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M4S-_-T3R

Changes from Beta to look for

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Spells per day is boring, antiquated and unnecessary. If your players are "machine gun casting" it's probably a deeper issue than the rulebook.  Those sorts of players will abuse whatever rule FFG makes so I'm in favor of not adding rules that punish average players for what power-gaming player might do. But then I'm the kind of GM who's got no issue telling a player "no."

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5 hours ago, tenchi2a said:

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

Most of the rules are deliberately flexible - which is potentially powergamer-abusable - because they rely on the GM as a choke point to prevent aurochs-faeces shenanigans. Stuff like either slapping down or tagging with an appropriately ridiculous TN totally unworkable approaches where someone's 'fishing' for their best ring with no good justification, for example.

5 hours ago, tenchi2a said:

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.

I would never expect this; indeed to me it'd be ridiculous to ask for it; it's a battlefield, of course I'm not going to take my armour off. You could, for a 'duel', probably justify 'get off your horse to face an opponent on foot/use a blade not a bow' for the sake of honour, but that's about it.

But then, you have to seriously question why your opponent isn't wearing decent armour, given that he or she presumably turned up to a battlefield on purpose as well.

3 hours ago, Titanium Mage said:

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.

Very few of them feel too powerful anyway, and most of the ones that do go catastrophically wrong if you get backlash (the fire ranged-attack with spiritual backlash can potentially TPK your entire group!).

Most are relatively subtle 'blessing' abilities which seem more appropriate than 'Fireball +1'.

After all, the elemental weapon spells generate a nasty weapon but unless you've got the appropriate martial skills to swing it effectively once you've summoned it, it's not that great (it basically means 'shujenga stuck in melee doesn't get their backside kicked), and yes, magic healing or extra movement, but are they really that much better than a character who's racked up medicine and fitness skills with the same amount of XP? It never really seems that way in the games we've played.

Yes, for example, our Shujenga managed to do an importune invocation and cover a surprise attack with mists, but then the shosuro ninja was the one doing air/fitness checks to actually sneak up and shiv the sentrys, and if either of them had screwed up it would have left the party in trouble.

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13 hours ago, tenchi2a said:

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. 

This isn't a good example because the Ring you are using to attack is more dependent on personal tactics rather than Approach. You ain't using Earth if you are fishing for Bonus Successes in Fire Stance, so to speak. The Approaches are mostly for narrative use - they take a backseat in structured scenes/conflicts. 

Also, to be acutely honest here, the Skills are BAD.  

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7 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

Very few of them feel too powerful anyway, and most of the ones that do go catastrophically wrong if you get backlash (the fire ranged-attack with spiritual backlash can potentially TPK your entire group!).

The fire ranged attack with spiritual backlash can potentially nuke an entire army of oni no problem with the Virgin Party huddling at the Chad Shugenja's feet and offering Assistance. 

Edited by AtoMaki
This edit function is mightily confusing

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Great feedback guys, I am going to attempt to clear up what I was communicating with my original post in regards to some of these great responses.

16 hours ago, tenchi2a said:

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

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

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.

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.

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.

 

 

Thank you tenchi! I am really glad someone is picking up what I'm putting down. Again we all have our own perspectives but understanding what is being said is the goal. This response is largely what I was trying to express with my original post but I want to respond to a few excellent points.

I will go in order here:

Armor:

So as has been said above, dueling occurs somewhat often in medium/heavy armor. Therefore, any "duelist" should be fully prepared with a suit of heavy armor or suffer the consequences (probably death or avoid the duel if possible). When I said above armor was over powered and created issues in combat, especially in duels, people chose to focus on the situational aspects of armor wearing rather than take a closer look at the mechanics of armor in the game. 

I appreciate the context(s) provided and recognize the importance of culture in respect to wearing armor in Rokugan, but if you read my original post I'm specifically addressing the mechanics of armor.

Spellcasting:

I understand spiritual backlash, keeping x amount of strife causes a backlash. While sometimes these can be very bad, they can also sometimes be beneficial. Also, they can be easily avoided by not keeping dice with strife, albeit sometimes it may come at expense of accepting a failed roll. On top of this, many spells mechanically are almost designed to be enhanced by spiritual backlashes a majority of the time, so I would go even further to say that backlashes are more of a side effect of spellcasting rather than a detriment. Someone mentioned enhanced backlash penalties as a homebrewed rule, which if nothing changes, I would agree as a necessary change.

