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M4S-_-T3R

Changes from Beta to look for

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8 hours ago, tenchi2a said:

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

I actually tested a revamped Spiritual Backlash mechanic with my gaming group and it did work (largely, but we are working on the anomalies). You just need better Backlash effects and a separate option to willingly trigger Backlash to power up an Invocation. 

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9 hours ago, tenchi2a said:

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.

Yet, it is clearly stated that only shugenja receive powers from the Kami. Whatever bushy, courtiers, or monks do is irrelevant because they will never be able to use the simplest of invocations. They do not have the training, blessing, or favor of the Kami to the extent that shugenja do to manifest the elements. Therefore, they should not be able to assist in evocations.

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13 hours ago, Titanium Mage said:

Yet, it is clearly stated that only shugenja receive powers from the Kami. Whatever bushy, courtiers, or monks do is irrelevant because they will never be able to use the simplest of invocations. They do not have the training, blessing, or favor of the Kami to the extent that shugenja do to manifest the elements. Therefore, they should not be able to assist in evocations.

I can't really see the relation. You don't have to be capable of doing X in order to be able to assist someone who does. The guy doing the stuff is the one who needs to know their game, you can just be generally useful around them. That's the whole point of assistance IMHO. 

Heck, Conflict Assistance specifically says that 'You offer another character a plan of attack they might use, an insight about the opposition, or moral support.' and I'm fairly sure that a Bushi can give moral support to a Shugenja just fine.

Edited by AtoMaki

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2 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

I can't really see the relation. You don't have to be capable of doing X in order to be able to assist someone who does. The guy doing the stuff is the one who needs to know their game, you can just be generally useful around them. That's the whole point of assistance IMHO. 

Heck, Conflict Assistance specifically says that 'You offer another character a plan of attack they might use, an insight about the opposition, or moral support.' and I'm fairly sure that a Bushi can give moral support to a Shugenja just fine.

“Yes shugenja that was a really good prayer, the Kami must really love you and your offerings were so wonderful and pure, I’m sure the Kami will look favorably upon your devotion” 

Im sure this groveling will really impress the Kami.

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25 minutes ago, Titanium Mage said:

“Yes shugenja that was a really good prayer, the Kami must really love you and your offerings were so wonderful and pure, I’m sure the Kami will look favorably upon your devotion” 

Im sure this groveling will really impress the Kami.

If you read the descriptions of what a Shugenja is doing when he cast a spell, he pretty much is groveling to the Kami.? 

A spell in L5R is a proven way to appease the Kami to act in you interest.

Now as for what AtoMaki said, I read this as boosting the confidences or adding moral support to the Shugenja, not trying to impress the Kami.

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43 minutes ago, Titanium Mage said:

“Yes shugenja that was a really good prayer, the Kami must really love you and your offerings were so wonderful and pure, I’m sure the Kami will look favorably upon your devotion” 

Im sure this groveling will really impress the Kami.

While I don't think it's addressed in the mechanics, shugenja are typically supposed to offer something to the kami. Another character can assist by presenting the offering or even (if they have ranks in theology) helping to choose the most appropriate offering.

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On 7/18/2018 at 10:17 AM, M4S-_-T3R said:

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.

Do they though? I mean, you can *technically* play the piano with a sledge hammer... but the piano probably won't work the way pianos are supposed to work. Like any product, games have an intended use, and they're liable to break when used inappropriately.

That said, there's no need for the game to hand players the metaphorical sledge-hammer. And I don't think it does; as has been pointed out many times, just raise the TN for inappropriate approaches, and tailor results to the ring used. I've had great success with this approach (that's right, I said it). 

If you want a power-gamer-proof experience, TTRPGs probably aren't a good bet, especially any published edition of L5R to date. 

Of course, the flip-side of power gaming is that the GM can do it too... Have a power gamer bushi? Throw in an equally broken broken enemy bushi with an irrational vendetta so he only targets the power gamer. 

