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M4S-_-T3R

Changes from Beta to look for

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After pretty extensive playtesting of the beta, I complied and emailed a list of changes I would like to see in the final product. For the most part the game was really good, however, the game had some major mechanical problems. FFG had made several changes during the beta but because they were focusing on different topics each update, it was difficult to ascertain if they had a solution to the problems.

The following are areas I am hoping are addressed in the final product. 

1. Outbursts and unmasking: The penalties for outbursts aka "strifing out" were almost irrelevant (maybe during some 'outlying' scenes it would be catastrophic).

  • Outbursts were player chosen at character creation and while they could carry some role play elements, they typically were irrelevant to the game. 
  • Unmasking cleared all strife (a full heal so to speak) and "the player and GM" chose an appropriate method: some of were losing a bit of honor(negligible), giving the next attack against you +1 success(also very minor impact), exposing a disadvantage/weakness(and losing honor). Basically no penalty.
  • Lastly, because the beta rules read the player had a say in the matter, this has potential to create conflict. An optional randomized table by scene or possibly making unmasking require something, rather than just instant cast free full heal with virtually no penalty.
  • Because of this, fire stance(on a successful roll, all dice with a strife add a bonus success) and equipment with the "wargear" trait is extremely overpowered.

2.  War gear: While I understand previous versions had little or no restriction on armor use, the game almost encourages any character with access to the best armor (lacquered I believe) to wear it as often as necessary. For those of you who don't know, all strife totals as a result of dice you roll are increased by 1 per piece of war gear you are using. So a crab bushi with 2 pieces of wargear(armor and weapon) adds to his strife totals he causes to himself or others.

  • Accumulating bonus strife is virtually a non factor(see above) and many enemies in the beta were "immune" to outbursts or had no mechanical effect.
  • Because of everyone having a static to hit number for Strike, mitigation becomes extremely valuable. This was partially addressed(which I like) with the new critical hit table damaging armor, but until there is a requirement/penalty to use it, and strife becomes meaningful it will remain overpowered.

3. Advantages and Disadvantages: One of the most enjoyable parts of character creation in previous editions was advantages and disadvantages. In the beta, most of these are all the same but simply apply to different situations. This puts the burden on players and GM to deploy them in the game.

  • Makes the GMs job much more difficult tracking every characters Adv/disadv and employing them in a fair and constructive way.
  • My players either completely forgot about, had no interest, or constantly argued for using advantages on every roll.
  • Severely less interesting character creation/creation economy as a player cannot take on disadvantages in exchange for better traits/rings/skills or more advantages.

4. Repairing weapons and armor: After the update to the critical hit table, repairing weapons and armor became invaluable.

  • While myself, and most GMs can easily implement requirements for various rolls, this should have clearly defined parameters because it will be an absolutely essential skill to most groups. Sure repairs can be done in lands of your Lord and perhaps your clan at request, or requested/purchased in other lands(no price listed). But because of the necessity many players will want this skill, and defining this is easy, and more importantly, avoids another potential conflict.

5. No limit Spellcasting: Currently in beta rules spell casters had no limit to spellcasting.

  • While I would assume this will be added in the full rules, it is still a major concern.
  • Kihos and some spells are limited by how many can be active at any given moment. (Strike as earth, Strike as fire, katana of fire etc.)

6. Strife outbursts for creatures/monsters/enemies: In the current rules every monster/enemy should fire stance every round(maybe air if they are front line, or water if they need extra movement).

  • Trait for monsters immune to psychology and thus do not take strife.
  • Special outbursts for enemies that have mechanical importance, perhaps making them easier to defeat(expose a weakness, berserk, flee), changing stats(morale penalty, enrage), unpredictable; the possibilities are endless and not only make encounters feel fair and real but also reward different character builds/strategies against different encounters.
  • Another item that seems obviously left out, hopefully on purpose. Again, I would assume this would be addressed in the full rules

7. Duels: duels saw a lot of changes through beta. This is a major area players are hoping is done well.

  • In a gaming group, a duel between 2 characters shouldn't take 1+ real life hours to complete.  There was a strife per round effect that was added to put a timer on duels so it will be interesting to see what makes the final cut.
  • The critical hit update really helped with the duel issues, but heavy armor is still broken in duels. While many formal duels may not allow or frown upon any type of armor (honor loss), if it were me I'd take almost any honor loss because the benefit is so great. Again, this may need clearly defined mechanics to avoid conflicts.
  • Iajutsu offered no advantage in dueling at first. This was addressed later by altering the rules of when a weapon was actually drawn; initially it was the assessment then later changed. It will be interesting to see the final rules on drawing a weapon and if Iajutsu is worth investing points into.

8. Mass combat: the beta rules for mass combat were interesting, but incomplete. 

  • This was something that was purposely left out as it was likely in development.
  • Something to watch for in the new book: Does FFG add a fleshed out system, or leave it bare bones for a commercial product in the future?
  • Will the system be logical and easy to implement? How will it compare to heroic opportunities and rolling on engagement tables? I am really excited to see what they do with this and hoping they can deliver both a player focused and "command" focused approach.

