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deathdealerDAN

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Shugenja aren’t just jacks of all trades, they’re (or at least can be) pretty much masters of most. Bushi or courtiers are nowhere near as versatile and depending on what it is they specialize in, often barely or not better at whatever it is they do best. An iaijutsu duelist should be better at such duels than a shugenja and a courtier should be better at negotiations, but tanking damage, dealing damage and investigation are things a shugenja is better at than anyone else (yes, a shugenja is typically a better investigator than a Kitsuki). The number of spell slots is the only thing that keeps them in check, but I rarely see that actually come into play in published adventures and it’s something that’s hard to enforce on the fly. Medicine checks notwithstanding (which are restricted to once/day per patient and need a not-insignificant investment in skill ranks to be effective) shugenja are also the only source of healing. Iaijutsu duels and negotiations tend to be challenges that are difficult to put in adventures with meaningful consequences for failure too, but difficult is not impossible at least.

If they were D&D wizards they might actually be easier to handle. I completely agree about the playstyle thing, absolutely, but mechanically speaking their spells being prayers means they can use any spell they know as often as their Rings allow without preparation, with Void slots as wildcards. Using Spellcraft to learn more prayers is fairly easy, 4th is all about the low rank spells so reliability is rarely an issue, and particularly Commune (which can be used with a slot from any element too) is far too good. A D&D wizard at least has to prepare spells, Vancian magic style. Being pacifistic is a restriction, but that’s a choice - looking at my Tamori here.

If I make the antagonist a capable magic user, it becomes really hard for a party without shugenja to counter the machinations of the adventure. A little illusion here, some spell-fueled superhuman actions there and a party without magic ends up chasing shadows until I just reveal what’s been going on and they can try to make some sort of heroic last stand (which is terrible adventure building). I can only attest to personal experience, but every GM I know reworks their adventure when they find out the party won’t have a shugenja. And again, that’s not an issue exclusive to 4th. Every edition has this to an extent. But my impression is 3rd has it less.

To me this discussion just shows we all have our preferences and priorities. For you having to scrap a school (or a technique at any rate, I doubt there are many schools that have more than 2 busted techs) is a fundamental flaw, for me that’s one of the easiest problems to solve because it’s an isolated mechanical issue. For me every edition is playable as is (disregarding the d20 version for a sec since it’s not R&K and that makes it irrelevant for me, that’s a completely different game), including 2nd which I largely skipped because I really disliked that iteration of the R&K mechanic. I’ll play 1st again in a heartbeat. I actually play 4th most basically because it’s the current edition and current is what most people want to play. I have no fundamental objections against any edition, and as far as I can tell now that will go for 5th as well. 3rd is just the one that for me is the most engaging with the least amount of adjustments.

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I had to severely limit shugenja use (and actually magic as a whole) in 4th ed.

Shugenja aren't really for beginners, I don't think, and they wind up EARTH-SHATTERINGLY POWERFUL. Literally.
A samurai with an insight rank of 7 will be terrifying in combat, surely. 
A shugenja with an insight rank of 7 can vaporize any and all comers, and their armies and their kingdoms.

I also sort of find that having wild amounts of sorcery around vastly detract from any kind of Samurai Fiction(tm) that might be had. 
That might just be me though. Shugenja have the equivalent of cell phones, machine guns, instant healing potions that cure anything, flashlights, multitools, you name it. They chew through problems and plot WAY too fast.

An awesome samurai story about a warrior that breaks his arm before a tournament where his clans' honour is at stake ANYWAY NO PROBLEM YOU'RE INSTANTLY FINE NOW.
We're stranded behind enemy lines with the plans for the enemy attack. We have to lay low and survive long enough to get the plans to NO WAIT I'LL FAX IT TO THEM ON THE WIND
An army of Lost Samurai! AN ARMY OF ROCK MAN ELEMENTALS AND ALSO JAAAAAAAADE

They just make way better NPCs. I'm playing a Shugenja in a game right now and I constantly have to be careful not to accidentally destroy the plot. 

 

Edited by GhostSanta

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4 hours ago, nameless ronin said:

Shugenja aren’t just jacks of all trades, they’re (or at least can be) pretty much masters of most. Bushi or courtiers are nowhere near as versatile and depending on what it is they specialize in, often barely or not better at whatever it is they do best. An iaijutsu duelist should be better at such duels than a shugenja and a courtier should be better at negotiations, but tanking damage, dealing damage and investigation are things a shugenja is better at than anyone else (yes, a shugenja is typically a better investigator than a Kitsuki). The number of spell slots is the only thing that keeps them in check, but I rarely see that actually come into play in published adventures and it’s something that’s hard to enforce on the fly. Medicine checks notwithstanding (which are restricted to once/day per patient and need a not-insignificant investment in skill ranks to be effective) shugenja are also the only source of healing. Iaijutsu duels and negotiations tend to be challenges that are difficult to put in adventures with meaningful consequences for failure too, but difficult is not impossible at least.

