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Beginners Game questions and clarifications

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39 minutes ago, Wyrmdog said:

While as written you don't, we always do at our table. We find it's more fun that way. Most of the contests like Heraldry, Athletics, Horsemanship, or Hunting are fine without direct opponents, but Sumai, Weaponry, Go, and the Iai test are all more fun when you have some sort of face-off. I think people should still be able to get their point if they don't win of course - if they show competence - but having contests like this early with relatively low stakes (nobody is expecting to die here) helps the players (and the GM!) figure out the system and get comfortable with it sooner, even including the scene with the ruffians. But it also adds its own sort of tension, which we like.

For the Iaijutsu we even do a full competition bracket for advancements and finals and stuff.

So for those where you do square off, what kind of stats did you use? I like that idea for my home group, but for 1 shot con games ill keep it as written. 

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4 hours ago, bsmith23 said:

So for those where you do square off, what kind of stats did you use?

I use stats similar to the characters, but distributed for the clan, family, and school of the opponent. If I can't be bothered to stat them and need shorthand, it's a Ring of 2, Skill of 1 for most opponents (0 if they are disadvantaged or its out of their likely experience - for example a shugenja and Sumai or a Hida bushi and Conduct). Those that are supposed to be good are Ring 2, Skill 2. Favored or specialists get Ring 3, Skill 2. I tend to cap it where the PCs are though, with few exceptions, like a favored contestant for the Iai matches. PCs need to earn that one.

This tends to show the PCs that while they are the protagonists, I'm not pulling too many punches and they need to work for their victories, that other people in the Empire are also very skilled. The Topaz Tourney is for the best and brightest, right? I always make sure the PCs pass, but I don't need them to win, even though one of them normally does.

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So, a bunch of the demeanor in the b-box and it's dlc are listed with two or more ring combos. Are these intentional or misprints? For example the Ogre is gruff +2 air, -2 earth while provincial daimyo is gruff with +2 earth -2 air

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Another question about the Beginner Game:

Is there something I'd run afoul of if I allowed PCs to - on their turn - describe their action and set their Stance and rolled Ring based on that description as they roll it? Or is there an order of actions issue that makes setting your stance first important?

For example, is there a mechanical issue with Option 2?

Option 1: As written. On a PC's turn:

  1. Character becomes 'active.'
  2. Resolve Beginning of Turn effects.
  3. Player selects and sets Stance for character, specifies grip if necessary.
  4. Player describes action based on Stance.
  5. Character performs action and makes roll.

Option 2: On a PC's turn:

  1. Character becomes 'active.'
  2. Resolve Beginning of Turn effects.
  3. Player describes action, specifies grip if necessary.
  4. GM assigns Ring for the action which sets Stance.
  5. Character performs action and makes roll.

After realizing I did not initially know how the bonus successes for Fire Stance worked, I realized I may have missed something here, so any insight the community may have would be greatly appreciated. It seems minor to me, but I don't want to set a precedent at my table that I'll have to undo later.

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7 minutes ago, Wyrmdog said:

Option 2: On a PC's turn:

  1. Character becomes 'active.'
  2. Resolve Beginning of Turn effects.
  3. Player describes action, specifies grip if necessary.
  4. GM assigns Ring for the action which sets Stance.
  5. Character performs action and makes roll.

After realizing I did not initially know how the bonus successes for Fire Stance worked, I realized I may have missed something here, so any insight the community may have would be greatly appreciated. It seems minor to me, but I don't want to set a precedent at my table that I'll have to undo later.

I wouldn't say this is too 'wrong,' though that's under the assumption that the player understands what represents each stance anyhow.

Would it be a very different result if instead of: "I take Earth Stance and prepare to defend myself" rather than: "I stoically plant my feet, and prepare to defend myself, so what's my stance GM?"

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@Hida Jitenno I don't think there are any functional differences. It looks like it will produce essentially identical outcomes. I am just curious if I have overlooked some mechanic that depends on setting Stance prior to taking action. Of course it is possible that it doesn't matter now but may when the Core book comes out.

I should probably just get them all used to announcing their Stance, then policing attempts to do or describe something patently out-of-Stance. 

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35 minutes ago, Hida Jitenno said:

Right now, I'm lining up a game with some very close friends, so I'll admit that my level of GM-control is going to be lower than in a usual 'open group' game, which is why I may presently lean towards "let them choose their stance."

This is a good point. Letting them pick their Stance rather than having them describe what they do followed by me assigning them a Ring/Stance based on their description will give them more mechanical control. That can be important, especially in a hard fight. Then they can flavor the narrative details as much or as little as they like.

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I kind of have a mixed group of narrators vs. dice slingers. I will highly encourage a description of their stance with their Ring choice, but will overlook it for those not comfortable playing that way. Either way, the Ring will be their choice. Rule 0, you know.

