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Magnus Grendel

Final Beta Thoughts

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  • First off, thanks to FFG for allowing everyone a chance to have their say.
    • Clearly they don't agree with everything said, but some update changes have been pretty close to stuff suggested on these threads, so whilst we may not have gotten our way on everything, we can hardly claim to have been ignored.
  • The debates on this forum have been interesting and occasionally a little heated, but thank you to everyone else as well.
    • It's been interesting to get everyone else's view on the setting and on gaming in general. It's interesting to compare how different groups would react to the same 'problem'.
  • I'll try and run though my views - the good, the bad, and in my view the still-to-be-fixed:
    • The setting
      • Rokugan is the first 'fantasy' setting I've delved into in any detail since Allansia (1st edition advanced fighting fantasy, if anyone remembers that)
      • Unlike  a lot of players here, I don't have a historical attachment to the 1st-4th edition game, or the LCG, so the 'hard reset' bothers me less than some.
      • The LCG fiction is interesting, and the artwork is gorgeous, and the winners-make-story-decisions gives the whole setting a 'permenant global living campaign' feel.
        • Supplements to keep the RPG matching the LCG 'history' are a key thing I'd want.
        • For that matter, letting the RPG-ers make the odd story decision at, say, GenCon or Games Expo organised play events would be cool.
          • (If they can get participation prize game mats, I'm sure something similar could be done for an RPG event - maybe a reference playmat or GM's screen?)
    • The dice
      • This I like.
      • I never got to play WHFRP 3rd edition. Edge of the Empire I liked, though, and mechanically it's one of my favourite systems.
      • This is essentially the same system with fewer dice types to deal with, and less 'swingy' because you're dealing with a fixed difficulty, not a fixed number-of-dice-rolled-to-determine-the-number-of-successes-you-need-to-roll.
      • The only element lost is "threat/despair" - strife is a useful mechanic, but it might be interesting to offer the GM the means to 'cash in' some strife results for 'inverse opportunities' rather than just handing the players the game's equivalent of strain.
    • Character creation
      • Clan/Family
        • Despite complaints about 'cookie-cutter' characters, I don't really feel this is a problem - between skill choices, advantages/disadvantages and pre-campaign XP spend, you can make characters from the same clan, family and school different enough.
        • Moving wealth to be a trait of your family, not your school, was a good move. You'll rarely meet a penniless Doji, no matter where they studied.
      • School
        • Still needs a comb-through equipment.
          • There are still a few cases where someone has a bow and no arrows. Equally, the ninja receiving a fixed number of arrows when everyone else gets a narratively-powered 'hammerspace quiver' seems odd. Just making the default statement that any bow or crossbow comes with a quiver ought to do it.
          • Some options are a bit odd. The Mirumoto receiving either a daisho or a wakizashi and any two weapons (which if one is a Katana, is a Daisho plus one other weapon) is a bit daft.
        • School abilities
          • I still think the Akodo Commander's ability is wrong. I would have made it work on any Tactics or Command check - it still works in mass battles on...pretty much anything, or skirmish on  initiative checks and 'battlefield leadership' shuji, but it has no place making him a kamikaze damage-dealer.
            • This change would mean not using it with an otsuchi to one-hit trolls
            • This change would allow it to be used in downtime scenes for tactics checks to plan a campaign, or in intrigues to argue your case in a council of war - things a 'war college graduate' should be able to use their school ability for.
          • The Mirumoto Two-Sword School school ability was a bit of a mess.
            • This has been discussed at length in other threads.
            • My main concern is that the more complex a school ability that we've not seen yet, the more likely it is to be similar. The fact that this was the first 'new' one we saw post beta release makes me a touch nervous...
        • Advantages/Disadvantages
          • I like them.
          • My only issue is the Animal Companion - I have no issue with the mechanic, but it's the one passion which 'gives you' a free thing - and the thing could be very powerful in game - a dog with the 'working dog' ability to provide skilled assistance, for example. Making it not provide the animal unless you have one from other gear picks seems fair - the passion for armament, tea, or sake does not provide you with stockpiles of those, after all...
      • Character advancement
        • Dropping 'rings' is a good move to me. Rings are the best thing generally you can buy as they apply to any conflict and are useful in a lot of downtime scenes.
        • Yes, they're already more expensive than skills, but not massively more so - they add a die (albeit a slightly weaker one) to the check but increasing your 'keep' limit is a huge deal.
        • Making skills and techniques the key to school rank makes them far more tempting - since the school rank 'powers' the school ability in pretty much every case.
      • Techniques
        • Kata
          • No real comments
        • Invocations
          • A nice system
          • Importune invocation and channeling makes a big difference - anyone with the 'qualified shujenga' badge can use any invocation with good dice results. This avoids a shujenga needing an enormous 'spell-book' of minor abilities to cover every situation.
          • Spiritual backlash hurts like heck. As it should.
        • Rituals
          • I like this. It's not a 'magic for non-shujenga is wrong' because whilst these are 'spiritual' they're not 'magical'.
          • Sticking to spiritual purification, blessings, tea ceremonies and reading the omens is important. Make sure they don't tread on the toes of 'down-time scene invocations'.
        • Shuji
          • No real comments
        • Maho
          • Inevitably, sooner or later people will want to do a villain campaign, or at least play the 'secretly tainted advisor', 47 Ronin-style.
          • More maho options would be good, but I understand the lack of them in the 'core rules' - you have to leave something out.
      • Conflicts
        • Skirmishes
          • Works well and simple.
          • 'Group Strife' for NPC squads works nicely for a simplistic morale system
        • Duels
          • Have limited experience with the 'new system' but it look infinitely better.
          • The 'single roll' duels are particularly tempting, especially for mass battles.
          • 'predict spam' might need to be looked at
          • With centre being channelling-for-duels, its value is varible depending on the skill of the duellist. The fact that it's a mandated void ring action whose effect is entirely independent of the void ring rank feels wrong.
        • Intrigues
          • Work well.
          • The key element will be dependent on setting objectives (one side persuades versus another sides persuades, or one side starts rumours versus the other's determine motives).
        • Mass Battle
          • The weakest conflict scene
          • I have never seen panic win a battle because assault actions are just easier
          • It just feels wrong having objectives and rules not scale with the number of players - it's always 1/4 of strength to wipe out a cohort, whether an army has six cohorts or just two.
          • panic feels odd doing nothing. That is, it does nothing, you do more panic, it does nothing, you do more panic, you win the battle - it feels like there should be some effect before this - some mass battle equivalent of a cohort 'becoming compromised' might be good.
  • Finally - Merry Christmas!
Edited by Magnus Grendel

