1 or more) and Air Stance (TN +1 or more) you start to need some luck.
Or just try to bash your opponent until they have no Fatigue left, which doesn't sound very "to the first strike" (but "to the second, at least")

 

@AK_Aramis
OK, what are you trying to explain me ?
I know about the 2 opportunities on Strike. I never said it didn't exist. I never talked about high success.
 - You quote me, telling me about that option
 - I answer that you missed it in my post
 - and now you post something that... has what to do with what I said ?

No offense meant (really), but I'm having a VERY hard time reading and understanding many of your posts. :huh:

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1 minute ago, Magnus Grendel said:

I do however agree that parrying is more of an issue; unless I've missed something somewhere, short of unconsciousness there is no way to prevent someone from selecting parry as a response to being struck. Whilst I'm fine with it being an option, even being an option most of the time, there must logically be times where you couldn't. Therefore there should be some combination of die results and techniques which should allow me to prevent you from using parry as a response to suffering a critical.

You cannot defend if you are enraged (see Upd. 3, p. 11).

The quote, just for clarity:

«p. 170, Enraged: Add the following to the end of the “Effects” field: A character cannot use the rules for Parrying (see page 172) while Enraged. »

Also, note the following in update 3:

«p. 172, Parrying (Sidebar): Amend the beginning of the second paragraph to “Once per game session, when a character… » 

2 minutes ago, Exarkfr said:

Yeah.
But when you throw in Center (TN +1 or more) and Air Stance (TN +1 or more) you start to need some luck.
Or just try to bash your opponent until they have no Fatigue left, which doesn't sound very "to the first strike" (but "to the second, at least")

 

@AK_Aramis
OK, what are you trying to explain me ?
I know about the 2 opportunities on Strike. I never said it didn't exist. I never talked about high success.
 - You quote me, telling me about that option
 - I answer that you missed it in my post
 - and now you post something that... has what to do with what I said ?

No offense meant (really), but I'm having a VERY hard time reading and understanding many of your posts. :huh:

You missed the point... which is: Successes are not hits. Period. Until you get the crit, you have not struck. You never hit just by successes. Only opportunity spends or conditions grant actual hits. And actual hits require significant dice pools to attain until the target is incapacitated. That's actually rather realistic against a skilled opponent. (good lord, the number of times I missed GoF Nytshaed or AGoF Sorcha or AGoF in practice before I was able to consistently land a blow on them... and they still, usually, got me first.)

Duels are chaotic. skirmishes far more so, and a miss that puts someone moving more is functionally a successful attack. It's not a hit, but it's still a success. I've studied a little kendo - not my preferred style, so I didn't pursue it - and a lot of rapier, some kung fu and some sword-n-board. In melee, tiring someone out is when you get to hit, and the mechanic, after the terminology changes, fits my experiences with armed and unarmed melee combat. 

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15 minutes ago, Exarkfr said:

But when you throw in Center (TN +1 or more) and Air Stance (TN +1 or more) you start to need some luck.

Agreed. But equally, exploding success, provoke, void points, self-assistance are all things that can make the one-hit-kill easier without requiring previous strike actions. I'm less bothered about how easy it is to one-hit-kill someone than that it be mechanically possible.

Hence why I'm far more bothered about there being no way 'round' parry that I can see.

@AK_Aramis - thanks for the note about Enraged. Which is another reason for enraged to be a lot scarier than it first sounds. However, become enraged is an outburst, which occurs at the discretion of the strife-laden defender; whilst I can (with centre, for example) cause him to become compromised, I don't see how I can prevent him parrying when I finally attack.

4 minutes ago, AK_Aramis said:

You missed the point... which is: Successes are not hits. Period. Until you get the crit, you have not struck. You never hit just by successes. Only opportunity spends or conditions grant actual hits. And actual hits require significant dice pools to attain until the target is incapacitated. That's actually rather realistic against a skilled opponent. (good lord, the number of times I missed GoF Nytshaed or AGoF Sorcha or AGoF in practice before I was able to consistently land a blow on them... and they still, usually, got me first.)

Duels are chaotic. skirmishes far more so, and a miss that puts someone moving more is functionally a successful attack. It's not a hit, but it's still a success. I've studied a little kendo - not my preferred style, so I didn't pursue it - and a lot of rapier, some kung fu and some sword-n-board. In melee, tiring someone out is when you get to hit, and the mechanic, after the terminology changes, fits my experiences with armed and unarmed melee combat. 

Agreed. A successful attack is not a 'hit' (well, maybe a baby shaving cut).

A critical strike actually results in meaningful contact between the sharp bit of your sword and the other guy.  Hence why it's kind of apt that the terminology changed to the same one as Lone Wolf (Endurance) - which you can lose over a round of combat (losing 1-2 points of endurance being a 'bloody **** that was close' dodge or parry, losing 10 points of endurance being 'ouch my small intestine')

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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6 minutes ago, Magnus Grendel said:

Agreed. But equally, exploding success, provoke, void points, self-assistance are all things that can make the one-hit-kill easier without requiring previous strike actions. I'm less bothered about how easy it is to one-hit-kill someone than that it be mechanically possible.

Hence why I'm far more bothered about there being no way 'round' parry that I can see.

@AK_Aramis - thanks for the note about Enraged. Which is another reason for enraged to be a lot scarier than it first sounds. However, become enraged is an outburst, which occurs at the discretion of the strife-laden defender; whilst I can (with centre, for example) cause him to become compromised, I don't see how I can prevent him parrying when I finally attack.

No character can parry more than once per session, since update 1.

So, in duel, strifing him out gets you one attack, which he can parry, then your turn in the round, you strike again, and he cannot, no matter what, parry. Unless, of course, you cliffhanger.

