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On 5/5/2018 at 11:53 PM, llamaman88 said:

They picked the clans they picked because they all exemplify the classes picked; Lion Bushi, Dragon Monk, Crane Courtier, Phoenix Shugenja. They're also 4 very traditional clans. Crab, Scorpion and Unicorn are all have their flavor that sets them apart from your average rokugani be it not appreciating art and civility, being mask wearing liars or literally being a foreign culture. Sorry, but those 4 are the right clans in the right roles to put your best foot forward as an introduction to L5R.

 

I tend to think that in the L5R setting, the Scorpion are a pretty darn genre-important clan. Bringing out the scrolls. Then, later, opening them to cause the second day of thunder.  Bringing Shinjo back from the burning stands.  That sort of thing.

They also provide a nice break  from the standard good/evil axis in most fantasy RPGs, highlighting that in Rokugani culture, doing 'bad stuff' in duty and service can be considered good. And they can even break players out of the mold of 'me gonna be the loner antisocial assassin/thief class'.  Yes, you might be the thief/assassin...but no, you don't get to do anything you want. If the Scorpion wants you to steal something, they'll tell you to steal it.  And if they don't tell you to steal it, heaven help you if you do.

Having said all that, I'm sure every player has clans they like more than other. I'm not necessarily arguing for 'more Scorpion.' I tend instead to agree with the 'include one from each clan' comments.  Even that though, leaves me on the fence; adding more templates, and I still might just wait for the full rule book.

Edited by easl
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As a product meant to introduce players to the game and setting, you do not want support for more than 4 PCs and a GM. Think back to when you first started roleplaying, not just when you started L5R but when you started in the RPG hobby. How big was that table? How big SHOULD that table have been? For those of you who GM, imagine trying to GM a new game out of the box for a number of PCs. How many PCs do you want at that table?

Honestly, the choice of "4 PCs and a GM" as the base box makes sense. And if you were going to have 4 PCs (and only 4 PCs), which Clans would you choose? The Lion Bushi, Crane Courtier, and Phoenix Shugenja are, basically, your most iconic L5R archetypes, which are the most approachable from an outside media perspective. Lion Bushi are, basically, your Jidaigeki era warriors. Crane Courtiers are your Heian era courtiers. Phoenix Shugenja are your iconic wizard priests / Avatar: The Last Airbender element user. And, honestly? A Dragon Monk is basically your other half of the Avatar equation, with the Shaolin monk / martial artist film to boot.

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40 minutes ago, sndwurks said:

As a product meant to introduce players to the game and setting, you do not want support for more than 4 PCs and a GM. Think back to when you first started roleplaying, not just when you started L5R but when you started in the RPG hobby. How big was that table? How big SHOULD that table have been? For those of you who GM, imagine trying to GM a new game out of the box for a number of PCs. How many PCs do you want at that table?

To me it depends on the Setting. My first two RPG where Mechwarrior 1st edition and Top Secret. For Mechwarrior our first game was six people and a GM, and for Top Secret is was two of us and a GM. Both of them ran just find with those numbers. I have always preferred around six for L5R. This allows your group to cover the basics and leaves room for the odd ball schools.

40 minutes ago, sndwurks said:

Honestly, the choice of "4 PCs and a GM" as the base box makes sense. And if you were going to have 4 PCs (and only 4 PCs), which Clans would you choose? The Lion Bushi, Crane Courtier, and Phoenix Shugenja are, basically, your most iconic L5R archetypes, which are the most approachable from an outside media perspective. Lion Bushi are, basically, your Jidaigeki era warriors. Crane Courtiers are your Heian era courtiers. Phoenix Shugenja are your iconic wizard priests / Avatar: The Last Airbender element user. And, honestly? A Dragon Monk is basically your other half of the Avatar equation, with the Shaolin monk / martial artist film to boot.

This makes sense from a marketing stand point, as it gives you the chance like in the 4th corebook to cover the Bushi, Courtier, Shugenja, and the outside the norm school. 

As for the best Clans to represent Rokugan in the box set. I would have to agree that these are the most iconic L5R archetypes for the most point.

I would be a little hesitant in one of my games to have a new player, playing a Dragon Monk.

That said with this mix of player characters I would not be running the Topaz championship. 

1. No Crane, Dragon, Scorpion, or Phoenix bushi. So, unless they are going to neuter the NPCs the players have little chance of winning.

2. Shugenja and Courtier have never done well in the championship traditionally, and have more served as plot point in other incarnations.

3. The  Dragon Monk doesn't fit this adventure at all. The Topaz championship is a gempukku ceremony. The Dragon Monks don't have a gempukku ceremony in this sense.

