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Week 10 Update and Focus Topic (12/8/2017)

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1 hour ago, Ultimatecalibur said:

When you Center you do not "waste" a roll you are actually spending an action to give a future action a reroll.

But, is it better to Center then Strike (better odds to get a solid strike), than to Strike twice (possibly succeeding on both) ?
With the added fact that Void stance doesn't give any benefit.
And the fact that every round spent centering gets you closer to Unmasking.

It's really hard to evaluate.

Edited by Exarkfr

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59 minutes ago, Exarkfr said:

But, is it better to Center then Strike (better odds to get a solid strike), than to Strike twice (possibly succeeding on both) ?

There are a wide variety of factors that will determine the viability of all dueling strategies.

Getting a single successful Rising Blade off does more in Iaijutsu duels to first strike/first blood than 2 successful Strikes that only inflict fatigue (and may even inflict strife on you). Center -> Predict (Air) -> Rising Blade is a powerful strategy in this duel type. Winning with Strike spam is also likely seen as less Glorious than winning with a single Strike.

Strike spam is likely to win a Sparing Bout to incapacitation as inflicting more fatigue faster will get you closer to winning.

Duels to the death (both Iaijutsu Duels and  Warrior's Duels) are more likely to be heavily reliant on Finishing Blows.

59 minutes ago, Exarkfr said:

With the added fact that Void stance doesn't give any benefit.

True but not having Air or Earth's stance benefit is meaningless if you manage to take 2 actions before your opponent by out bidding him on initiative. If Crescent Moon Style is fixed Attacking or trying to Predict a Centered participant will be risky act.

59 minutes ago, Exarkfr said:

And the fact that every round spent centering gets you closer to Unmasking.

Every round spent doing anything in a duel but making the winning action gets you closer to Compromising. The key is to make sure your actions are taking you closer to victory.

59 minutes ago, Exarkfr said:

It's really hard to evaluate.

Which is good. Having multiple ways to win a wide variety of duels will make dueling much more engaging than any "one true way." Heck, the Kakita/Mirumoto 1 sword/2 sword dueling rivalry is pretty meaningless when there is pretty much no mechanical difference between how the two styles duel.

The Kakita are likely to be better in the various Iaijutsu Duels while the Mirumoto are likely to be better at Sparing Bouts and Warrior's Duels. The Crab favoring full armor Sparing Bouts or Warrior's Duels makes more sense for why they often clash with the Crane and Dragon on how to duel.

Edited by Ultimatecalibur

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But... you have to remove a Skill die before the roll in order to add your reserved die result. So it happens like this:

- You Center, and take the 58.33% chance to get a Success (if that's what you want). If it hits, then you reserve it. 

- Next turn, you take the Strike. When you assemble your dice pool, before rolling anything, you can discard one Skill die. You don't roll this Skill die. If you do, you add your reserved die to the rolled results when you pick kept dice. 

- At this point, the chance for Success went up to 100% (obviously, because you have a fix Success in reserve), however, this is only possible because you nailed the 58.33% chance the previous turn. Your chance to get the Success is 58.33%, because that's what you need to take during Center, and this is a dice you do not roll during Strike (when your chance to roll a Success with the discarded Skill die would be 58.33% too), so you can't double down on your chances. 

I might be wrong somewhere, but as of now, I can't see where. I mean, I would agree if putting in the reserved die wouldn't require discarding an equivalent die before the roll - now, that would be a true boost because the not-discarded die could turn up a good result too and I would have the chance to replace a bad result with my reserved die rather than an unknown result. But this isn't the case. 

 

Also, if you want to make Rising Blade truly devastating then go Use Skill with a Scholar Skill (Sentiment is a fluffy choice). One of the Scholar Skill Opportunity options is an Any*+ that decreases the TN of the next friendly character's check by 1 per Opportunity spent. Cash in on Opportunity, decrease your next TN by 2-3, and you probably don't even need to Predict for Air because your TN 1 for Strike is almost guaranteed. 