I have heard this argument quite a lot over the years, but have never seen it in action or heard anyone who has. This can be due to the players I play with or just due to luck.

The idea that a Shugenja is a jack of all trades at least to me falls flat from play a Phoenix Shugenja in 4th and running many games with Shugenja in them. 

When played and GM'ed correctly the Shugenja are powerful but not the gods people tend to portray them as. 

In my last campaign we played for about two years and it was only at the end that we where reaching rank 5, so the idea of a Shugenja having the traits necessary for this seen far fetched.

While it is possible for a Shugenja with the right element to be good or even excellent at other tasks, they would be hard pressed to be good at everything.

Quote

If they were D&D wizards they might actually be easier to handle. I completely agree about the playstyle thing, absolutely, but mechanically speaking their spells being prayers means they can use any spell they know as often as their Rings allow without preparation, with Void slots as wildcards. Using Spellcraft to learn more prayers is fairly easy, 4th is all about the low rank spells so reliability is rarely an issue, and particularly Commune (which can be used with a slot from any element too) is far too good. A D&D wizard at least has to prepare spells, Vancian magic style. Being pacifistic is a restriction, but that’s a choice - looking at my Tamori here.

1. You forget that a Shugenja is praying to the spirits. And right in the core book its states that if the Shugenja fails a spell roll he has angered the kamis.

Now at lest for me that means until he/she makes amends they will not answer their call. so no spells of that element till they are appeased.

2. Spellcraft in 4th doesn't allow you to learn more spells.

It allows the creation of new spells "With GMs Approval" and the roll is 10+MLx10 which at its lowest for a ML 1 spell is 20.

Its other use is in the commune spell for getting more information. 

The processes of getting new spells requires access to a spell library and time to study the spells. 

Since both are controlled by the school(GM) it is quite easy to limit their access.

3. The idea that a GM had to change the adventure because the group did not have a certain type of character does not in itself mean the character type is overpowered. I have as a DM had to remove traps from a adventure because they did not have a rogue or had to change a adventure in Shadowrun because they were missing a decker. This did not mean these types of class were overpowered, just that the players did not have the equipment for these types of challenges.

Quote

If I make the antagonist a capable magic user, it becomes really hard for a party without shugenja to counter the machinations of the adventure. A little illusion here, some spell-fueled superhuman actions there and a party without magic ends up chasing shadows until I just reveal what’s been going on and they can try to make some sort of heroic last stand (which is terrible adventure building). I can only attest to personal experience, but every GM I know reworks their adventure when they find out the party won’t have a shugenja. And again, that’s not an issue exclusive to 4th. Every edition has this to an extent. But my impression is 3rd has it less.

1. Overpowered Shugenja was one of the major complainants I always would hear about 3rd. That's why they dropped the generic raises, free raises, and reworked the ML system in fourth.

You could say they did not go far enough, but the idea that 3rd was less powerful is a laugh.

2. Shugenja antagonist are as powerful as the GM makes them. And should be built as a clan or ronin Shugenja. That being said they should have the restrictions that any other Shugenja of their build has (traits,starting spells, etc)

Every time I have seen issues with this its because the GM tries to create a Merlin or Morgan le Fay type wizard to be the antagonist. outside of their starting spells they should only have what they would have gotten before they left the clan or what they should have as their current rank shows. This is an issues that IMHO was caused by the Way of series due to the Shugenja in them all supper high ranking Shugenja having the all spells needed write-up.

 

Quote

To me this discussion just shows we all have our preferences and priorities. For you having to scrap a school (or a technique at any rate, I doubt there are many schools that have more than 2 busted techs) is a fundamental flaw, for me that’s one of the easiest problems to solve because it’s an isolated mechanical issue. For me every edition is playable as is (disregarding the d20 version for a sec since it’s not R&K and that makes it irrelevant for me, that’s a completely different game), including 2nd which I largely skipped because I really disliked that iteration of the R&K mechanic. I’ll play 1st again in a heartbeat. I actually play 4th most basically because it’s the current edition and current is what most people want to play. I have no fundamental objections against any edition, and as far as I can tell now that will go for 5th as well. 3rd is just the one that for me is the most engaging with the least amount of adjustments.

While 1st and 2nd are not worth play outside of nostalgia for me.

I never said 3rd was terrible. While I find it has lots more issues then 4th it still has some good ideas.