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4 hours ago, narukagami said:

Y'all should read "The Sword and the Spirits" if you want solid story examples to help wrap your head around this idea of non-Shugenja doing rituals to appease the kami. The Kaito family specializes in doing such rituals but none of them are Shugenja.

I am so stoked to see what the Kaito will be like in the RPG. Even if it isn't in the core - I can be patient!

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7 hours ago, Titanium Mage said:

“Yes shugenja that was a really good prayer, the Kami must really love you and your offerings were so wonderful and pure, I’m sure the Kami will look favorably upon your devotion” 

Im sure this groveling will really impress the Kami.

It will really impress the Shugenja, and that's the intent of the assistance, not to impress the kami. The Shugenja will feel better and they will impress the Kami better. Again, this is the whole point. Otherwise, having rules for unskilled assistance wouldn't make any sense. 

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13 minutes ago, Tonbo Karasu said:

I'd say they're likely to be in the core after what happens in the Outsiders fiction.

Well Phoenix lose Agasha. If they're still doing 4 schools a clan that leaves Kaito or Henshin imo. And with the effort to give the Kaito as much fiction as possible early I'm leaning towards Kaito too.

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3 minutes ago, llamaman88 said:

Well Phoenix lose Agasha. If they're still doing 4 schools a clan that leaves Kaito or Henshin imo. And with the effort to give the Kaito as much fiction as possible early I'm leaning towards Kaito too.

To be fair, Phoenix give back Agasha.  They weren't ours to begin with, and didn't quite fit into the Clan.

I couldn't find spoiler tags here, so I just put the text into white.  You can highlight it to read:

As at the end of Outsiders, the Kaito are a Major family, not a vassal family

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Given the amount of time we have between now and the release of the Core book, I wouldn't be surprised we see them in it. So, now that the Phoenix have a whole Major Family dedicated to non-shugendo rituals, that should pretty much lay to rest the whole idea that non-shugenja shouldn't be able to perform some form of rituals to the kami or aid a shugenja is casting.

Edited by narukagami

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On 7/21/2018 at 7:38 PM, Titanium Mage said:

“Yes shugenja that was a really good prayer, the Kami must really love you and your offerings were so wonderful and pure, I’m sure the Kami will look favorably upon your devotion” 

Im sure this groveling will really impress the Kami.

While that could happen... Perhaps the Bushi will do a chant, or ring a bell to the Shugenja's specifications. Perhaps the Courtier will swing a censor of fine smoke or play a song on a shamisen as a gift. Perhaps a hundred little things. The Samurai are full of rituals, and there are plenty of lay priests, and personal appeals to the kami done every day. While they cannot see the Kami, they can interact or please them or anger them... there is a basic level of theological knowledge among many of them. 

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2 hours ago, KveldUlfr said:

While that could happen... Perhaps the Bushi will do a chant, or ring a bell to the Shugenja's specifications. Perhaps the Courtier will swing a censor of fine smoke or play a song on a shamisen as a gift. Perhaps a hundred little things. The Samurai are full of rituals, and there are plenty of lay priests, and personal appeals to the kami done every day. While they cannot see the Kami, they can interact or please them or anger them... there is a basic level of theological knowledge among many of them. 

There is confusion between rituals and invocations, they are not the same thing. Rituals do one thing, invocations do another. Rituals can be peformed by anyone, even non samurai, invocations can only be done by shugenjas. It’s like saying a fighter can help a wizard cast a spell. To me, this makes no sense. How can a bushi offer aid to a shugenja when that bushi has no idea what the shugenja is doing in the time between the shugenja using a fire envocation and an oni eating his face?

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19 minutes ago, Titanium Mage said:

There is confusion between rituals and invocations, they are not the same thing. Rituals do one thing, invocations do another. Rituals can be peformed by anyone, even non samurai, invocations can only be done by shugenjas. It’s like saying a fighter can help a wizard cast a spell. To me, this makes no sense. How can a bushi offer aid to a shugenja when that bushi has no idea what the shugenja is doing in the time between the shugenja using a fire envocation and an oni eating his face?