Edited by AtoMaki

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3 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

But... you have to remove a Skill die before the roll in order to add your reserved die result. So it happens like this:

- You Center, and take the 58.33% chance to get a Success (if that's what you want). If it hits, then you reserve it. 

- Next turn, you take the Strike. When you assemble your dice pool, before rolling anything, you can discard one Skill die. You don't roll this Skill die. If you do, you add your reserved die to the rolled results when you pick kept dice. 

- At this point, the chance for Success went up to 100% (obviously, because you have a fix Success in reserve), however, this is only possible because you nailed the 58.33% chance the previous turn. Your chance to get the Success is 58.33%, because that's what you need to take during Center, and this is a dice you do not roll during Strike (when your chance to roll a Success with the discarded Skill die would be 58.33% too), so you can't double down on your chances. 

I might be wrong somewhere, but as of now, I can't see where. I mean, I would agree if putting in the reserved die wouldn't require discarding an equivalent die before the roll - now, that would be a true boost because the not-discarded die could turn up a good result too and I would have the chance to replace a bad result with my reserved die rather than an unknown result. But this isn't the case. 

@AtoMaki that is not how statistics works and so you are very wrong. You are thinking of the dice pool as a single random results generator rather than a group of independent random results generators that are assembled together.

You are not discarding a Skill die you are setting the Skill die to the result you chose if you reserved it. You are still "rolling" that die but all the faces are now the side you reserved. This effect gives each Skill die in the Strike roll an 82.64% chance of being a Success through the combination of the two rolls if you are reserving Successes on the Center roll.

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After some testing, these actions work much better with following modifications:
1. Center is not Void-specific.

2. Instead of being actions you take using your normal actions, you pick one of them at end of the current round as an EXTRA action. So no matter the stance, each participant will always Predict or Center at end of the round, after both parties took their turns. 

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@AtoMaki

You should try and see this "reserve dice" as a reroll, for that is essentially what Center does.
Example :
 - on round 1, you Center
     - you roll your skill dice
     - you reserve whichever dice you want (likely, ones with good symbols)
 - on round 2, you Strike
     - you roll Ring+Skill, removing 1 skill dice per dice reserved
     - you determine the result

The skill dice you rolled on round 2 were the skill dice you didn't keep on round 1 : which means, you just rerolled the bad dice.

Center could be reworded as : "Choose a skill. The next time you make a check with that skill this scene, reroll as many dice as you want. You can Center several times to get several rerolls"

 

 

@Ultimatecalibur

I guess my problem is : "Determining the best option requires a lot of skill from the player"
 - ability to evaluate the odds
 - ability to predict the other player's choices
 - ability to bluff the other player

And I fear it is not what I want (emphasis "I")
They may have removed a lot of rolls (which is good), but I feel like it's not my character's skill at duelling that matters. At least, until the very last (and maybe only) attack roll.
v4.0 might have replaced the "Air stance + Center" spam of previous version with a "tough choice many variables" paralysis.

 

I think Predict should be an automatic thing that happens as a contested roll between the duellists. With the winner inflicting Strife upon the looser (like 1 for success, +1 per bonus success). And, for 2 opportunities, you could name a Ring that the opponent can not chose.
Character's skill would matter, and player choice would still be a thing.

 

Plus... wouldn't it become hard for the Game Master to run duels ?
The GM knows the PCs rings, skills, school, rank and techniques. The GM knows their favourite strategies. The GM also knows how much Strife the PC has already suffered
If player's skills matter a lot, doesn't it give the GM an unfair advantage ?
Every time a PC duels an NPC, the GM would have to do as if he had no knowledge of the PC ?
Am I just overthinking this ?

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1 hour ago, Exarkfr said:

The skill dice you rolled on round 2 were the skill dice you didn't keep on round 1 : which means, you just rerolled the bad dice.

3

This might have nailed it for me, thanks :)! To be honest, I did not examine the chances from the side of the unreserved dice. That was a mistake.