1. I prefer the way Paths are handled in 3rd.

2. It had a more fluid initiative system than 4th.

3. I think it got closest to fixing the trait/skill issues. Where 4th kept the system but by reducing the power of the mastery levels lost most of what was gained.

4. The weapon category bonus and better weapon stats.

The issues is that while it had some great stuff that was lost in 4th. 

4th fixed way more issues then it missed.

Now the issues with just house ruling all this in 4th would of course be time and changes to some of these could lead to balance issues without major playtesting.

 

 

Edited by tenchi2a

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Spellcasting TNs are 5 higher in 3rd than in 4th. In 4th, I barely look at spells rank 3 or higher because everything I want them to do can be achieved adequately (or awesomely) with rank 1 and 2 spells. Counterspelling doesn’t exist in 4th and maintaining concentration only requires a simple action in 4th (at least TNs to maintain concentration when distracted or hurt tend to be higher in 4th). More spells in 3rd require concentrating in the first place. Honestly, if 4th was meant to power down shugenja I really have to wonder how the devs thought that would happen. Again, I play a Void 2 SR 4 Tamori in 4th and being capped at 2 Raises rarely poses a problem. My low level spells do just fine with 1 or 2 Raises only, which means my TNs are so low (again, they’d be 5 higher in 3rd if everything is kept the same) that failing a roll is a rare occurence. Your interpretation of angering the spirits is interesting (kami are localized, so you assume they communicate their anger al over Rokugan) but also a houserule, and given how reliable spellcasting can be in 4th wouldn’t change all that much for me in practice. Restricting downtime and access to libraries is an option for the GM, but it gets a bit awkward when I keep the shugenja on a shorter leash than the bushi and courtiers who also need to be in the right place and have time to get better at what they do. And with a bit of an investment in Spellcraft Importune can allow a shugenja the need to have a scroll for any give spell altogether, with Importuning being easier in 4th than 3rd too.

Again, shugenja are arguably too good in every edition. 4th certainly did not improve on 3rd in this regard though. I find it really hard to argue for 4th spellcasting not being significantly more versatile.

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On 2/13/2018 at 5:31 AM, nameless ronin said:

Spellcasting TNs are 5 higher in 3rd than in 4th. In 4th, I barely look at spells rank 3 or higher because everything I want them to do can be achieved adequately (or awesomely) with rank 1 and 2 spells. Counterspelling doesn’t exist in 4th and maintaining concentration only requires a simple action in 4th (at least TNs to maintain concentration when distracted or hurt tend to be higher in 4th). More spells in 3rd require concentrating in the first place. Honestly, if 4th was meant to power down shugenja I really have to wonder how the devs thought that would happen. Again, I play a Void 2 SR 4 Tamori in 4th and being capped at 2 Raises rarely poses a problem. My low level spells do just fine with 1 or 2 Raises only, which means my TNs are so low (again, they’d be 5 higher in 3rd if everything is kept the same) that failing a roll is a rare occurence. Your interpretation of angering the spirits is interesting (kami are localized, so you assume they communicate their anger al over Rokugan) but also a houserule, and given how reliable spellcasting can be in 4th wouldn’t change all that much for me in practice. Restricting downtime and access to libraries is an option for the GM, but it gets a bit awkward when I keep the shugenja on a shorter leash than the bushi and courtiers who also need to be in the right place and have time to get better at what they do. And with a bit of an investment in Spellcraft Importune can allow a shugenja the need to have a scroll for any give spell altogether, with Importuning being easier in 4th than 3rd too.

Again, shugenja are arguably too good in every edition. 4th certainly did not improve on 3rd in this regard though. I find it really hard to argue for 4th spellcasting not being significantly more versatile.

sorry I was busy with college papers this week.

anyway, 3rd power comes out in the mid to high levels very clearly. While it does gimp lower levels more then 4th, it makes up for it at higher level.

Using Isawa Tsuke as an example:

Isawa Tsuke (3rd ed) Isawa Tensai 5 (Fire), Elemental Guard 2 (Fire)

Isawa Tsuke (4th ed) Isawa Shujenja 5 (Fire), Path: Tensai (Fire)(SR:2), Elemental Guard 2 (Fire)

Fire: 6

Void: 4

Spellcraft: 5

 

Using the Spell “Fires from Within”

Mastary level: 2

Range: 100’

Targets: 1 person

Allowed raises: (3rd) +1 target per 2 raises, Double range per raise, reduce casting time per raise

 total raises allowed: 5 due to spellcraft, 3rd uses higher of void or spellcraft.