It's kind of a bad analogy you have going, because Shugenja invocations are not like wizard spells. Shugenja invoke the power of local kami to achieve a powerful spell-like effect, rituals appease kami and make them happy, a happy kami is more willing to listen to the shugenja's invocation and do their requested effect better. I honestly don't see why this is an issue of debate.

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12 hours ago, narukagami said:

It's kind of a bad analogy you have going, because Shugenja invocations are not like wizard spells. Shugenja invoke the power of local kami to achieve a powerful spell-like effect, rituals appease kami and make them happy, a happy kami is more willing to listen to the shugenja's invocation and do their requested effect better. I honestly don't see why this is an issue of debate.

They are willing to listen to the shugenja’s invocation. Not bushi, courtier, or monk. This is an issue because letting non shugenja help shugenja add extra dice to their roles during invocations is potentially broken and makes no sense from a narrative standpoint.

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On ‎7‎/‎21‎/‎2018 at 10:52 PM, sidescroller said:

(1)Do they though? I mean, you can *technically* play the piano with a sledge hammer... but the piano probably won't work the way pianos are supposed to work. Like any product, games have an intended use, and they're liable to break when used inappropriately.

(2)That said, there's no need for the game to hand players the metaphorical sledge-hammer. And I don't think it does; as has been pointed out many times, just raise the TN for inappropriate approaches, and tailor results to the ring used. I've had great success with this approach (that's right, I said it). 

(3)If you want a power-gamer-proof experience, TTRPGs probably aren't a good bet, especially any published edition of L5R to date. 

Of course, the flip-side of power gaming is that the GM can do it too... Have a power gamer bushi? Throw in an equally broken broken enemy bushi with an irrational vendetta so he only targets the power gamer. 

Thanks sidescroller, you have some good insight here.

1. The answer to your question is: yes. Your piano example is actually the exact reason why. You see, a piano isn't designed to be played with a sledge hammer, as you pointed out. This is exactly what I am getting at. The game isn't designed to be abused with 2 huge rings and the same earth approach over and over. But, unlike in the piano example, by design the game is encouraging this behavior. It would be as if your said piano recommended the sledge hammer to produce a finer note. But when the sledgehammer is used, the piano is broken, same in this case with abusing the approach system, which you mentioned. But the sole difference is a design that encourages this.

2. I too have found success in this method. While I was running my beta game, I certainly had higher/lower TNs for different approaches and in some cases there was only 1 approach. While this certainly does limit the abuse, in practice it just isn't enough mainly because this issue is so embedded in the core mechanics. A character will still be better off by pumping a couple rings. Which is easy to do since there are no traits(removed from previous editions, a mistake imho).

The real solution to this issue is to play the game as it was designed(including different TNs for approaches and exclusive approaches). Players describe their action, GM interprets the approach. The problem is the players that don't always voluntarily want to do this. So to minimize this potential for conflict, this behavior first should be discouraged(1 below), and second, clarified(2 below).  All that needs to be done is:

  1. Remove the approaches from the character sheet to get players to focus on roleplaying and not on mechanics.
  2. "Narrowly define" in the rulebook (as previously mentioned in this post) the approach system. 

3. Ain't that the truth. But these are design flaws that can be easily changed to minimize conflict with power gamers and rules lawyers. Minimizing conflict is a key component to game design. I'm not an opponent of power gaming and it is impossible to eliminate; game design needs to take this into consideration. However, playing quite a bit with the beta rules proved power gaming really hurt the game, arguably broke the game. This is almost to be expected in a beta and fortunately there are some minor tweaks that can be made to help with this. 