Edited by AtoMaki

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Results from our tests are basically this:

 

Center was a trap. Giving up actions to make your next action better in a conflict where characters are wearing ceremonial robes (resistance of 1) means that getting hit twice by a katana, especially in fire stance, can easily put you into double digits fatigue. For many characters, that's Incapacitated. By choosing to Center, you also don't get the chance to spend Opportunities. Centering for a Rising Cut seems like a bad strategy unless you are a Kakita, because Rising Cut has Deadliness of 5 + Opportunities - which is really easy to drop down below "win first blood" Severity of 5 with a Fitness roll, unless you are a Kakita. And if you are a Kakita, you are probably better using Void Stance to reduce TN of your attack by 1 (say, during Assessment) and just Rising Cut with help of Advantage Reroll and Seize The Moment Void Spending first turn. Rising Cut is really, really bad Iaijutsu duel technique for anyone who is not a Kakita (as hey can get free Severity) - base Deadliness of Katana is 5, and you need to inflict a crit of 5 or higher to win First Blood duel. That means that you need at least one extra opportunity kept on top of 3 successes for each expected success on your opponents Fitness check. Even then, I've seen Fire Stance make Kakita Rising Cuts whiff by dropping it into "clothes explode" range. Void-Prepared double handed Strikes (TN1) are generally what won duels - one of the strongest openings in an Iaijutsu duels we saw consistently perform was Assess using Void, spend 1 opportunity to soften next Water check, use free Water action to draw the weapon, and Strike, with pretty good odds for a 7 severity Crit. Void enhance Fire --> Iaijutsu Horizontal Blade was also scary, consistently ending duels in two turns - TN1 Horizontal Blade will deal tons of Fatigue, as any result you roll that isn't a blank adds damage, sometimes twice - Successes add damage, Opportunities add damage (by the virtue of spending it on Razor Edged quality --> increasing Deadliness --> increasing Horizontal damage) and Strife adds damage, usually putting your opponent in threat range of "I get sneezed at and I get Incapacitated" while offering a nice Crit Protection in form of explosive Fitness that reliably can get even two handed Strikes to 5 or less severity.

Predict was ignored for the most part, as it's an action that has very big chance of whiffing and while 4 Strife swing is nice, getting a basically free turn for 4 Strife is still worth it in a economy where two actions can win you the game. The exception to the rule was Water Stance...as Water users can do it on top of their normal action, making them super strong at playing the Finishing Blow game - Predict your Opponents, Strike, make your own Strife go away with Opportunities! 

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Had a quick try with the new duelling rules.

It was fun - and quick. The constant pressure of the staredown forced people to actually do stuff, which was good. Even the highest composure character would be getting nervy after 2-3 rounds, even if they didn't 'push' their initiative or take any strife results.

Center and Predict worked well. The strife-dump aspect of center always was one of the big draws, but now in predict brutally effective with 4 strife on an ever-increasing pile of strife.

Added to the changes to parrying (such that it's just a reroll for your fitness check, which is good for dropping a severity 5-7 critical to 'safe' levels, but will do naff all to a severity 14+ finishing blow).

Also, the One-Roll Duels is very satisfying as a "we don't want to resolve this over N rounds", and is something I'd be wholeheartedly advocating for Clashes in Mass Battles (for example) as it actually lets you resolve a five minute fight 'inside' a half hour turn, which makes good sense to me. Duels are faster anyway, but being able to ask "do you guys mind us playing this out 'longhand' whilst you watch?" is a useful tool; taking A Ronin's Path as an example, the Keinosuke judicial duel would be something to do 'properly' whilst a clash with Teeth-Taker during the battle for the watchtower would be an ideal candidate for a one-roll resolution.

Main issues:

  • Double-predict does feel like a rules artefact which needs addressing. Being able to 'lock out' 2 rings is pretty harsh, as would be 'double-locking' one ring (especially paired with Battle In The Mind).
  • Running through the duel, we looked closely at the (new) critical rules for the first time:

Gravely Wounded, Beta Update 4.0, page 12:

Quote

Effects: Increase the TN of checks with the affected Ring by 1, plus 1 for each check they have made with that ring this scene (to a maximum of TN 8).