9. Skills: The beta grouped skills in broad categories but expanded with an optional rule for more detailed skills. I liked the idea that certain campaigns won't need to breakout each category, but some cleanup needs to be done here.

  • It appears(hoping) this was only to minimize page content of the beta.
  • Balancing and reasons for investing in different skills (Iajutsu is the primary example)
  • Clearly define that approaches are to be determined by the gm after the player describes their action. This is for players who opt to game the system rather than describe or role play what their character does. The game is much more enjoyable (for everyone) when players do not focus on the mechanics of the game.

These were my major issues with the game, some of them just left out purposely, others seemed to be in development. Hopefully the core book has at least attempted to solve these issues, but worst case scenario some house rules can be laid out before character creation.

Let me know what you guys think!

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A lot of feedback, thanks for sharing!

The one thing I think I would address is regarding armor in duels, and the honor loss you would happily take for the advantage it provides: if the GM even allows it. It's not like you're going to be sneaky enough to hide lacquered armor underneath your kimono going into the duel. You show up in armor, you've essentially forfeited the duel.

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Strongly disagree about advantages and disadvantages. I've played a few games that take this approach and think it's a lot better than the old WoD style merits/flaws. I also don't think spells per day should be brought back. To any RP. Ever. Please let this archaic thing die.
As for the Wargear it's supposed to note what is culturally unacceptable to wear in public. You shouldn't be letting your players just saunter around the bonsai garden in full armor and a spiked club over the shoulder, but if they do it has a mechanic to represent the tension and dirty looks they will receive.

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1 hour ago, llamaman88 said:

Strongly disagree about advantages and disadvantages. I've played a few games that take this approach and think it's a lot better than the old WoD style merits/flaws. I also don't think spells per day should be brought back. To any RP. Ever. Please let this archaic thing die.
As for the Wargear it's supposed to note what is culturally unacceptable to wear in public. You shouldn't be letting your players just saunter around the bonsai garden in full armor and a spiked club over the shoulder, but if they do it has a mechanic to represent the tension and dirty looks they will receive.

I agree that I enjoy the advantage disadvantage style that encourages players and GMs to work them into the game. But I also all them having the same effect with different triggers was a little boring. Maybe they're just not the min/max system people are used too. Anyway if they nail strife economy, which at its core i think is a neat system, I think they'll be fine.

Spells don't need to be Vancian, I don't think anyone wants that, but some penalties for slinging too many spells doesn't seem unreasonable.

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I like that they're a little boring because it means you can take what you want, and not be forced into Strength of the Earth and Large yadda yadda because you're a bushi. I don't feel those added anything flavorful to the game because some were so mechanically superior that you couldn't afford to not take them. And then you were encouraged to take the easiest disadvantages to cope with rather than the most fun to play out.

As for limits on spells, I just don't see what that brings to the game. Casting comes with the risk of strife, so there's a small risk to spamming them. But if players sit there casually spamming spell after spell to abuse the rules, tell them no.

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6 hours ago, llamaman88 said:

I like that they're a little boring because it means you can take what you want, and not be forced into Strength of the Earth and Large yadda yadda because you're a bushi. I don't feel those added anything flavorful to the game because some were so mechanically superior that you couldn't afford to not take them. And then you were encouraged to take the easiest disadvantages to cope with rather than the most fun to play out.

2

To be acutely honest here the Beta advantages/disadvantages were also mechanically imbalanced like all ****, in my opinion, a lot more than the previous ones. Things like Sixth Sense and Playfulness were straight-out game breaking. Yeah, I want flavorful and balanced (balanced for flavor, no less!) Advantages and Disadvantages, and not settle for a shallow compromise. 

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You'd know better than me, haven't had a chance to do more than read. But I played with a similar mechanic in Marvel Heroic, Firefly and in Smallville which I'm told are similar to aspects in fate. Some people could justify every roll getting to use them, others were really niche. I found that if I felt my players were abusing them I'd just say no, and if they struggled to come up id help them or let them swap it out. Likely my approach here as well. 

 

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On 7/13/2018 at 1:44 AM, M4S-_-T3R said:

5. No limit Spellcasting: Currently in beta rules spell casters had no limit to spellcasting.

1

Technically, Spiritual Backlashes are supposed to be the limit on spellcasting. It should be like Perils of the Warp from Warhammer 40k: you importune the spirits too much and they will mess you up. The problem is that Spiritual Backlashes range from 'meh' to 'this is actually really-really good', so they ain't limiting a whole lot. 

We tried a more punishing ruling for Spiritual Backlashes, and believe me, our shugenja became a lot more circumspect with Invocations after he Backlash'd our archer into a ferocious melee (this wasn't that bad) and drained our Shiba Bushi from all his Void Points in the most critical moment (this was). 