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26 minutes ago, AK_Aramis said:

You missed the point... which is: Successes are not hits. Period. Until you get the crit, you have not struck.

OK... What in my post made you believe I said that ?
Genuine question.

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My players have actually been loving the current dueling mechanics. The duelists find them fun, tense, and tactical.

The other players found them exciting to watch, and full of drama. So far it seems to be everyone's favorite part of the game.

The bidding strife was a big hit, especially.

I've played every edition so far and I have to say this new dueling system tops my list, with 3rd edition occupying the bottom slot.

I think the only thing I'd fix is the balance between Center and Provoke. Center is clearly the superior action.

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On ‎01‎/‎12‎/‎2017 at 0:36 PM, AK_Aramis said:

No character can parry more than once per session, since update 1.

Agreed. But the point is that no combination of dice results and strife that I can see can take this away; I don't care (much) how difficult it is to pull off, but there is no combination of strife and dice results which ends with one-strike-kill.

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3 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

Agreed. But the point is that no combination of dice results and strife that I can see can take this away; I don't care (much) how difficult it is to pull off, but there is no combination of strife and dice results which ends with one-strike-kill.

Just need to add "assuming the target has a void point left" ;)

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I wonder why Parry got the nerfs. Probably due to "provoke Finishing Blow, parry it, enjoy" stratagem?

Looking at the current damage system got me thinking. How about:

1. "Face the Crit instead of Fatigue" costs 3 Strife, instead of 1 Void Point. 

2. You may voluntarily gain Strife up to your Focus when resisting a Crit to reduce its Severity by half the Strife gained. Doing so when Compromised uses up Void Points or is flat out impossible.

3. Parry is either replaced by 2 (parry = super high Focused Defence), or is only possible when you are not above your Composure in Strife.

 

This would make high Composure low Resilence characters very different in playstyle (tanking fatigue vs managing Strife), and would help avoid the "I get crippled RIP" on unlucky Crits while still presenting a real threat. Duels would get much faster (more ways to rack up Strife --> faster and more exciting Finishing Blows), and there would be a real possibility to suffering from Compromise in combat, even after you Unmask in a middle of it. 

Edited by WHW

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55 minutes ago, WHW said:

I wonder why Parry got the nerfs. Probably due to "provoke Finishing Blow, parry it, enjoy" stratagem?

Looking at the current damage system got me thinking. How about:

1. "Face the Crit instead of Fatigue" costs 3 Strife, instead of 1 Void Point. 

2. You may voluntarily gain Strife up to your Focus when resisting a Crit to reduce its Severity by half the Strife gained. Doing so when Compromised uses up Void Points or is flat out impossible.

3. Parry is either replaced by 2 (parry = super high Focused Defence), or is only possible when you are not above your Composure in Strife.

 

This would make high Composure low Resilence characters very different in playstyle (tanking fatigue vs managing Strife), and would help avoid the "I get crippled RIP" on unlucky Crits while still presenting a real threat. Duels would get much faster (more ways to rack up Strife --> faster and more exciting Finishing Blows), and there would be a real possibility to suffering from Compromise in combat, even after you Unmask in a middle of it. 

If you cannot parry when compromised, then the same mechanic which gets you a finishing blow also stops your opponent turning it into a disappointing papercut on the upper arm in return for damaging a weapon, which would be good.

As said, I don't mind how hard or involved the mechanic is so much as that it exists; for L5R RPG to feel like samurai drama, there should be a way for the first blow of a duel to result in someone looking for their head in the gutter, and for that to work there needs to be no barriers to doing so that I cannot remove through my own non-attack actions (dumping strife onto you via centre actions, stacking up void points to boost the roll, reducing the TN with provoke, whatever).

Since I cannot get 'parry' out of the way currently except by making you parry already or running you out of void points (which I cannot compel you to spend), it's a problem.

 

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Hmm. Would you be satisfied with my "Focused Defence" where you bid Strife to parry/reduce crits, especially if Striking as Fire would dump Strife on the target instead of what it does now? Note that the possible reductions would scale up from 1 strife for 1 crit reduction to 10 (!) strife for 5 crit reduction, making it better at managing the small cuts, but very hard to stop the double digit crits from ruining your day. 

I really like the bid mechanic of Staredown, and I kinda feel its underused, like a lot of other design pieces (Keep 3 Strife = Something bad happens; Switch a dice to a side with a Strife+Something result; Something happens, gain 3 Strife) in the game ATM.

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I don't think we need a new layer of mechanics after the strikes have connected (especially involving Strife)

The Staredown phase should be where most of the Duel happens (the dice will decide after that, but that's another thing).
Allocate Strife to initiative, attack and defence all at once (each limited by Void), and roll with it ?

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Sounds like the major problem with duels is due to the current mechanics of the Center action leading to stalled duels. If both participants play conservatively (not making any bids for initiative) and are unlucky (not successfully guessing at their opponents stance) you get an infinitely long duel as both participants "defend" with center in an attempt to force finishing blows.

I wonder if a automatic strife increase at the end of each round, allowing successful Provokes to increase the target's Strife, and adding a new "basic" duel action would help fix the problems.

Quote

Focus

Activation: As a Support Action make a TN 1 Meditation check.

Effect: If you succeed, reserve 1 of your kept or dropped dice. When making a check before the end of your next turn, you may roll 1 fewer Ring die per reserved Ring die and 1 fewer Skill die per reserved Skill die, then add the reserved dice to your roll.

*+ If you succeed, reserve an additional kept or dropped die for every * you spend this way.

Would this be a reasonable addition that might help make duels faster?

Edited by Ultimatecalibur

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