I get (and like) the idea of an escalating penalty based on your actions. My concern is that it requires retro-active knowledge; suppose you are running a relatively extended skirmish scene, and half-way through, one of your players receives the Gravely Wounded (Water) condition as he takes an arrow to the knee in true RPG meme fashion.

Asking "how many checks have you made with your water ring so far this scene?"  twenty minutes into a battle I would confidently expect the answer "not a bloody clue" followed by the question "why should it matter?"

If it was "plus 1 for each check they make from this point on" it would make more sense to me; the mechanical effect represents you exacerbating the injury, or the progressive effects of pain, muscles tearing, your leg weakening, whatever. Counting checks before you suffered the critical don't make sense.

I have no issue with specifically including the Fitness [Ring] check made to mitigate the critical which caused Gravely Wounded. That way you will always have at least 1 check 'under your belt' on the same ring as the critical, and hence Gravely Wounded will always be worse than Wounded, even if there's only 1 more check that scene.

 

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I think the effect for Gravely Wounded was worded for the case of someone showing up to a scene while already afflicted by that condition... but in essence your interpretation should prevail for someone who becomes gravely wounded mid-scene (and somehow has the grit to keep fighting). 

Even then, it can be very tedious in terms of book keeping. I’d rather have a flat TN penalty and something extra on the side. 

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I still really like an idea of "Gravely Wounded is +1 TN flat to everything that stacks with Wounded, giving you +!TN to everything, but +2 TN to that specific ring", or "GWounded is +2 TN and something bad happens when you keep 3 Strife, spiritual backlash style". 

My group found GWoundend unsatysfing in play - it basically forces the enemy to switch their Stance, so you rarely "feel" the effects, so a lot of its power is invisible and unless you get an access to enemy sheet ("We Gravely Wounded its Water Ring, so while it switched to just as high Air Ring, it won't be able to use it's super powerful Opportunities that are locked into Water!") it in many cases feels like an cop out; 'we gravely damaged the enemy, but they workarounded it by going into other ring, now we feel like idiots because it was entirely dodged'. The effect is powerful, but for whatever reason it isn't satyisfying, as it mostly is purely preventive in nature - you need to be crazy to stay in the Gravely Wounded ring, so you never actually experience power of this effect in play. 

 

Though new "razor makes you bleed" rules go a long way to making crits finally interesting and feeling worth it. It also finally bridges the gap between Razor weapons and tetsubo family, IMHO.

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1 hour ago, Franwax said:

I think the effect for Gravely Wounded was worded for the case of someone showing up to a scene while already afflicted by that condition... but in essence your interpretation should prevail for someone who becomes gravely wounded mid-scene (and somehow has the grit to keep fighting). 


I get the idea of starting a scene Gravely Wounded (given the suggested recovery process it's likely to happen if the critical is suffered), but a double-handed katana can land a Gravely Wounded result pre-incapacitation in a fairly realistic situation (it happened on a strike action in the trial duel we did).

13 minutes ago, WHW said:

My group found GWoundend unsatysfing in play - it basically forces the enemy to switch their Stance, so you rarely "feel" the effects, so a lot of its power is invisible and unless you get an access to enemy sheet ("We Gravely Wounded its Water Ring, so while it switched to just as high Air Ring, it won't be able to use it's super powerful Opportunities that are locked into Water!") it in many cases feels like an cop out; 'we gravely damaged the enemy, but they workarounded it by going into other ring, now we feel like idiots because it was entirely dodged'. The effect is powerful, but for whatever reason it isn't satyisfying, as it mostly is purely preventive in nature - you need to be crazy to stay in the Gravely Wounded ring, so you never actually experience power of this effect in play. 

A fair point. Most opponents have at least 2 'decent' rings, so one gravely wounded doesn't really 'show', and you shouldn't normally have to inflict 2 (or at least, by the time you have the fight is probably over).

I think either of your suggestions could work - I'd probably go for +1 to all checks, +2 to the Gravely Wounded ring; having a major injury to the leg (thematically water) should make pretty much everything harder, whether you're sprinting (fire), sneaking (air), or marching (earth).