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12 minutes ago, Magnus Grendel said:
  • Spiritual backlash hurts like heck. As it should.
 

For the enemy, it surely does. The only question is really whether Range 0 includes the Shugenja himself... this might make the difference between Fury of Osano-Wo being fairly reasonable or absolutely bonkers. 

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Unless an effect specifically asks for "other" or "another" (and not another in a context of "extra target") character, you yourself always count as a viable target. So if it affects, say, all characters at range 0-2, it hits you as well.

Edited by WHW

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5 hours ago, Franwax said:

Then, you realize that Fires from Within has a range of 1-3... kaboom!

Fury of Osano-Wo: Range 1-4, targets 1 character. But, with 3 strife taken, targets all within range 0-4 And with 3 strife, and the minimum 5 successes...

Fire + 6 supernatural damage to everyone inside range 4, including the caster (who is likely 3 points better protected from it...).

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4 hours ago, AK_Aramis said:

Fury of Osano-Wo: Range 1-4, targets 1 character. But, with 3 strife taken, targets all within range 0-4 And with 3 strife, and the minimum 5 successes..

Fury of OW has a range of 0-4, not 1-4. So you’re right about the second part of the paragraph. But the one I mentioned has a range that only starts at 1. The way I read it, “ The technique targets each character in range instead of its normal targets”... so if the invocation’s range is 0-x then sure the caster is affected.. but if it’s 1-x, the caster can affect everyone in range and be safely outside the blast! **** the caster’s friends can even huddle at range zero and be safe too. Use one or two opportunities to extend the range and things get even more bonkers. 

I want to believe this is poor wording and that casters are supposed to be affected, but right now, RAW, they only get the 3 Fatigue from the backlash. 

Oh, and how does Katana of Fire + backlash compute? Cool, now all of my friends have a nifty blade of Fire in hand :P

Edited by Franwax

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Would be good idea to go through the Fire Spells and email the ones that don't have range 0 - Fire Backlash probably was supposed to make them a major danger to Shugenja itself, instead of a buff.

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5 hours ago, WHW said:

Would be good idea to go through the Fire Spells and email the ones that don't have range 0 - Fire Backlash probably was supposed to make them a major danger to Shugenja itself, instead of a buff.

Any of the Backlashes can be used as buffs, Fire is just the most abusable. By the Light of the Moon + Air Backlash is giving you 4(!!!) free Opportunities by revealing two additional characters, and it gets even better with Know the Mind or Essence of Air. The Earth Backlash is good if you are weak with Earth but you are fighting an Earth Shugenja - not to mention that you automatically recover from the Prone condition at the end of your turn. Creating Ensnaring Terrain with Water Backlash can be absolutely huge in combat. Fury of Osano-Wo with the right preparations and the Fire Backlash is "Don't you dare to touch me!" tier, you can kill a whole army with it. 

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Luckily, Katana of Fire has no defined range and as such doesn't work with the Backlash. Same with Rise, Flame. Otherwise, it would be quite good to force your opponents to drop their weapons and equip a largely useless fire-shuriken for 1 Opportunity. 

If you want some "gone horribly good" moment with Fire Backlash then try it with Exhaust: now you can extinguish characters, whatever it means :D!

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