The argument that a bushi can always swing a sword and his powers are not limited therefore a shugenja should have unlimited spellcasting is a fallacy of game design (and logic if spellcasting is more powerful). This type of thinking leads to really watered down content (DnD 4E) where there is limited differentiation between subjects. Also "Bushi" may use certain powers that are situational or have other limitations. A spell caster is meant to be able to accomplish things that a bushi cannot, but these may come at a cost of being rather limited in martial prowess as a shugenja spends most of their time in, perhaps, a library or shrine rather than training in the dojo or campaigning in the field.

You could go even further and argue a bushi swinging a sword is exhausting, and so a shugenja casting spells is also physically exhausting therefore limiting both through fatigue. But again, this would likely end up in a game design problem. This is something important to remember, while the mechanics of the game are important, they are by no means meant to be a simulation of reality. Not only is this impossible, but also it would be a terrible game.

Logic is great, but must be confirmed with mechanics. So, typically spell casting is limit-ed/ing but powerful while bushi are unlimited (virtually) and maybe slightly less adaptive and powerful. I think this has been pretty consistently the case for most(not all) games and what most gamers expect: IE stereotypically the flimsy mage that can hardly take an arrow but is enormously powerful(an exaggeration to illustrate the point).

Trait(approach) and Skill Breakouts:

You more or less restated and expanded on what I said in the original post. This is exactly right. The main issue here is it creates an opportunity for conflict with players who plan on raising a couple rings(probably rings associated with fatigue or other important mechanics) and players who learn they get more dice when using an approach from a higher ring. Sure the GM can force the player use a different ring after they try incessantly to do earth approaches and yes, some skill checks require a specific approach regardless. This could create ill will for this "power gamer" as they feel they were just playing by the rules and are being singled out by the GM. Furthermore, unlike past editions, raising rings doesn't require raising 2 traits(the lowest trait was your ring score), and I am not sure if there are limitations for how high you can raise rings (ie before your rank goes up). This creates opportunity for conflict that could lead to an adversarial relationship with the GM and power gaming leading to un-fun experience for players who are not.  So this whole mechanic must be narrowly defined as it might need to be read to certain players and certainly must be well understood by both the players and the GM.  Also as previously mentioned, success with different approaches SHOULD yield different results. (thanks again for whoevever brought this up)

In regards to Skill breakouts, excellent point tenchi this was something that I forgot to add to my original list! Some categories, if not all, really should be a core rule and not an optional rule. I am hoping this was a consolidation strategy for beta, as I am a fan of skills not skill groups. I do see how certain campaigns can get away with a specialized set of skill groups (subject to change as campaign evolves). But now the developers are putting more work and expectation on the GM (game design no-no) for their game to function. Furthermore, using skill groups encourages power gaming(potential for conflict), and also affects the experience point curve(more work for GM).

It has also been mentioned before here that the different approaches shouldn't even be on the character sheet to discourage gaming the mechanics. But alas, they are right on the pre-made characters in the starter set. How long will it take a player to realize how much easier it is to succeed with an approach from a higher ring?

 

15 hours 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.

I know this was addressed, but I wanted to go clarify something in relation to the original post.

My original post purposely left out situations where armor was acceptable to wear in a duel because it is assumed everyone is going to use it. I was using an honor loss as something that might dissuade using armor in a duel where it was frowned upon as inefficient when compared to the advantage armor gives. Of course, some duels don't allow armor and those duels maybe just won't happen(Crab Clan Hida Bushi won't accept that challenge) The mechanics is what we need to focus on. Even in a battlefield situation, heavy armor is just so strong there is no reason why everyone isn't walking around in it. 

Again, instead of delving deeper into the mechanics of armor as the original post describes, the context of armor wearing is brought up. FFG didn't add beta updates regarding when  or where  armor could be worn. But they did add the ability to destroy armor to the critical hit tables. This illustrates why the mechanics are what is in question.

 

I know it is polite to say IMHO but some times things can be demonstrated and while there will always be outliers and different scenarios, these issues actually happened in beta testing by many who have written in these boards.

 

Thanks again all for good discussion on this!