Besides which, you could argue Gravely Wounded already has a strife-based condition; after all, if you gravely wound someone with a sword, they're bleeding, and any strife kept on a check will inflict fatigue and potentially incapacitate them. Adding an if-you-keep-strife condition either makes the bleeding effect redundant or doubles down on it to a ridiculous degree.

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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The "problem" with Gravely Wounded style condition (majority of our testing is under first draft of crit rules, where you had "Injured X" - this is however similar issue, as only numbers changed) is that while it's very powerful - it basically locks out an enemy out of a Ring - from players perspective, they feel "played" "fooled" "outplayed" when opponent just switches to a different Ring. It feels like they are ignoring the effort (and opportunity costs) that players have put into inflicting the Condition. Most of our combats are over (or effectively over, as in "decided and only matter of finishing it out") before opponents run out of the "good Rings" and is actually forced to take an action that would be penalized by the Condition. 

So one of reasons why I'm happy with bleeding on razor crits is that even if you "dodge" the Wounded effects, Bleed will still VISIBLY impact your options and decisions; "you critted the guy, so now he takes 2 Fatigue to make this attack work and is too scared to get an opportunity on top of it" gives you much more tangible rewarding feedback for your actions than "You Injured their Water Ring, so now they are going to pummel you with Fire Ring, oh wow they maybe don't get to use that powerful ability you don't know exists on their sheet but they surely landed a powerful strife powered hit, how much Fatigue is that even LOL".

This is a symptom of a greater Crit "problem" though - Crit system works GREAT against players, as players definitely feel the power of Wounded Condition (as they are actively experiencing being "locked out" of their options), but the primary users of Crits *are* players and primary targets are Adversaries; and these rules aren't as satisfying from perspective of players using them on NPCs, as the experience of "**** yeah he can't now use Fire Ring properly" is not nearly as interesting as "oh no I can't use Fire Ring properly now what shall I do" - because "i switch to Water Ring and then play smart and YEAH I OVERCAME THE WOUND TAKE IT YOU MONSTER IT WAS CLOSE!" is SUPER satisfying", because it impacts you, your decisions and your strategy, and it rewards you for having backup plans for getting your main ring damaged.

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On 12/14/2017 at 7:02 AM, WHW said:

It requires a roll, but that roll is not a skill check, which is somewhat weird. 

My first instincts seem to be correct, but I might suffer from confirmation bias: Center is not worth taking, and Predict only appears when coupled with Water Stance. Doing these in place of your normal actions is not worth under the current economy. 

I used center last night... The sense of dread it creates is amusing. They knew I had the 3 successes (& 1 opp & 1 strife, across 3d kept), needed to hit in air, so the player gambled that I was about out of composure... And bet wrong. At least, it was only a bokken duel. To first crit. Sure, it was a measly damage the armor one.

Knowing i had the successes, I didn't bother not-striking, either. I was only gambling on the crit, and had 4d to roll an opportunity on. And got it. Duel over.

 

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On 12/15/2017 at 2:04 PM, Exarkfr said:

But, is it better to Center then Strike (better odds to get a solid strike), than to Strike twice (possibly succeeding on both) ?
With the added fact that Void stance doesn't give any benefit.
And the fact that every round spent centering gets you closer to Unmasking.

It's really hard to evaluate.

Not in "Proper Iaijutsu" -  Properly, it's one draw-and-strike each, en passant. Then, reset. Which goes back to round 1.

In other forms of duel, maybe. Depends upon your goal. And your needed target number and dice kept. 

 

As for the two strikes...
If, for some reason, you're blocked from your high ring, and the TN is more than half the number of dice, your odds are most likely to be better with one center and one strike.... because you're not likely to hit on one shot. If the TN exceeds your dice kept, channelling/centering for explosives makes it MUCH easier to hit... because you are likely to get 1 or 2 explosives, per center, if you're skilled.
 