4. So, you have 4 core PCs, and only 1/4 of them have the skills and/or reason to truly compete in the Topaz championship and have any chance. While they should do fine in the side adventures, this just seems like the wrong setting for the group that you have.

 

As for Clans being easy or hard to play. I would have to say that it depends more on the Family/School axis then any one Clan. 

Crabs and Unicorns in general  tend to be easier for new players to play. Not because they don't follow the culture or the rules, but because they have trouble relating to them.

This to me emulates the issues that people new to L5R have with the Rokugan culture. It is a foreign culture that doesn't have much in common with Western culture.

It's easier to Play as the social outcast, when that's the way you feel.

 

 

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44 minutes ago, tenchi2a said:

3. The  Dragon Monk doesn't fit this adventure at all. The Topaz championship is a gempukku ceremony. The Dragon Monks don't have a gempukku ceremony in this sense.

We do not necessarily know that, honestly. We actually do not know how the new version of the Togashi monks operate, in relation to the Samurai / Monk dichotomy. All we know for the moment, based on the fiction The Rising Wave (https://images-cdn.fantasyflightgames.com/filer_public/04/b4/04b426b3-8ab0-4fbe-8215-ba1461e59f62/the_rising_wave.pdf), is that the Togashi family does rule the Dragon Clan, and that they take in foundlings at temples, and that their acolytes begin their training as children. If they hold status as samurai, it is not impossible that they would need to go through a gempukku like anyone else. They just would serve similar to shugenja as more religious / spiritual than a warrior capacity.

This would firmly separate the Togashi monks from the Brotherhood of Shinsei, however, which even if there are close ties between the orders, would be good for the setting.

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   I think it might actually be easier to get new players into the L5R mindset by excluding the clans that don't quite play by the rules.  I certainly hope they're offered as downloadable options, but I'm thinking of a lot of the folks I've gamed with.

   One of my guys would absolutely grab the Crab Bushi, and he would play him exactly like his Half-Orc Barbarian.  Another would grab the Scorpion Ninja, and he would play him exactly like his Halfling Rogue.  From there, I pretty much guarantee we end up with a Lion Paladin and a Phoenix Wizard.  Once you slide into that D&D mindset, it's going to be hard to crawl out.  A starter set is supposed to bring in completely new folks (including new GMs), so the handouts need to reflect the culture the players are diving into.  

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 Introducing new players to Rokugan from my experience as a GM has been very difficult. The players love the game system of 4th but the lore and setting, they have found it very intimidating and alien. At least I can say they gave it a shot but for most, it was not there cup of tea. 

 

 

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While it's fun to argue the merits of each clan versus the Topaz Championship as we know it, I'm willing to reserve judgement until I have the box in hand and have read the adventure. This iteration of L5R is a fresh start for the setting, and the least I can do is to treat it as such rather than bring my baggage and expectations from a now defunct edition.

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9 hours ago, easl said:

I tend to think that in the L5R setting, the Scorpion are a pretty darn genre-important clan. Bringing out the scrolls. Then, later, opening them to cause the second day of thunder.  Bringing Shinjo back from the burning stands.  That sort of thing.

The timeline gets reset to pre-Scorpion Clan Coup. 

All the clans matter equally though. We all have our favourites, but every clan plays an equal part in making Rokugan the setting it is.

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So here's a silly question...

Provided that the rules have not radically changed from the Beta to the Beginner Box, what exactly is stopping folks from using the Beta rules (with their various updates) to make their own starting PCs of whatever Clan/School combination they'd prefer?

Probably wouldn't be too hard to reverse engineer the offered pregens to get a solid idea of how many points they were built on, and work from there to build whatever sort of PC you'd prefer to play.  I've done this for each of the Star Wars beginner box pre-gens, and myself and other GMs have run those adventures using PCs generated from the full rules for each line (or more commonly mixing and matching from the three product lines) with the adventures in question working just fine.

Personally, I'd have liked to see a Crane Duelist amongst the pre-gens, but again unless it turns out that the rules have undergone a very radical change from the Beta information, nothing's stopping me from making a Crane Duelist as my character for this adventure.

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Probably because a crane duellist would have much more chances to win, if the Iaijutsu tournament followed the same rules (AFAIR, there was extra points for each Iaijutsu match won) and FFG doesn't want people think the game is biased/unbalanced :)

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1 hour ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

So here's a silly question...

No such thing.