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On 7/13/2018 at 1:44 AM, M4S-_-T3R said:
  • Clearly define that approaches are to be determined by the gm after the player describes their action. This is for players who opt to game the system rather than describe or role play what their character does. The game is much more enjoyable (for everyone) when players do not focus on the mechanics of the game.
 

I'm gonna comment on this too because my final opinion for the 5R5 Skill mechanics is shaping up lately. 

Overall, I think the system, as intended, does not allow a whole lot of gaming the system. Emphasis is on 'as intended'. As of now, the Beta misses one key explanation: namely, that using different Approaches will not net you the same outcome and the GM must practice quite a leeway for interpreting success and failure in regard of the Approach being used. It must be entirely possible to "pick the wrong Approach" and have your character mess up or whiff their intent despite succeeding on the Skill Check. Like, they succeed, just not the right way because they approached the problem all wrong. Examples include using Recall to remember where another character put the damning evidence - the check is a success, the character remembers the exact place, but the evidence has been dislocated since then and is no longer there (should have used Survey or Sense); or using Charm to slip past a guard, where you might do the slipping but the guard will surely remember the guy who charmed her to get through. 

Sadly, this isn't explained too well despite being mentioned and even having crunch (the rule for changing the TN depending on the Ring being used). It also doesn't help that as of now, Approaches manage a little too much and there can be quite a lot of confusion about how Skills and Approaches interact. It really needs you to "set your mind for it", so to speak, that in turn looks like the running design philosophy behind most of the 5R5 rules :P .

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18 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

It must be entirely possible to "pick the wrong Approach" and have your character mess up or whiff their intent despite succeeding on the Skill Check. Like, they succeed, just not the right way because they approached the problem all wrong. Examples include using Recall to remember where another character put the damning evidence - the check is a success, the character remembers the exact place, but the evidence has been dislocated since then and is no longer there (should have used Survey or Sense); or using Charm to slip past a guard, where you might do the slipping but the guard will surely remember the guy who charmed her to get through. 

I'm not sure that's a case of 'the wrong approach' but I get what you mean.

To me, if you pick 'the wrong' approach, it can and should vary (wildly) the TN 'difficulty', but if you succeed, you succeed (if it's possible to do so).

However, you succeed at the specific thing that the check is intended to achieve. I [do this] whilst [this happens] and [other people react like this] isn't the result of a single check.

Taking the example of the guard - Charm to schmoose your way past a guard is all well and good - it's a sensible idea (depending on the demeanour of the guard) and success will get you into the town. Getting into the town and her not remembering you, on the other hand, is not part of the deal - this is 'succeed more subtly' and pretty much spot on for the expenditure of one or more Air opportunities. Which is, of course, harder, because Charm is a Water approach, so being unremarkable whilst flirting your backside off costs twice as many opportunities as coming up with a convincing lie (Trick/Air).

 

On ‎7‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 3:34 PM, AtoMaki said:

Things like Sixth Sense and Playfulness were straight-out game breaking. Yeah, I want flavorful and balanced (balanced for flavor, no less!) Advantages and Disadvantages, and not settle for a shallow compromise. 

Why those two specifically? I've found the advantages or disadvantages being all equal a good thing precisely because it means it's within the GMs control how often they trigger, and they all trigger to exactly the same effect. My only (initial) problem was the animal bond, because in the initial version it gave you the animal (and some of them were surprisingly powerful assets).

On ‎7‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 2:05 AM, Hida Jitenno said:

The one thing I think I would address is regarding armor in duels, and the honor loss you would happily take for the advantage it provides: if the GM even allows it. It's not like you're going to be sneaky enough to hide lacquered armor underneath your kimono going into the duel. You show up in armor, you've essentially forfeited the duel.

This. A warriors duel, or a clash on a battlefield, or even a private matter with no witnesses, and there is little reason not to bring the biggest, nastiest stick you can find and turn up wrapped in tin. But, how often that's an option is far more a question for setting, and GM, and...frankly a job for your accompanying courtiers. It's not just a question of an honour hit; if you turn up in full plate-and-mempo for an iaijutsu duel to settle a matter of political policy, and the adjudicator - who happens to be the provincial daimyo whose court is debating the issue - tells you 'take that armour off and fight appropriately', what are you going to do? Tell him to get stuffed? I suggest the consequences of that are far worse than losing the duel.

 

On ‎7‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 12:44 AM, M4S-_-T3R said:
  • Unmasking cleared all strife (a full heal so to speak) and "the player and GM" chose an appropriate method: some of were losing a bit of honor(negligible), giving the next attack against you +1 success(also very minor impact), exposing a disadvantage/weakness(and losing honor). Basically no penalty.
  • Lastly, because the beta rules read the player had a say in the matter, this has potential to create conflict. An optional randomized table by scene or possibly making unmasking require something, rather than just instant cast free full heal with virtually no penalty.
  • Because of this, fire stance(on a successful roll, all dice with a strife add a bonus success) and equipment with the "wargear" trait is extremely overpowered.

Remember you can only unmask once per scene. After that, if you reach your composure limit again, you're stuck compromised with your ability to throw ring dice effectively massively curtailed.