Edited by AK_Aramis

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8 hours ago, AK_Aramis said:

If the TN exceeds your dice kept, channelling/centering for explosives makes it MUCH easier to hit... because you are likely to get 1 or 2 explosives, per center, if you're skilled.

Sounds about right. Channelling has been a big part of our Shujenga being able to pull off a lot of impressive feats, now she's fully got her head around the "they're not 'spells' and you don't technically need to 'know' how to cast them if it's really important and you're prepared to sacrifice something for it" concept of importune invocations.

There's something truly scary about someone with a pair of explosive successes sat in front of them whilst channelling up to a fire invocation. You can practically hear the "Kamehame....." building up. I imagine it's much the same in a duel.

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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2 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

Sounds about right. Channelling has been a big part of our Shujenga being able to pull off a lot of impressive feats, now she's fully got her head around the "they're not 'spells' and you don't technically need to 'know' how to cast them if it's really important and you're prepared to sacrifice something for it" concept of importune invocations.

There's something truly scary about someone with a pair of explosive successes sat in front of them whilst channelling up to a fire invocation. You can practically hear the "Kamehame....." building up. I imagine it's much the same in a duel.

We realized we forgot to check for backlash... the Isawa used a range 3 spell, TN 4, 5 Successes, 4 strife, 2 opportunity after channelling once and keeping 3 explosives.

Dueling is better now ... getting the dynamic right is going to be rough, but it's better now than before. 

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as noted before, the main thing is it's not slow. Even against generic spod #3,458, a duel could drag on for several turns, if said generic spod was primarily focused on not dying. Now, stuff actually gets resolved in a couple of rounds, tops, or even in a single roll if I insist on it.

The latter really helps for mass battles; challenge actions requiring a check means that pinning down an enemy commander for even one round isn't guaranteed, and the one round nature of a clash usually made the fight irrelevant. Now, if it's a case of "I engage the important-but-not-really-important-enough-to-give-a-monkeys-about goblin chieftain leading the cohort attacking the western end of the wall" then that can actually get resolved inside the half hour-to-hour long mass battle 'turn' to the point of one or other of the combatants getting put down for good.  

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11 hours ago, AK_Aramis said:

If the TN exceeds your dice kept, channelling/centering for explosives makes it MUCH easier to hit... because you are likely to get 1 or 2 explosives, per center, if you're skilled.

2

You have to be really friggin' skilled for that. Even with Skill 5 you have a 80% chance to get a single Explosive Success. And even if you trust your dice, it is questionable whether it is worth it, because if you Strike, you get your Explosive Successes the exact same way. 

Also, if you fail to strike, you can still spend Opps to get something sweet out of it. Void for -1 TN, Fire for plus Initiative, Striking as X, Spinning Blades, Strife shenanigans, etc. 

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On 15/12/2017 at 5:07 PM, Ultimatecalibur said:

False. You have a far better chance of getting a success if you center first. You  are overfocusing on the reserved dice rather than what is actually happening to the dice you are not reserving.

Lets say you are rolling for a successes on a Strike.

When you roll a Skill die for successes you are rolling for a 7 in 12 chance (58.33% chance of success) with a 5 in 12 chance of not rolling a success (41.66%) and each die gives independent results not influenced by the results of any other die. When you roll for a Strike each die independently has a 7 in 12 chance of coming up success and a 5 in 12 chance of not.

When you Center then Strike reserving successes the following happens: Each Skill die has a 58.33% chance of 100% chance of being success and a 41.66% chance of a 58.33% chance of rolling a success. This ends up an 82.64% chance of that Skill die coming up a success.

When you Center you do not "waste" a roll you are actually spending an action to give a future action a reroll.

Yes, this is 100% right.


Center is a lot like channeling for invocations - keep some die to guarantee better results when you actually perform the action.

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The problem with Center is that it does not really guarantee anything. If you have few Skill dice, then the chances that the dice will chaff at you with Centering is considerable. If you can't catch something sweet (Success+Opportunity, pure Explosive Success) then Center ain't that hot at all - you are wasting an action on getting something you would most likely get anyway. However, if you have lots of Skill dice then you have redundancy, so rolling dice around for no immediate effect is kinda stupid because you aren't getting that much from the delayed bonus than from trying twice. The whole Center dilemma can be especially jarring if you have a high Ring to boot.