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7 hours ago, M4S-_-T3R said:

Spellcasting:

I understand spiritual backlash, keeping x amount of strife causes a backlash. While sometimes these can be very bad, they can also sometimes be beneficial. Also, they can be easily avoided by not keeping dice with strife, albeit sometimes it may come at expense of accepting a failed roll. On top of this, many spells mechanically are almost designed to be enhanced by spiritual backlashes a majority of the time, so I would go even further to say that backlashes are more of a side effect of spellcasting rather than a detriment. Someone mentioned enhanced backlash penalties as a homebrewed rule, which if nothing changes, I would agree as a necessary change.

The argument that a bushi can always swing a sword and his powers are not limited therefore a shugenja should have unlimited spellcasting is a fallacy of game design (and logic if spellcasting is more powerful). This type of thinking leads to really watered down content (DnD 4E) where there is limited differentiation between subjects. Also "Bushi" may use certain powers that are situational or have other limitations. A spell caster is meant to be able to accomplish things that a bushi cannot, but these may come at a cost of being rather limited in martial prowess as a shugenja spends most of their time in, perhaps, a library or shrine rather than training in the dojo or campaigning in the field.

You could go even further and argue a bushi swinging a sword is exhausting, and so a shugenja casting spells is also physically exhausting therefore limiting both through fatigue. But again, this would likely end up in a game design problem. This is something important to remember, while the mechanics of the game are important, they are by no means meant to be a simulation of reality. Not only is this impossible, but also it would be a terrible game.

This all makes sense for other games like in 5th edition where a spell caster can warp the fabric of reality but this game is not like that. None of the invocations are that ridiculously powerful to the point where it would absolutely break the game. Backlash can be devistating from hitting your party members or not being able to cast spells from that element none of which sounds pleasant. From a player’s perspective when every other character type bushi, courtier, and monk can always use their special abilities with absolutely no limits while your shugenja basically becomes useless after they run out of invocations or they have to use the martial arts skills with little to no training in order to conserve spells is not only going to be boring because you can’t cast any spells and it would be unfair. Besides that, there are plenty of RPGs where spell casting is still limited but not in the “you can’t cast any more spells because balance” such as Dresden Files RPG and Mage the Awakening. 

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14 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

The fire ranged attack with spiritual backlash can potentially nuke an entire army of oni no problem with the Virgin Party huddling at the Chad Shugenja's feet and offering Assistance. 

Depends who's in the party. Again, whether what you can do qualifies as 'assistance' to actually benefit the dice roll is very much up to the GM, and if the rest of the party are not shujenga, I'd be very hesitant to class many of the things you can do as really rating true 'assistance' in an invocation.

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1 hour ago, Magnus Grendel said:

The fire ranged attack with spiritual backlash can potentially nuke an entire army of oni no problem with the Virgin Party huddling at the Chad Shugenja's feet and offering Assistance. 

The backlash would target the virgin party and kill them as well. I also agree with Magnus Grendel about having bushi, courtiers, or monks assist the shugenja. They don’t have any access to invocations so they should not be able to assist the Shugenja since they don’t know how to properly beseech the Kami for powers and miracles. 

Edited by Titanium Mage

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I don't know, I think assistance is okay if that's what the player wants to do. They have to give up their action to do it. Maybe assistance needed to be reworked to be a little less powerful.

19 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

the Virgin Party huddling at the Chad Shugenja's feet

Can we please not? This language is toxic and I'd rather it stayed in the sad corners of the internet where it was born.

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6 hours ago, Titanium Mage said:

The backlash would target the virgin party and kill them as well.  

 

Nope. The Fires From Within has Range 1-3, so the party at Range 0 is safe because the Spiritual Backlash only affects characters in range. The Dangerous terrain effect has a fixed 0-2 range. Castle Osano-Wo (Fury of Osano-Wo with an intentional Backlash) is cheating in my book and you can't TPK accidentally with The Fires That Cleanse (or at least you have to be extremely unlucky). 

6 hours ago, Titanium Mage said:

The backlash would target the virgin party and kill them as well. I also agree with Magnus Grendel about having bushi, courtiers, or monks assist the shugenja. They don’t have any access to invocations so they should not be able to assist the Shugenja since they don’t know how to properly beseech the Kami for powers and miracles. 

2

No character should be inept in spiritual matters - everyone can pray with the Shugenja. Assistance does not require the characters to do exactly what the Shugenja is doing, they just need to... well... assist. 

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13 hours ago, Titanium Mage said:

(1)None of the invocations are that ridiculously powerful to the point where it would absolutely break the game. 