                            (4th) +1 target per 2 raises, reduce casting time per raise

total raises allowed: 4 due to void, spellcraft can’t be used for raises in 4th.

Other bonuses:

(3rd): 2 free raises, 2 affinities, +1k1 on fire spells, elemental guard speed reduction to “Fires from within” (-1 casting time).

(4th): 1 free raise, 2 affinities.

 

Final effects:

(3rd) casting time 1 complex action, targets 3, range 200’, damage 6k6

TN:35 Spellcasting roll: 10k10 Probability to succeed is 99% and the average result is 61 and σ 13.6

 

(4th) casting time 1 complex action, targets 2, range 100’, damage 6k6

TN:25 spellcasting roll: 10k8 Probability to succeed is 100% and the average result is 57.2 and σ 12.9

P.S. could only use 3 of the 4 raises due to raise limits.

 

So, while you are right that 3rd has higher TNs it also has more free raises, higher allowed raises, and tends to have higher total spellcasting rolls.

 

As for the Importuning the spirits comment

1) this can’t be used to learn a new spell. It can only be used to temporarily gain a spell for one use.

Process:

Let’s use “fires from within” again.

Time required: 10 minutes

Roll: spellcraft/ring (fire)

TN to know for 1 hour: 25

TN to cast: 35

2) 1 hour is the max time and since the spell normal has a TN of 15 this is not anywhere near a go way to use the spell.

 

Edited by tenchi2a

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another issues that tends to make 3rd rolls more powerful is the 10k10 rule

both are the same until you get to 10k10

3rd: for every 2 kept dice after ten add +1 free raise.

4th: for every 2 kept dice after ten add +2 to the total.

   

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At this time, love the new design:

1) the chosen timeline is one amongst the best to play, was fed up with CCG delirium that lead Rokugan history to non sense and absurdity

2) the new design of rool and keep with these new dices is very interesting

3) it seems that except with "kamikase" play or etiquette breach or seppuku, there is very few way a normal character unlucky dies, that soundsgood for epic/heroism :)

However, some few regrets

1) raises disapeared

2) few depth in school that except the only 1 technic seem to be the same in fine (just as reading beta). Hope soon to see other schools and minor clans :)

3) no real prerequisite in rings to wear armor or use weapons, no damage bonuses due to strenght

 

 

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On 3/29/2018 at 12:42 PM, fbtn said:

1) raises disapeared

Not really; they've morphed into needed opportunity. If player declares "Recover weapon and attack" that's TN2 for the attack, and 2 opp for the weapon, so they fail unless they get both 2+ Opp and 2+ Success. Just like raises. The difference is you can now spend the extras...

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On ‎29‎/‎03‎/‎2018 at 8:42 PM, fbtn said:

1) raises disapeared

See above - raises are voluntarily increasing the difficulty for bonus effect - well, opportunities kind of cover that - needing opportunity results for your plan to work (be it inflicting a critical, firing a yumi at a target outside the 'book' range, etc) means keeping dice with opportunity results and hence (potentially) not keeping dice with success results, making the check "harder".

It is, however, something you can adapt on the fly - you're not locked in to a specific use for the opportunity, and you might be able to come up with a use for only one opportunity if you roll them but not the second you wanted for your original plan (so you can't inflict a critical wound on your target, but might force them to suffer some strife).

On ‎29‎/‎03‎/‎2018 at 8:42 PM, fbtn said:

2) few depth in school that except the only 1 technic seem to be the same in fine (just as reading beta). Hope soon to see other schools and minor clans :)

The previews showed the Miramoto niten school - clearly they do have (at least some of) the other iconic clan schools written and ready to go; as noted it's just a 'preview beta', where they were more interested in poking the core rules about than the specific clan schools. I'm sure we'll see the other schools, either in the core book or in subsequent sourcebooks.

On ‎29‎/‎03‎/‎2018 at 8:42 PM, fbtn said:

3) no real prerequisite in rings to wear armor or use weapons, no damage bonuses due to strength

Agreed that there are no prerequisites, but I'm not sure how I'd do it in practice; strength can easily be represented by earth or fire, for example.

The closest I can come to 'prerequisites' is the Cumbersome quality - but it increases the difficulty of movement checks regardless of what ring the check is using.

Damage bonuses, however, is a thing. It's just hidden in the mechanics; because the damage a hit causes is the damage stat of the weapon plus your bonus successes, then anything which increases bonus successes increases the amount of damage you can expect to inflict. Hence, an earth-stance (read: brute force and violence) swing of an otsuchi from an Earth 5 Hida with the Massively Strong advantage for rerolls will hurt a lot, lot more than the same attack with the same weapon from jim-bob the ashigaru.

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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