As I can see, Center is for characters who are ill-fit for dueling. Evenly distributed but low Ring values (four Rings at 2 one at 3, for example), mediocre Martial Arts (Melee) Skill (Rank 2 or maybe 3), no special techniques to spend Opportunity off, things like that. Center gets prominence if two such characters face off because then it replaces a low-quality Strike action so the exchange will feel fair and the duel will not necessarily become a Strife-fight. 

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8 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

You have to be really friggin' skilled for that. Even with Skill 5 you have a 80% chance to get a single Explosive Success. And even if you trust your dice, it is questionable whether it is worth it, because if you Strike, you get your Explosive Successes the exact same way.

2 in 12 reroll/preroll is 30.56% versus a 16.56% chance of an explosion (84% increase)

With 2 skill dice its 51.77% chance of getting 1+ explosions versus a 30.56% chance (69% increase)

With 3 skill dice it is a 66.50% chance of getting 1+ explosions versus a 42.13% chance (57% increase)

With 4 skill dice it is a 76.74% chance of getting 1+ explosions versus a 51.77% chance (48% increase)

With 5 skill dice it is a 83.84% chance of getting 1+ explosions versus a 59.81% chance (40% increase)

It is actually better the fewer dice you are rolling.

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34 minutes ago, Ultimatecalibur said:

It is actually better the fewer dice you are rolling.

 

It definitely is. It is also getting a lot riskier because if you hit a Blank with a 1-die Center then you are busted. 

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a lo of it will come down to the scenario. As noted, less skilled combatants need the 'boost' because if a standard attack action has a limited chance of hitting, a centre followed by a strike is a better plan.

Equally, the higher the TN or 'effective TN' - because either you're facing a target in air stance, you're wounded, or it's a warrior's duel and you're facing someone in plate armour - the more worthwhile a centre action is.

Ultimately, if you think you can do meaningful damage with a basic strike action without a pre-roll, such that 2 strikes>1 prerolled strike then obviously centre is a waste of time, especially as it requires the essentially-useless-if-not-making-a-check void stance to use.

 

Remember, in a duel you're on a clock. Assuming you don't do anything to mitigate strife (or at least, anything you do is balanced out by strife you pick up via checks), you get 1+2+3+4+5+6 strife at the start of turns. That means that even if you have a very high composure you have an absolute maximum of 6 turns (if you somehow have composure 20) and more realistically 4-5 turns, maybe even only 3 if you have a low composure or started the duel with strife before your opponent gets a face-breaking finishing blow on you and there's a pretty good chance you lose at that moment.

In that time you have to 'win'. Obviously that will depend on the nature of the duel.

  • Duel to first strike
    • This needs enough successes to cause a hit (2-4) and enough opportunities to cause a critical (2). Which is quite an ask, but there is a realistic chance that a half-decent duellist can manage that on a 'normal' attack, so you might as well go potato-sack-samurai and spam strike actions.
    • The automatic critical for Iaijutsu: Rising Cut makes it a stone-cold bugger in a duel to first strike, and an essential tool for one-hit-wins. Add to the fact that as an iaijutsu strike you can use it from a sheathed blade, having it is a massive, massive advantage in a duel-to-first strike.
  • To incapactication/to defeat
    • This one merely requires you to hit your opponent with enough fatigue to incapacitate them (in a sparring bout) and then poke them again to render them unconscious (warrior's duel). That may well take 3-4 strikes, though, so you need to manage your strife carefully.
    • I suspect water stance for calming breath (and predict) is your friend, or fire stance if you can deliver enough fatigue with a good hit (say, you're packing an otsuchi).
  • To first blood/to the death
    • This is an awkward one. Landing a severe critical that's still bleeding  post-fitness-check is hard, and the most likely way to do it is the finishing blow. As a result, predict is arguably the most useful.

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