I like your GM power gaming idea, reminds me of the Sworn Enemy disadvantage(from versions past not the watered down version in this edition). I tend to avoid this at all costs as I don't want to create an adversarial relationship with my players. Some players may be cool when you flex your GM muscle, the group I had was  particularly sensitive to this. I(and others) have DM'd for groups that this type of action can occasionally lead to arguments, maybe even bitterness. The Beta recommends awarding players a void point whenever the GM uses a "forced" situation; like villain escaping, forcing plot elements. My group was not fond of this, the power gamer especially. He felt his character in heavy armor was untouchable.

(In my game a group of armed ronin ambushed the players during a hunt for fish eggs, they threatened to kill them if they didn't hand over the eggs. Above board I informed them fighting these ronin will lead to certain death. They complained that it was forced, I explained this is the only part of the story that is forced, but I still sensed some bitterness. They asked why can't they try and fight them. I explained, again, it was part of the story and to avoid spending an hour fighting a combat you are destined to lose. Classic stick-up scene they just couldn't accept. )

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RE: Assisting Spellcasting

Great discussion.

This is exactly why this should be clarified in the rules. I think mechanically this could go either way; its an arbitrary decision on whether a non-shugenjas' actions could affect the outcome(waving a censor, praying, choosing/providing an offering). But because it has such an impact on the game, this definitely deserves some attention(I'm not 100% sure it wasn't mentioned in the beta, but I had players assisting the shugenja, usually the monk).

So in the event there is a hopefully civil argument, falling back to the rules provides a clear resolution without the blanket: GM's word is final.

I think avoiding the "GM's word is final" resolution as much as possible keeps players from feeling that adversarial relationship.

 

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2 hours ago, M4S-_-T3R said:

The game isn't designed to be abused with 2 huge rings and the same earth approach over and over. But, unlike in the piano example, by design the game is encouraging this behavior.

1

I'm fairly sure that it is, and the "1-2 high Rings per character" phenomenon is supposed to be a feature and not a bug. Having balanced Rings in this edition paints a somewhat unrealistic picture of the character as someone who can use all the Approaches with roughly equal ease must be an extraordinary person. A normal guy should have one "trademark" Approach set he always tries to use because that's who he is, one "good" Approach set he uses time to time because he likes 'em, one "backup" Approach set he is okay with but does not prefer, and two "nah, that ain't me" Approach sets that are most likely the opposites of the first two (so someone with highest Earth and high Water has low Air and Fire). This kinda defines the character through their in-game actions without requiring any actual roleplaying effort. 

This is actually pretty cool in my opinion. 

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17 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

I'm fairly sure that it is, and the "1-2 high Rings per character" phenomenon is supposed to be a feature and not a bug. Having balanced Rings in this edition paints a somewhat unrealistic picture of the character as someone who can use all the Approaches with roughly equal ease must be an extraordinary person. A normal guy should have one "trademark" Approach set he always tries to use because that's who he is, one "good" Approach set he uses time to time because he likes 'em, one "backup" Approach set he is okay with but does not prefer, and two "nah, that ain't me" Approach sets that are most likely the opposites of the first two (so someone with highest Earth and high Water has low Air and Fire). This kinda defines the character through their in-game actions without requiring any actual roleplaying effort. 

This is actually pretty cool in my opinion. 

Yeah, makes sense. Although each toon may differ.

Yes it is a feature, and it is an option in the game. I also think it is cool. 

The part that isn't cool or intended is what has been said about approaches. Always trying to use earth approaches isn't who you are, its gaming the system, destroys roleplaying, and often makes the GMs job more difficult than it should be.

Edited by M4S-_-T3R

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3 hours ago, M4S-_-T3R said:

Yeah, makes sense. Although each toon may differ.

Yes it is a feature, and it is an option in the game. I also think it is cool. 

The part that isn't cool or intended is what has been said about approaches. Always trying to use earth approaches isn't who you are, its gaming the system, destroys roleplaying, and often makes the GMs job more difficult than it should be.

Luckily, the game already accounts for that with varying TNs based on which approach you use. Just because a character is really good at shouting people down doesn't mean it's going to work as easily in every circumstances.

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