Quote

Provided that the rules have not radically changed from the Beta to the Beginner Box, what exactly is stopping folks from using the Beta rules (with their various updates) to make their own starting PCs of whatever Clan/School combination they'd prefer?

While it could work there is the issues that the new game doesn't (unless they changed it from the beta) use a point system. It uses a fill in the blanks character creation system. So unless there where no changes from beta to print, you are looking at the possibility that the stats will not line-up. So you may be over-powered or gimping yourself.

Quote

Probably wouldn't be too hard to reverse engineer the offered pregens to get a solid idea of how many points they were built on, and work from there to build whatever sort of PC you'd prefer to play.  I've done this for each of the Star Wars beginner box pre-gens, and myself and other GMs have run those adventures using PCs generated from the full rules for each line (or more commonly mixing and matching from the three product lines) with the adventures in question working just fine.

It would be worth a try if you can figure out the brakedown.

Quote

Personally, I'd have liked to see a Crane Duelist amongst the pre-gens, but again unless it turns out that the rules have undergone a very radical change from the Beta information, nothing's stopping me from making a Crane Duelist as my character for this adventure.

I would have to agree with Nitenman, they would be overpowered in the Topaz Championship without some other dueling clans to counterbalance them(Dragon, Scorpion, or Phoenix).

Edited by tenchi2a

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1 hour ago, Nitenman said:

Probably because a crane duellist would have much more chances to win, if the Iaijutsu tournament followed the same rules (AFAIR, there was extra points for each Iaijutsu match won) and FFG doesn't want people think the game is biased/unbalanced :)

The first edition version has it so the winner of the iaijutsu challenge becomes the Topaz Champion. The other events determine whether you succeeded your gempukku and are allowed to enter the iaijutsu tournament, they don’t help winning the championship. Just to put it in a historical perspective. ;) 

On the other hand, it’s kind of silly to use a module that culminates in an iaijutsu tournament (even if the module isn’t about the tournament itself), set in a society that places inordinate importance on iaijutsu, and not have any of the PCs be a skilled duelist. Which is effectively the same situation as having a Crane duelist, even if it’s presumably the Lion with a modicum of expertise. 

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2 hours ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

So here's a silly question...

Provided that the rules have not radically changed from the Beta to the Beginner Box, what exactly is stopping folks from using the Beta rules (with their various updates) to make their own starting PCs of whatever Clan/School combination they'd prefer?

I second to Tenchi's "no such thing" as to your first part: come and ask all the questions, please!

For me, it's not that I couldn't create characters to offer for the scenario, but the physical goods that they've put a $40 price tag on. If I were to be running a new game at a con or something, and offered it as a 4-player game, the four players arrive. I offer them either one of the admittedly-gorgeous character folios or this other one I wrote out on boring paper. That's my issue with it.

If I could get just the adventure, separate from the character folios, I'd buy that for $5-15, depending on whether it would be PDF or physical, and then the rulebook itself.

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9 hours ago, Hida Jitenno said:

For me, it's not that I couldn't create characters to offer for the scenario, but the physical goods that they've put a $40 price tag on. If I were to be running a new game at a con or something, and offered it as a 4-player game, the four players arrive. I offer them either one of the admittedly-gorgeous character folios or this other one I wrote out on boring paper. That's my issue with it.

If I could get just the adventure, separate from the character folios, I'd buy that for $5-15, depending on whether it would be PDF or physical, and then the rulebook itself.

Here's the thing with FFG, and it's been true with every board game they've put out.

With the exception of the cardboard boxes used for the Star Wars beginner sets, FFG doesn't skimp out on the materials used for their products.  More often than not, the goods that come in a boxed package are of pretty high quality, and with the Star Wars sets, there's a lot more than just the adventure, some dice, and the character folios.  There's also maps (pretty good ones too) as well as a collection of tokens for the PCs and for NPCs.  With their board games, it's been said that you truly do get what you pay for, and while the FFG board games are expensive, there's rarely a question of the quality of the product (barring of course the occasional goof on the production line making said items, but most of those are either minor or easily remedied by reaching out to FFG).

There's also the matter of artwork, of which we don't know how much was just recycled from the card game (something AEG was notorious for in the later editions of L5R) and how much is original art commissioned for this box set.  Knowing a couple folks that do art in the RPG industry on both sides of the coin (doing the art and hiring the art), it's not a cheap process, and FFG generally has a pretty solid reputation of not trying to screw over their artists on pay; they may not always pay top dollar, but they don't skimp either, especially if it's an artist they've got a good working relationship with or one that they want to establish such a relationship with.

So where some other companies may skimp on the quality of goods or art to bring the price point down, FFG generally doesn't.