Plus, Finishing blows. Which, incidentally, ignore armour, so wargear doesn't help.

On ‎7‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 12:44 AM, M4S-_-T3R said:

While myself, and most GMs can easily implement requirements for various rolls, this should have clearly defined parameters because it will be an absolutely essential skill to most groups. Sure repairs can be done in lands of your Lord and perhaps your clan at request, or requested/purchased in other lands(no price listed). But because of the necessity many players will want this skill, and defining this is easy, and more importantly, avoids another potential conflict.

Agreed on this. Because weapon repair adds the potential to use opportunities to add qualities to the weapon, you shouldn't be allowed to take a totally undamaged, perfectly battle ready weapon and sit there 'repairing' it until there's a 'ding' sound and the 'achievement unlocked' badge floats up above your head.

Spending time and effort maintaining the weapon is one thing, (and it is a defined time-and-effort task) but at the same time the 'meaningless TN0 check' rule is something the GM needs to be prepared to invoke where relevant.

Sample smithing checks are outlined in the Beta, and - because of the way the rules work - anyone can perform smithing checks, even if they don't have the skill per se, especially with assistance.

 

On ‎7‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 12:44 AM, M4S-_-T3R said:

9. Skills: The beta grouped skills in broad categories but expanded with an optional rule for more detailed skills. I liked the idea that certain campaigns won't need to breakout each category, but some cleanup needs to be done here.

  • It appears(hoping) this was only to minimize page content of the beta.
  • Balancing and reasons for investing in different skills (Iajutsu is the primary example)
  • Clearly define that approaches are to be determined by the gm after the player describes their action. This is for players who opt to game the system rather than describe or role play what their character does. The game is much more enjoyable (for everyone) when players do not focus on the mechanics of the game.

I agree on this part. For some campaigns (especially anything involving the Unicorn!) the idea that 'horsemanship' is just a subset of survival verges on the ridiculous but if the players are playing a courtly campaign and virtually never leaving the imperial palace, who the heck cares? Breaking out subskills that matter seems like a good idea.

On ‎7‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 12:44 AM, M4S-_-T3R said:

6. Strife outbursts for creatures/monsters/enemies: In the current rules every monster/enemy should fire stance every round(maybe air if they are front line, or water if they need extra movement).

  • Trait for monsters immune to psychology and thus do not take strife.
  • Special outbursts for enemies that have mechanical importance, perhaps making them easier to defeat(expose a weakness, berserk, flee), changing stats(morale penalty, enrage), unpredictable; the possibilities are endless and not only make encounters feel fair and real but also reward different character builds/strategies against different encounters. 
  • Another item that seems obviously left out, hopefully on purpose. Again, I would assume this would be addressed in the full rules 

I get why important opponents should be using stances, but I'm not sure why minions were given the opportunity to use stances. Frankly it's more trouble than its worth to bother about passive benefits of specific stances for goblin #14 in the midst of a large-scale skirmish.

On ‎7‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 12:44 AM, M4S-_-T3R said:

8. Mass combat: the beta rules for mass combat were interesting, but incomplete. 

  • This was something that was purposely left out as it was likely in development.
  • Something to watch for in the new book: Does FFG add a fleshed out system, or leave it bare bones for a commercial product in the future?
  • Will the system be logical and easy to implement? How will it compare to heroic opportunities and rolling on engagement tables? I am really excited to see what they do with this and hoping they can deliver both a player focused and "command" focused approach.

It had some good ideas, but also some clear illogical elements - panic being essentially meaningless, the damage to destroy a cohort being 1/4 of the army's attrition total whether the army had 2 cohorts or 6, clashes being one round of a duel despite the mass battle turn being an hour or more. With 1-roll-duels the latter issue at least goes away.

On ‎7‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 12:44 AM, M4S-_-T3R said:

5. No limit Spellcasting: Currently in beta rules spell casters had no limit to spellcasting.

  • While I would assume this will be added in the full rules, it is still a major concern.
  • Kihos and some spells are limited by how many can be active at any given moment. (Strike as earth, Strike as fire, katana of fire etc.)

I don't mind continuous spellcasting provided it's balanced with other effects by non-spellcasters. Importune invocations are less of an issue because of the mandate for an acceptable offering. If you don't have anything to offer, tough.

Spiritual Backlash did get a lot scarier in the beta updates - coming in at 3 wounds plus the negative effects (like accidentally nova-ing a fire invocation). Whether it deserves to get scarier still.....I'd leave that to individual player judgement.

Certainly the Maho version of spiritual backlash is really scary:

"When a mahō-tsukai generates 3 or more [strife] results on kept dice while performing a mahō technique, the mahō-tsukai suffers a critical strike with severity equal to two times the number of their rings with the Shadowlands Taint disadvantage attached. Then, the GM assigns the Shadowlands Taint disadvantage to one of the mahō-tsukai’s rings that does not already have this disadvantage attached."