(2)From a player’s perspective when every other character type bushi, courtier, and monk can always use their special abilities with absolutely no limits while your shugenja basically becomes useless after they run out of invocations or they have to use the martial arts skills with little to no training in order to conserve spells is not only going to be boring because you can’t cast any spells and it would be unfair.

(3)Besides that, there are plenty of RPGs where spell casting is still limited but not in the “you can’t cast any more spells because balance” such as Dresden Files RPG and Mage the Awakening. 

1.             I think this is a bit of a stretch, as the final spell lists and mechanics haven't been released yet. Also, its difficult to see how listed beta spells will perform in a full version (taking into account the meta: enemies, xp curve, techniques, revisions to rules etc)

2-3.          "..with absolutely no limits" is simply not true. There are many abilities that have limitations, some useable once per scene, the range of the ability(0-1 for instance), one buff running at a time etc. Were you more of referring to them in a more "uses per day" kind of sense? The answer to that statement is that a shugenja could have a few spectacular rounds and a few "boring" rounds or spread their spells to have "well balanced" action. Also, as mentioned before perhaps their spells have powerful effects that warrant limitation, maybe this will not be a blanket spellcasting rule but rather something like other Kata/techniques that limit the power by scene. Similarly, maybe bushi spend a few rounds moving into hand to hand combat, which could be considered boring, before they get to really shine with their martial prowess. Spell conservation leading to boring gameplay as a shugenja player sitting with no ability to contribute is definitely an issue and for game developers something to think about. I'll use DnD the 5E example of the cantrip rework, a major change as this was a problem in 3rd edition.  The "cantrip" approach could be used in l5r, deeming some spells available at all times while others require resources. 

Something else I want to mention is the difficulty of some spells is much higher than "strike" and other Kata which sits at 2 successes, which could largely explain why spells per day isn't addressed(yet?).

My final thoughts on spellcasting: If it were my choice I'd go with limitations based on individual spells(exhausting certain rings, once per scene, day, etc). This does add some complexity to the game but makes sense from a rp perspective as well as a balance perspective and avoids situations where the shugenja just passes their action because they are out of spells.

Thanks Titanium Mage you bring up some really good points. I have had situations in the beta with both monk and shugenja feeling gimp. However, the shugenja ended up feeling really powerful and the monk started performing well damage wise, though still regularly took a beating until she put on armor.

5 hours ago, deraforia said:

I don't know, I think assistance is okay if that's what the player wants to do. They have to give up their action to do it. Maybe assistance needed to be reworked to be a little less powerful.

Assistance has been discussed in beta updates, in order to assist the player must be able to actually describe how their character will help in a tangible way, otherwise this mechanic can be abused. Furthermore, unskilled assistance only grants a ring die, so the bushi without theology(or other applicable spellcasting skill) assisting a spell caster would only offer a ring die(d6) where a skilled assistant would give a skill die(d12).

Great points.

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4 minutes ago, M4S-_-T3R said:

Furthermore, unskilled assistance only grants a ring die, so the bushi without theology(or other applicable spellcasting skill) assisting a spell caster would only offer a ring die(d6) where a skilled assistant would give a skill die(d12).

1

The real power of Assistance is the extra kept die and it is there regardless of skill. Also, I must note that in my experience, the most powerful Assistance tricks are the easiest to explain away ("I pray with the Shugenja" and "I fake an attack to flush out the enemy for the Bushi").  

Like, I have seen a Shugenja dropping Castle Osano-Wo, and it was a narrative disaster despite being mechanically sound <_< .

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Spells per day add nothing of interest to the game. Just book keeping, and not even fun book keeping. "Welp guys, I can either cast the spells we need now, and watch you fight the boss, or we can not progress the adventure but I'll be ready to open a can of whoop A on the boss."

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24 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

The real power of Assistance is the extra kept die and it is there regardless of skill. Also, I must note that in my experience, the most powerful Assistance tricks are the easiest to explain away ("I pray with the Shugenja" and "I fake an attack to flush out the enemy for the Bushi").  

Like, I have seen a Shugenja dropping Castle Osano-Wo, and it was a narrative disaster despite being mechanically sound <_< .