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17 hours ago, Wyrmdog said:

This is a good point. Letting them pick their Stance rather than having them describe what they do followed by me assigning them a Ring/Stance based on their description will give them more mechanical control. That can be important, especially in a hard fight. Then they can flavor the narrative details as much or as little as they like.

Indeed, in a conflict, being able to set your stance is very important - conflicts are much more mechanicaly driven scenes, and a lot of techniques are driven by specific stance.

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Page 26 Beginner Box. Poison. Poison on a blade only works for the next succesful attack for the weapon and... it inflicts a critical strike. First, I dont like its automatic (should have a chance to resist; cant imagine an Earth 5 dude like a tough hardened crab having a hard time with poison). But ok. The effect is pretty lackluster theough... a single... crit.... 

So you cant hardly die from poisoning. Well, I guess if it stacks you could go... "Excuse me, samurai-sama, I kinda need to apply poison to my weapon again." and hit the guy repeteadly.

Sorry I just dont like the system. The effect looks weak. Hoping its reworked in the game manual.

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On 9/1/2018 at 2:49 PM, Shosur0 said:

Page 26 Beginner Box. Poison. Poison on a blade only works for the next succesful attack for the weapon and... it inflicts a critical strike. First, I dont like its automatic (should have a chance to resist; cant imagine an Earth 5 dude like a tough hardened crab having a hard time with poison). But ok. The effect is pretty lackluster theough... a single... crit.... 

So you cant hardly die from poisoning. Well, I guess if it stacks you could go... "Excuse me, samurai-sama, I kinda need to apply poison to my weapon again." and hit the guy repeteadly.

Sorry I just dont like the system. The effect looks weak. Hoping its reworked in the game manual.

It's probably simplified for the sake of it being in a beginner's box set that's streamlined the rules overall.

Then again, how many samurai are actually going to go around with poison on their weapons?  Even the Scorpion (the undisputed masters of poisons) aren't going to walk around liberally using poison in every fight.

Odds are we'll see more detailed rules for poisons in the core book, including more virulent forms of poison along with the ability to resist them.

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On ‎8‎/‎30‎/‎2018 at 10:34 AM, Exarkfr said:

Gruff in Beta book was +2 Air, -2 Earth

Logically, "gruff" means that trying a simple, logical and above all brief argument should do you far more good than convoluted waffle.

Which means that earth giving you a lower TN and air giving you a higher TN makes more sense than the other way around.

 

That said, in the beta:

  • 'Demeanours' section - Air +2, Earth -2
  • Ashigaru - Earth +2, Air -2
  • Bandit - Air -2, Earth +2
  • Provincial Daimyo - Air –2, Earth +2
  • Manifest Earth Kami - Water +2, Earth –2
  • Skeletal Bushi - Air +2, Earth –2
  • Hida Tonomatsu - Air +2, Earth –2

 

 

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At what times does a strike become a critics strike rather then inflicting fatigue? Only when the strike can’t be defended against? 

Can a character wearing armour be subjected to a critics strike before falling unconscious? Can a character wearing no armour ever avoid s critical strike?

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5 hours ago, Jedi samurai said:

At what times does a strike become a critics strike rather then inflicting fatigue? Only when the strike can’t be defended against? 

Can a character wearing armour be subjected to a critics strike before falling unconscious? Can a character wearing no armour ever avoid s critical strike?

When it says "you get a critical strike when you cant defend against the attack" Im guessing it means you get a critical strike if you run out of fatigue (but it should be stated more clearly; it really could mean anything). For example .. You have 3 fatigue left. You take 5 damage... you get a critical strike and ofc you get incapacitated cause you ran out of fatigue.

I find the system weird. You will be out of fatigue (and thus incapacitated) in a few strikes. But you wont die.

You can also take a critical strike if your opponent gets 2 opportunities in their dice roll. You could get incapacitated this way (after taking 4 crits) but that has to be something really uncommon. Its more likely you lose all your fatigue before you get 4 critical strikes this way.

You cant die either way, as you end up just incapacitated (yes, characters cant die in the beginner game).

I dont think armor protects from critical strikes. It just reduces the amount of fatigue taken.

Edited by Shosur0

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AFAIK the design goal was to make character (be it npc or pc) death a choice - the system is purposefully rigged so that between being rendered defeated and killed there is a space of at least one action to finish the target off. While it removes the "a lucky strike from a peasant exploded you into bloody mist because explosions lol", it feels more fun to me - both by making death of an enemy a consequence of a choice you alone made, and by reducing the chance of losing your character to one of the basic, expected activities (I definitely expect my samurai to fight pretty often!) - which in turn doesn't encourage passive, defensive and reactive play that leads to avoiding and minimizing combat scenes. 