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:
On 7/12/2018 at 7:44 PM, M4S-_-T3R said:

8. Mass combat: the beta rules for mass combat were interesting, but incomplete. 

  • This was something that was purposely left out as it was likely in development.
  • Something to watch for in the new book: Does FFG add a fleshed out system, or leave it bare bones for a commercial product in the future?
  • Will the system be logical and easy to implement? How will it compare to heroic opportunities and rolling on engagement tables? I am really excited to see what they do with this and hoping they can deliver both a player focused and "command" focused approach.

It had some good ideas, but also some clear illogical elements - panic being essentially meaningless, the damage to destroy a cohort being 1/4 of the army's attrition total whether the army had 2 cohorts or 6, clashes being one round of a duel despite the mass battle turn being an hour or more. With 1-roll-duels the latter issue at least goes away.

Regarding mass combat: I don't expect the new rules will include a separate, thorough mass combat module.  Whatever FFG includes will probably have to be simple and streamlined enough that you can role-play a mass combat encounter without a map and miniatures.  If a set piece battle is called for, however, I may use something similar to what Matt Colville is preparing for D&D: www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPRJDgTkXMI

Here is a PDF of a draft of the rules he is preparing: http://squaremans.com/War.pdf.  It's written in terms of d20s and D&D stuff, but there are ideas in there that you could convert and borrow.  I particularly like the idea that mass combat units each have a d6 or some other counter next to them that indicates the unit's strength.  Successful attacks against the unit reduce the number shown on the counter.  Once a unit's strength is halved, the unit also has to make morale checks after being attacked.  If the unit fails the morale check, it breaks and flees the battle.  If the strength counter ever reaches 0, the unit is wiped out.  You could fiddle with the numbers based on the units involved.  I imagine a unit of peasant levies would have to make morale checks at some higher threshold, while Lion clan Deathseekers would fight to the last samurai.  Maybe big, scary oni cause defending units to make morale checks earlier than they would otherwise, but a rallying speech by a player character could counter that.

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

To me, if you pick 'the wrong' approach, it can and should vary (wildly) the TN 'difficulty', but if you succeed, you succeed (if it's possible to do so).

Yeah, that's the crunch I was referring to. But it is "just" crunch and it kinda hangs in the air because it is tied to Rings rather than Approaches for some reason. They should have cleared this one up better because the Skill / Approach system is not as straightforward as one "with the mind" thinks it is.

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Why those two specifically?

Sixth Sense gives away too much info and breaks any plot with supernatural infiltrators (they ain't infiltrating anymore once the PC shows up). Playfulness allows you to burn through Strife like jet fuel by quipping at people... nuff said. 

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14 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

Yeah, that's the crunch I was referring to. But it is "just" crunch and it kinda hangs in the air because it is tied to Rings rather than Approaches for some reason. They should have cleared this one up better because the Skill / Approach system is not as straightforward as one "with the mind" thinks it is.

Agreed. The system is nice and elegant, but it could do with being phrased better; because it needs to be made clear it starts with you proposing your action and the GM defining what approach (and hence ring) that is - or at least, if the players try to push an approach which clearly shouldn't work, it means the TN should (logically) go through the roof, which means trying to 'fish' for your best ring whether it's appropriate to a given situation or not should be a two-edged sword at best.

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Sixth Sense gives away too much info and breaks any plot with supernatural infiltrators (they ain't infiltrating anymore once the PC shows up).

The level of information given is at the GM's discretion, though. The information that a negatively-inclined supernatural presence is involved is good (and yes, it is something the GM has to allow for), but that's literally the sum total of information they get; a star wars esque "I have a bad feeling about this". It doesn't necessarily let them locate it, or identify it, without further rituals/invocations/etc.

Plus, it's a great hook to pull the character around on if needs be. Pretty much wherever there's enough going on to warrant a L5R session, there's going to be either a malign spiritual presence or a nominally benevolent one that's disturbed by goings-on.

14 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

Playfulness allows you to burn through Strife like jet fuel by quipping at people... nuff said.

No, it doesn't - this one I disagree with you on. At least, it's not blanket permission.

It allows you to remove strife after a check "to gently mock or chide someone". The TN0 rule still applies, which means the GM still has the final say on whether you're doing something difficult and/or narratively significant enough (i.e. there are real and meaningful negative consequences to failing the check like offending someone important*) to warrant a check in the first place. You can't un-compromise yourself by sitting in the corner whispering 'yo mamma' puns to the rest of the PCs for ten minutes.

 

* yes, the trait says that "When you say something untoward to someone of lower or equal status, they write it off as your playful nature instead of being significantly angered or saddened by it" - that is 'improper', not out-and-out 'rude' - it is not a blanket get-out clause against offending the listener no matter what you do.

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One thing I'd like to see changed, and it's a minor thing... why the heck are combat skills marked as Martial: Melee/Unarmed/Ranged, when no other skill uses the same format? Just remove 'Martial:' or something like that. It just annoys me :P

 

That said, I would like to see another skill used for iai instead of melee.. I enjoyed having different skills for weapons and stuff in 4E, and while I appreciate not having polerams/spears/heavy weapons etc.... for simplicity, I would prefer iai to be separate.