Now you and others may not give two whits and simply want the adventure on the cheap, but you're also not the only customer that FFG is hoping to sell products to.  They're also hoping to snag folks that have little or no previous experience with the setting or game, and shallow/superficial it might be, folks are going to be drawn to good quality products.  It's a strategy that's worked in the past with the Star Wars boxes, though the price point was a bit lower ($30 instead of $40).  We also don't know the full level of extras (number of maps and width of supplementary rulebook) in the L5R box.  While the Star Wars boxes were written with the notion that you'd need to buy the the full rulebook to make your own characters, and that the pre-gens in the SW boxes are inherently limited in their progression.  We don't really know if the L5R pre-gens will be similar limited, or if they'll be able to advance as per the actual rules.

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13 hours ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

Provided that the rules have not radically changed from the Beta to the Beginner Box, what exactly is stopping folks from using the Beta rules (with their various updates) to make their own starting PCs of whatever Clan/School combination they'd prefer?

The beta also didn't have the traditional 3-4 schools per clan, it has 2. Leaving each clan with a gap. Crab courtier? You're out of luck.  Crane shugenja? Nope.  AWOL. And so on.

Obviously the starter kit can't contain the entire core rule book, so it isn't going to have every school.  Still, something like 2 of each 'type' (bushi, courtier, shugenja, oddball) with each major clan represented would give a good range of options.  And while yes, 4 players and a GM is about average, I'd hate to be told "there's four of you, and four characters...figure out who gets which."  That's pretty constrictive. 

Edited by easl

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10 hours ago, easl said:

The beta also didn't have the traditional 3-4 schools per clan, it has 2. Leaving each clan with a gap. Crab courtier? You're out of luck.  Crane shugenja? Nope.  AWOL. And so on.

True, but it still provides more character options than just the folios in the beginner box.  So while it may not allow you to make whatever character type you might prefer (for instance, there's been jack all on the Minor Clans, which are my preference amidst the various Clan choices even if AEG always made the mechanically inferior to the Great Clan school), the Beta rules still provide the options to make Scorpion, Crab, and/or Unicorn PCs, which has been one of the sticking points about the variety (or lack thereof) of the pre-gens included in the box.

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The only other viewpoint to point out is what all the Tournament contains. Its entirely possible the tournament is being rewritten into something like a "team" effort. Where you need X number of player types.

say round 1. is general bushi swordsmanship

round 2. courtier skills

round 3. magic

round 4. melee w/o swords

If it was being reworked a bit to be like this then it would make sense. a roll for each player to have a dedicated section and at the same time allow all the characters to be used evenly.

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5 minutes ago, Kaiba6798 said:

The only other viewpoint to point out is what all the Tournament contains. Its entirely possible the tournament is being rewritten into something like a "team" effort. Where you need X number of player types.

say round 1. is general bushi swordsmanship

round 2. courtier skills

round 3. magic

round 4. melee w/o swords

If it was being reworked a bit to be like this then it would make sense. a roll for each player to have a dedicated section and at the same time allow all the characters to be used evenly.

I'm actually going to guess that, based entirely on the adventures FFG has made in the past for Star Wars, that the tournament is only the opening act and that the adventure will diverge quickly.

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13 hours ago, easl said:

  And while yes, 4 players and a GM is about average, I'd hate to be told "there's four of you, and four characters...figure out who gets which."  That's pretty constrictive. 

This is a really good point, too. There's a big difference between "this adventure is written for four characters, and here are several options" and "here are the only four characters; rock, paper, scissors if two people want the same one."

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It's called a beginner game for a particular reason. It is designed to introduce newcomers to the system and/or role-playing in general. Character creation can be both time consuming and daunting, especially to people new to the game. The premade characters is a compromise.

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9 hours ago, Swordbreaker said:

It's called a beginner game for a particular reason. It is designed to introduce newcomers to the system and/or role-playing in general. Character creation can be both time consuming and daunting, especially to people new to the game. The premade characters is a compromise.

To your first sentence: I think the vast majority of L5R purchasers are going to be past L5R role players. If a $40 product isn't intended for them (i.e. not designed to let them have fun with it), then I think that's a big mistake.   I very much hope you're wrong, and that the basic game has been designed at least in some respects with past players of L5R in mind.  Want a $40 introduction to the new system? That makes sense, it's greatly different from any previous edition.  But a $40 introduction designed to appeal mainly to people who haven't played L5R before? I really hope not.

To your second statement, about char gen...I have no problem at all with the beginner box using pre-mades.  I just wish there were double the number or so.

Edited by easl

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