Great point, keeping dice isn't affected by skilled/unskilled. Yeah, some of my players caught on to this really quickly and began abusing assist. Also when goblins attack in packs of 5 with 4 assisting it can get messy but actually makes sense(although the crab bushi was complaining that they were able to injure him as it was impossible for a goblin to wound him solo). Something to look at when the rules are released. Could be that it is intended to be this way. In my beta testing it seemed very good but became one of those things where anytime someone rolled there was an assist. 

If it was my design, only skilled assists allow a keep and maybe even only skilled are allowed to assist. This is something that should have been on my original list, because it comes up constantly.

16 minutes ago, llamaman88 said:

Spells per day add nothing of interest to the game. Just book keeping, and not even fun book keeping. "Welp guys, I can either cast the spells we need now, and watch you fight the boss, or we can not progress the adventure but I'll be ready to open a can of whoop A on the boss."

Or just nova everything and do whatever it takes to recharge(if possible). This is my main complaint DnD 5e as coupled with it is designed for X encounters per long rest, it really begins to force the DM into building content that is time sensitive or somehow limits the ability to recharge limited use abilities. This is another reason why I like "once per scene" type abilities. There is no way to game the system, you simply get to use the power once per scene, unlike in DnD 5e, and even other systems with spells per day or similar limiting mechanisms.

Excellent point. So FFG got this one right, we just need to hope for good balance in spells and assist!

Edited by M4S-_-T3R

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I could be talked into dnd 4 type encounter powers. Maybe some big spells once per day. Or requiring difficult to obtain reagents to sacrifice. But bringing back the lame 4e l5r spells per day would be such a step backwards imho.

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"Per Scene" seems to be the direction for a lot of powers.

I tend to frown on "per day" powers that incentivize sleeping or waiting for the next day. This just seems to mechanically impede the game and can really take away from immersion.

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Personally, I really like the Perils of the Spiritual Backlash approach. Some better clarification on how Shugenja and Invocations work would be also good. And a more Cleric-like spell selection (so mostly utility and defensive spells and buffs/debuffs) rather than an offensive arsenal. 

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4 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

No character should be inept in spiritual matters - everyone can pray with the Shugenja. Assistance does not require the characters to do exactly what the Shugenja is doing, they just need to... well... assist. 

No character is able to call forth the powers of the Kami except shugenja. Other samurai can pray until they pass out but the Kami will never answer. Shugenjas don’t just simply pray, they have specific techniques and secrets that they jealously guard. If a samurai doesn’t know how to make the proper offerings to the Kami, the Kami could get offended and retaliate which isn’t much assistance.

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2 minutes ago, Titanium Mage said:

No character is able to call forth the powers of the Kami except shugenja. Other samurai can pray until they pass out but the Kami will never answer. Shugenjas don’t just simply pray, they have specific techniques and secrets that they jealously guard. If a samurai doesn’t know how to make the proper offerings to the Kami, the Kami could get offended and retaliate which isn’t much assistance.

This brings up something similar to skill approaches. Because of the potential for using assist, maybe it needs to be defined  for things like spellcasting.

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13 minutes ago, Titanium Mage said:

No character is able to call forth the powers of the Kami except shugenja. Other samurai can pray until they pass out but the Kami will never answer. 

2

Even the most irreligious Bushi can now use Commune with the Spirits, so yeah, they can actually beseech the kami, just not do a whole lot with it. But they don't have to, that's why they have the Shugenja in the middle of the Assistance Chorus. 

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I wouldn't even let other shugenja assist unless the spell was a ritual type spell, which used to be really rare anyway. It says it's up to the GM who can assist what rolls, if you're so worried about it just tell them no.

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25 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

Even the most irreligious Bushi can now use Commune with the Spirits, so yeah, they can actually beseech the kami, just not do a whole lot with it. But they don't have to, that's why they have the Shugenja in the middle of the Assistance Chorus. 

Commune with Spirits is a ritual that requires a downtime activity not an invocation. Only Shugenja can communicate directly with the Kami as if speaking rokugani. All other samurai get vague feelings so this is not a good standard by which to measure the assistance others can give during invocations.  If you don’t know what you are doing then you become a hinderence not an assistant. 

Edited by Titanium Mage

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4 minutes ago, Titanium Mage said:

 If you don’t know what you are doing then you become a hinderence not an assistant. 

2

By the rules of Assistance, if you don't know what you are doing then you will provide a slightly worse dice. That's literally all it. You can try to wrench the system around but that will open an ugly can of worms.