 

That said, I'll be curious if duel format could be used for other stuff, like social duel... aka Sadane competition :D

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6 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

At least, it's not blanket permission.

I'm not saying that t doesn't require effort, but out of all the Disadvantages it requires by far the least amount of investment for the same return. Others have to (meaningfully and successfully) tend flowers or wander to strange new places while you can just sit where you are and roll Highest Skill + Water to quip at someone in Highest Skill Topic and burn Strife if you Succeed, burn Strife if you have Opportunities, burn Strife all the way every day and still be 100% in character and not in the way of the plot by the slightest. 

This gets slightly worse in Duels where you can Use Skill and quip your opponent into Finishing Blow. Tho Provocation does this better and Gossip does this in a funnier way.

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The level of information given is at the GM's discretion, though.

It is not. The information is actually quite specific, there is not a whole lot to do about it. It is, like, a shapeshifter or a shadowspawn will never EVER be able to really hide from the character and said character gets free insight into their basic intention too. 

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The system is nice and elegant, but it could do with being phrased better; because it needs to be made clear it starts with you proposing your action and the GM defining what approach (and hence ring) that is

The GM should define one or more Skill Group(s) from which the player can pick an Approach, and not straight-out an Approach. That's kinda counter-intuitive in my opinion and there is a whole Any Opportunity to help the player find the best Approach.

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8 hours ago, Horvagab said:

I'll be curious if duel format could be used for other stuff, like social duel... aka Sadane competition :D

I'd be amazed if an early sourcebook doesn't include more fleshed out rules for the shujenga duels -theres a piece of FFG fiction showing one published recently.

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Thanks for the replies! Of course we all have our own experiences/opinion/perspectives on this.

On ‎7‎/‎12‎/‎2018 at 6:05 PM, Hida Jitenno said:

 You show up in armor, you've essentially forfeited the duel.

Great point, and many situations are similar to this. But mechanically it is really strong.

 

On ‎7‎/‎12‎/‎2018 at 7:58 PM, llamaman88 said:

As for the Wargear it's supposed to note what is culturally unacceptable to wear in public. You shouldn't be letting your players just saunter around the bonsai garden in full armor and a spiked club over the shoulder, but if they do it has a mechanic to represent the tension and dirty looks they will receive.

Absolutely true. But, to understand what I am getting at you need to understand how power gamers will exploit this. While some groups have zero power gamers, the mechanics of games need to be designed to prevent abuse of mechanics. L5R is particularly prone to this issue because of such heavy cultural restrictions and the design should be to minimize conflict between rules/players/GM thus increasing "ease of play".

 

On ‎7‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 12:52 AM, llamaman88 said:

I like that they're a little boring because it means you can take what you want, and not be forced into Strength of the Earth and Large yadda yadda because you're a bushi. I don't feel those added anything flavorful to the game because some were so mechanically superior that you couldn't afford to not take them. And then you were encouraged to take the easiest disadvantages to cope with rather than the most fun to play out.

This was the major issue with the previous format. While it is debatable if it could ever be solved (maybe random disadvantages, balance fixes), I would still prefer it over the beta adv/dis, for me it was a virtually dead feature of the game and adds nothing to character generation. One of my major peeves.

 

On ‎7‎/‎14‎/‎2018 at 1:51 AM, AtoMaki said:

We tried a more punishing ruling for Spiritual Backlashes, and believe me, our shugenja became a lot more circumspect with Invocations after he Backlash'd our archer into a ferocious melee (this wasn't that bad) and drained our Shiba Bushi from all his Void Points in the most critical moment (this was). 

An interesting idea.  There should be some mechanic besides the GM being forced to step in and say "You can't do that, because I said no, and I am the GM" which most players absolutely hate, puts a bad spin on the game, and should be avoided at all costs.

I really like your interpretation of success but not ideal approach. I think this is what the game intended as well but didn't realize and/or communicate it effectively. It doesn't just increase TN for ring fishing, but you could end up with a slightly different result. Well said.

On ‎7‎/‎16‎/‎2018 at 4:03 AM, Magnus Grendel said:

It had some good ideas, but also some clear illogical elements - panic being essentially meaningless, the damage to destroy a cohort being 1/4 of the army's attrition total whether the army had 2 cohorts or 6, clashes being one round of a duel despite the mass battle turn being an hour or more. 

I actually used your ideas and created a battle with different units not listed in the beta rules.  I also created a table for heroic opportunities, a player could roll on the table instead of taking an action for his turn in the combat. While my group opted to switch to DnD 5e before we finished the combat, it definitely seemed better, but without finishing I can't say much more.

I had a lot of fun with the old mass combat rules from 1E with engagement levels, 1 battle roll, and heroic opportunities. Simple and effective.

A friend of mine has the book on preorder so I will check it out when he gets it. 

 

Edited by M4S-_-T3R

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On 7/12/2018 at 4:44 PM, M4S-_-T3R said:

No limit Spellcasting: Currently in beta rules spell casters had no limit to spellcasting.