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8 hours ago, Jedi samurai said:

At what times does a strike become a critics strike rather then inflicting fatigue? Only when the strike can’t be defended against? 

Can a character wearing armour be subjected to a critics strike before falling unconscious? Can a character wearing no armour ever avoid s critical strike?

I don't believe it's touched on very well in the adventure book, but p. 32 of the rulebook does say that you can inflict a critical strike by spending two opportunities on a successful Strike action. This is also listed on the character folios.

Armor doesn't interact with critical strikes, at least not in the beginner game. So yes, a character wearing armor is susceptible to critical strikes. The beginner game doesn't seem to offer any chance for a character to avoid a critical strike if it is scored against them.

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3 hours ago, deraforia said:

Armor doesn't interact with critical strikes, at least not in the beginner game. So yes, a character wearing armor is susceptible to critical strikes. The beginner game doesn't seem to offer any chance for a character to avoid a critical strike if it is scored against them.

If it's like the beta rules, you can't 'stop' a critical strike, plus they are 'armour piercing' (techniques which caused automatic criticals - like Heartpiercing strike - were valuable for a lightly armed Crane duellist taking on a 'walking ironmongery' Crab).

The beta did give you some means to mitigate critical severity, but then criticals were more detailed (invariably a difference between 'beginner box' versions and the core rulebook in all RPGs Fantasy Flight have done). But whilst you could mitigate it down to 'take some armour damage otherwise ignore it' you could never stop it happening if the attacker managed to beat the TN to hit and got two opportunities into the bargain.

  • You get a critical any time a strike beats the TN to hit you, and you don't or can't defend against it.
    • "Defending" against an attack is 'suffer fatigue to block/dodge/deflect the attack'.
    • Armour reduces the amount of fatigue you have to suffer to defend against a given attack
    • If you can suffer enough fatigue to defend against the attack, you do so and it basically goes away.
    • If in the process your fatigue goes over your endurance, you get the incapacitated condition until it goes back below it again.
    • Whilst you're incapacitated, you can't defend against a strike - so any hit automatically causes a critical (and knocks you unconscious into the bargain)
    • The beta also let you spend a void point to voluntarily not defend (if, for example, it was a weapon likely to inflict a weak critical rather than incapacitate you)
  • You also get a critical if a strike beats the TN to hit you, and the attacker can spend two opportunities to trigger a critical as well.

 

7 hours ago, WHW said:

AFAIK the design goal was to make character (be it npc or pc) death a choice - the system is purposefully rigged so that between being rendered defeated and killed there is a space of at least one action to finish the target off. While it removes the "a lucky strike from a peasant exploded you into bloody mist because explosions lol", it feels more fun to me - both by making death of an enemy a consequence of a choice you alone made, and by reducing the chance of losing your character to one of the basic, expected activities (I definitely expect my samurai to fight pretty often!) - which in turn doesn't encourage passive, defensive and reactive play that leads to avoiding and minimizing combat scenes. 

There is the potential for 'one strike kills' but the system is, I think, designed to require a lot of 'stuff' to make that happen:

  • You need to:
    • beat the TN to hit (standard TN2)
    • spend 2 opportunities to trigger a critical
    • deliver a critical of sufficient severity that after any fitness check to reduce the critical and any reroll on that fitness check for parrying, is still severity 12+

This is doable. Specifically, finishing blows in duels (or the resolution of one-roll duels) delivers a critical strike with a deadliness equal to twice the weapon's base value - for a two-handed katana strike, that's 14, and you can increase the deadliness further by increasing the base value by one per extra opportunity spent.

Equally, minions are a lot easier to kill outright (as they should be).

 

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Note that those leave your opponent Dying - to outright one hit kill you need even more severity than that. So it still handles you the narrative choice of "decide opponents fate!", and for players, it still gives you a non-trivial chance of being saved by your friends either taking a turn off the combat or ending it before the (relatively generous) timer runs out.

But yes, generally another design goal was to achieve somewhat fluid lethality that was based on the context - aforementioned minions explode like chanbara extras, and duels are more likely to result in long-lasting injury (from my experience, it was pretty rare for even the Finishing Blow to be actually *lethal* - Fitness checks to reduce the Severity of a Crit reduced it on 1:1 success ratio, so even a two handed finishing blow had non trivial chance of dropping below 12; I've seen one handed finishing blows being reduced to 3 in Fire Stance) with potential for death theoretically possible.

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23 hours ago, WHW said:

 I've seen one handed finishing blows being reduced to 3 in Fire Stance) with potential for death theoretically possible.

We had something similar, where instant death got dropped to debilitating gash. Given the amount of strife involved, it inevitably pushed the PC over his composure.

"What are you suggesting for the outburst?"

"Most of my intestines, from the look of it."

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