It is just hard to explain why praying with the Shugenja doesn't help. Even if the GM tells you that you cannot beseech the spirits, you can still say that you want to make the Shugenja feel more holy or something. You are helping either way, your intention is not to throw fireballs yourself. 

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2 hours ago, Titanium Mage said:

Commune with Spirits is a ritual that requires a downtime activity not an invocation. Only Shugenja can communicate directly with the Kami as if speaking rokugani. All other samurai get vague feelings so this is not a good standard by which to measure the assistance others can give during invocations.  If you don’t know what you are doing then you become a hinderence not an assistant. 

Yet the ritual that you are bringing up does just that.

The flavor text may say that you are not talking directly to the spirits, but the effect seem to imply something completely different. 

"Only shugenja can speak to and hear the kami directly as though
they were speaking Rokugani to one another. However, other priests and
laypeople are able to use this ritual to receive less specific guidance from
the spirits, such as a leaf that falls to the ground pointing in the direction
of the person or thing they are seeking."

But the results say

  • Sense the Kami: Detect all spirits and uses of their magic by shugenja

within a number of range bands equal to the ring you used plus your
bonus successes.

  •  Spiritual Knowledge: Learn one fact the spirits know about the area.   

Try to explain how you are suppose to get a fact about the area from a leaf falling?

Or how a spirits are going to inform you about their numbers and all the spells cast in the area through subtle signs?

Or how the spirits are even going to have a clue what you want or need if you can't talk to them?

The game seems to want to "have its cake and eat it too" here.

This has been argue to death in the beta forums, and the defense has always been that Rokugan is a mystic place and samurai can talk to Kamis but just not on the level that Shugenja can.

On 7/19/2018 at 12:19 AM, llamaman88 said:

Spells per day is boring, antiquated and unnecessary. If your players are "machine gun casting" it's probably a deeper issue than the rulebook.  Those sorts of players will abuse whatever rule FFG makes so I'm in favor of not adding rules that punish average players for what power-gaming player might do. But then I'm the kind of GM who's got no issue telling a player "no."

Let me first clarify something.

My use of the word priest may have been confusing to some.

In the sense that I was using it, I was more describing them as non or light combat clerics.

To me a Shugenja is a support character not a frontline fighter.

So the fact that they don't get to swing ever turn like a Bushi is not an issues.

Add to this that they are rare and have a spiritual duty and they should not be in the forefront of combat anyway. That's why they have yojimbo in the first place.

As for the spells per day being antiquated and unnecessary, that would depend on how they are set-up in the game.

1. Are they middle of the road in power and serve as just another range type unit. (Then whats the point)

2. Are they Swiss army knife support characters (Then why give then offensive spells)

3. Are they powerful wizard types that can bring down fire and lightning on their enemies (Then they need limitation on how offend they can do it or they become overpowered)

As for Spiritual Backlash, it seem to me you and others are putting way more on this system then it is capable of delivering when it comes to power control.

1. The Shugenja has to roll 3+ Strife on kept dice (this is per roll not cumulative). So it is within the Shugenja power to except failure to avoid it, and since there is no spell per day limit he just miss one round of spell-casting with no other effects. 

2. Update 4.0 changed a lot of the results of Spiritual Backlash in some cases limiting the number of people effect by the backlash. Add to this that only fire and air spell can directly effect the party and the TPK issues is not as much of a issues as you are making it out to be.

Also, the secondary area effects are not limited to only the party, so the NPC are effected by them also if they are in the area which means that both sides are burden by the backlash not just the party.

3. Like most Strife based effect Spiritual Backlash is more a problem for lower level PC then more advanced PC where the power issues that spells per day combats are, so Spiritual Backlash is not a deterrent to high level power casting.

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And to cut-off the argument before it comes up, as this is the rebuttal I always get.

The Phoenix elemental legions are not just a legion of combat Shugenja.

This is a misconception that was brought on by the Clan Wars mini game.

Each legion was a full legion of Samurai and a support legion of Shugenja trained to work together in combat.

Whether it was:

Fire: Shugenja providing range support or wrapping the Samurais swords in flames.

Air: Shugenja enhancing the range of the archers.

Water: Shugenja Improving the mobility of the Samurai by providing waves for them to ride into combat or illusions to fool the enemy.

Earth: Shugenja providing stamina and armor enhancements.

The Shugenja of the legions are support units not frontline fighters.

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