  •  While I would assume this will be added in the full rules, it is still a major concern.
  • Kihos and some spells are limited by how many can be active at any given moment. (Strike as earth, Strike as fire, katana of fire etc.)

 

Why should spell casting be limited? Limiting shugenjas and monks but not bushis and courtiers seems unfair. 

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While these statements are true most of the time, they are not universally true for all situations.

While the Samurai of Rokugan are for the most part honorable and traditional, there is an underling current of practicality in their daily life.

For example:

On 7/12/2018 at 6:05 PM, Hida Jitenno said:

The one thing I think I would address is regarding armor in duels, and the honor loss you would happily take for the advantage it provides: if the GM even allows it. It's not like you're going to be sneaky enough to hide lacquered armor underneath your kimono going into the duel. You show up in armor, you've essentially forfeited the duel.

The truth is that contrary to popular belief, the majority of duels are going to be spur of the moment battlefield duels. You would not take the time to strip out of your armor for this, and then take the time to put it back on during the fighting.

Formal duels are much rarer, because of the time it take to organizes and gain the permissions needed for them.

So, duels in medium and heavy armor will not be as rare as you would think. 

7 hours ago, M4S-_-T3R said:
  On 7/12/2018 at 7:58 PM, llamaman88 said:

As for the Wargear it's supposed to note what is culturally unacceptable to wear in public. You shouldn't be letting your players just saunter around the bonsai garden in full armor and a spiked club over the shoulder, but if they do it has a mechanic to represent the tension and dirty looks they will receive.

This again is highly subjective in Rokugan Culture depending on the current situation.

If the players are currently acting as a garrison force in the town or castle, then it would be appropriate for them to be in armor as they are acting in a military capacity that make the wearing of armor proper.

The point is that while it is true that there are times that it is not appropriate to wear armor in public the opposite is also true.

5 hours ago, Titanium Mage said:

Why should spell casting be limited? Limiting shugenjas and monks but not bushis and courtiers seems unfair. 

The limiting of spell casting per day is a balancing factor in most games.

This is normal put i place due to the exponential growth of the power of spell-casters in most systems.

Where, if you limit the upper power of the spells they can cast, you can wined up limiting their overall usefulness with weaker spells.

limiting their casting and granting them high powered spells gives them the punch to keep up with other schools, but keeps them from becoming overpowered spell machine-guns if done right.

So the question is not if its unfair, but if the Devs balanced it correctly.

On 7/17/2018 at 9:43 AM, Magnus Grendel said:

I'd be amazed if an early sourcebook doesn't include more fleshed out rules for the shujenga duels -theres a piece of FFG fiction showing one published recently.

If the trend of L5R continues, it will probably be latter down the line that you see rules for Taryu-jiai as they are very uncommon.

On 7/17/2018 at 1:23 AM, Horvagab said:

One thing I'd like to see changed, and it's a minor thing... why the heck are combat skills marked as Martial: Melee/Unarmed/Ranged, when no other skill uses the same format? Just remove 'Martial:' or something like that. It just annoys me.

I would have to say that IMHO the Trait(Approach)/Skill system is the weakest part of this whole edition after the character generation (The reason I am giving this edition a hard pass).

I found the Approaches to be way to generic as to become almost meaningless at some points.

And the skills as presented seem to go back and forth from specific to general depending on the will of the writers.

Example: Martial: Melee/Unarmed/Ranged and Fitness.

Having training with a pike is not the same as having training with a sword but they are lumped together under Martial: Melee.

And being acrobatic in no way is the same as being stealthy yet they are lumped together under Fitness.

IMHO Trait(Approach) need to be more narrowly defined, because as it was presented in the Beta you could make a case for any approach on most skills

Example:

Martial: Melee

Air: I am attacking with Precision

Earth: I am attacking with Patience

Fire: I am attacking with Ferocity

Water: I am attacking with Power

All this is doing is diluting the pool and giving the players the chance to always pick their highest Ring to accomplish their goal. 

And the skills need to be expanded to as to be less generalized as a core rule and not an option.

As it currently stands IMHO the system allows for powergaming buy actually rewards players for power-loading and using one or two rings for everything.

Add to this the over generalization of skills and you have a powergamers dream come true.

But again this is IMHO.

 

 

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24 minutes ago, tenchi2a said:

While these statements are true most of the time, they are not universally true for all situations.

While the Samurai of Rokugan are for the most part honorable and traditional, there is an underling current of practicality in their daily life.

For example:

The truth is that contrary to popular belief, the majority of duels are going to be spur of the moment battlefield duels. You would not take the time to strip out of your armor for this, and then take the time to put it back on during the fighting.

Formal duels are much rarer, because of the time it take to organizes and gain the permissions needed for them.

So, duels in medium and heavy armor will not be as rare as you would think. 

 

I can agree with that, but then would you make your players suffer an honor loss for an on-battlefield duel where they wear the armor? The honor loss for armor in duels was the issue commented upon.

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2 minutes ago, Hida Jitenno said:

I can agree with that, but then would you make your players suffer an honor loss for an on-battlefield duel where they wear the armor? The honor loss for armor in duels was the issue commented upon.

No, since this is an excepted exception to the dueling rule I would not make my players suffer an honor loss for an on-battlefield duel where they wear the armor.

The rules for Honor loss in duels are presented in the generic "most of the time" format to me. 

And as such there is room for a GM to make a call based on the specific circumstances of the duel.

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Again no Samurai is going to take the time during a battle to remove his armor and wait for the opponent to remove theirs.

And neither will expect the other to do this so there would be no honor loss.

There is also no honor loss from battlefield duel due to not getting permission from your lord, as it is assumed you have his permission to die honorably in his name on the battlefield.

These are all just matters of practicality. No one expect you to remove your armor during a battle, and no one expect you do leave the battle to get you lords permission to duel in battle.

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3 hours ago, tenchi2a said:

The limiting of spell casting per day is a balancing factor in most games.

This is normal put i place due to the exponential growth of the power of spell-casters in most systems.

Where, if you limit the upper power of the spells they can cast, you can wined up limiting their overall usefulness with weaker spells.

limiting their casting and granting them high powered spells gives them the punch to keep up with other schools, but keeps them from becoming overpowered spell machine-guns if done right.

 So the question is not if its unfair, but if the Devs balanced it correctly.

True, however in this game shugenja already have a limiting factor in the form of spiritual backlash. No other character type have any limits put on their abilities so they can spam all they want. Putting a secondary restriction on shugenja would be completely unfair. In other games, casters can fall back on other skills where as in this game, not all shugenja do. Specifically Phoenix and Unicorn shugenja schools don’t get katas. Which means they will have to hit with melee or ranged attacks with no other benefit. This also means they have to have skills in martial arts which unicorn does get but Phoenix does not. If a Phoenix shugenja wants to train in martial arts, they don’t get to advance in their school since martial arts doesn’t count until rank 3. Phoenix shugenja, they will be pretty useless once they run out of spells. Lastly, if I’m not mistaken, shugenja usually don’t get their hands dirty when they can blast people with elemental fury. That’s kind of the whole point of being a shugenja. Why should they be limited in the one thing they are known for. If they limit shugenja in amount of invocations, they should limit every other character type as well.

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39 minutes ago, Titanium Mage said:

True, however in this game shugenja already have a limiting factor in the form of spiritual backlash. No other character type have any limits put on their abilities so they can spam all they want. Putting a secondary restriction on shugenja would be completely unfair. In other games, casters can fall back on other skills where as in this game, not all shugenja do. Specifically Phoenix and Unicorn shugenja schools don’t get katas. Which means they will have to hit with melee or ranged attacks with no other benefit. This also means they have to have skills in martial arts which unicorn does get but Phoenix does not. If a Phoenix shugenja wants to train in martial arts, they don’t get to advance in their school since martial arts doesn’t count until rank 3. Phoenix shugenja, they will be pretty useless once they run out of spells. Lastly, if I’m not mistaken, shugenja usually don’t get their hands dirty when they can blast people with elemental fury. That’s kind of the whole point of being a shugenja. Why should they be limited in the one thing they are known for. If they limit shugenja in amount of invocations, they should limit every other character type as well.

Did not get to far into the invocation (Spell) rules in this version, but most of what you seem to be saying is that either thay have perfectly balanced spells which I doubt, or they want Shugenja to be spell machine-guns from your "blast people with elemental fury" comment.

This just may be my view on shugenja, but they are supposed to be more priest than wizards. So the idea of them "blast people with elemental fury" seems a little out of place.

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20 minutes ago, tenchi2a said:

Did not get to far into the invocation (Spell) rules in this version, but most of what you seem to be saying is that either thay have perfectly balanced spells which I doubt, or they want Shugenja to be spell machine-guns from your "blast people with elemental fury" comment.

This just may be my view on shugenja, but they are supposed to be more priest than wizards. So the idea of them "blast people with elemental fury" seems a little out of place.

So, to you, they seem the type to cut people down with swords? Is this why shugenjas get a daisho set? Oh, they don’t,  they only get a wakizashi which all samurai do. Shugenja are priests who call upon the Kami to grant them miracles and powers, they are not mundane priests which the beta rules distinguish between, and Phoenix shugenja do indeed bring down elemental fury, it’s what they do when talking does not work. Heck they are ruled by a council of elemental masters. I didn’t say the spells were “perfectly balanced” I said that since no other class type ( Bushi, Monk, or courtier) has any restrictions of any kind in how many times they can use their abilities (kata, kiho, or shuji) and shugenjas already have spiritual backlash to worry about, putting an additional limit on their casting in which they would then have to use katas (which not all can learn because of school restrictions) or use the martial arts skill (which not all can because it is not part of their school requirements) would be unfair to shugenja player in general. If I wanted to use martial arts skills and katas I would play a bushi.

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