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Character Creation Articles for L5R is up.

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1 hour ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

Well, those folks that hated being forced to go through the 20 Questions process in the Beta sure aren't going to be happy now that it's been confirmed the final rules will also be using the 20 Questions framework to build your PC step by step.

I think the issue with the 20 questions was that the choices were extremely limited. So everyone came out pretty much the same.

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7 hours ago, Daeglan said:

I think the issue with the 20 questions was that the choices were extremely limited. So everyone came out pretty much the same.

Very much this.

I loved the idea of the 20 questions character generation, I just hated that in the beta it always ended up with a handful of cookie cutter characters with little to no variation.

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2 hours ago, narukagami said:

Very much this.

I loved the idea of the 20 questions character generation, I just hated that in the beta it always ended up with a handful of cookie cutter characters with little to no variation.

Yeah. They all tended to be choose A or B.. eith no real difference between clans or options. Really boring. They needed choose 3 fro. options ser A or b. With 10 choices in each option. So that you are getting real uniqueness

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10 hours ago, Daeglan said:

I think the issue with the 20 questions was that the choices were extremely limited. So everyone came out pretty much the same.

I never felt too railroaded. More importantly - I do feel the 20 questions make you actually create a character, not just a bundle of stats, which is a very good thing.

 

Also. I want this as a roll-out playmat:

l5r02_art_dragons_a3.jpg

NOW.

 

 

 

 

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Wow, some of you must have either had some pretty narrow concepts or a serious lack of creativity if by going through the 20 questions many of your characters wound up looking the same.

I built about a dozen different PCs of varying Clans and Schools, and there was a substantial mechanical difference between all of them.  Then again, I wasn't trying to make optimized builds but rather individual characters; if all one is after is "what offers the best mechanical benefit to the character?" then one's characters are going to look very similar to one another.

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32 minutes ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

Wow, some of you must have either had some pretty narrow concepts or a serious lack of creativity if by going through the 20 questions many of your characters wound up looking the same.

I built about a dozen different PCs of varying Clans and Schools, and there was a substantial mechanical difference between all of them.  Then again, I wasn't trying to make optimized builds but rather individual characters; if all one is after is "what offers the best mechanical benefit to the character?" then one's characters are going to look very similar to one another.

So much this. I really enjoyed the 20 questions method. And I have seen plenty of sameness in 4E characters, and plenty of variation. 
But then, I also do not think L5R is ever the game for niche protection - what makes you special is not your ability set, but how you act as a Samurai. Which is why 5E excites the **** out of me.

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1 hour ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

Wow, some of you must have either had some pretty narrow concepts or a serious lack of creativity if by going through the 20 questions many of your characters wound up looking the same.

I built about a dozen different PCs of varying Clans and Schools, and there was a substantial mechanical difference between all of them.  Then again, I wasn't trying to make optimized builds but rather individual characters; if all one is after is "what offers the best mechanical benefit to the character?" then one's characters are going to look very similar to one another.

The problem was not the questions so much as the result. The amount of mechanical variation was extremely limited. So all the characters after character gen didnt have  a lot of differences. Background stories might be different but the on paper differences were not much. 

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1 hour ago, Daeglan said:

The problem was not the questions so much as the result. The amount of mechanical variation was extremely limited. So all the characters after character gen didnt have  a lot of differences. Background stories might be different but the on paper differences were not much. 

And what was it about the 20 Questions format that made the mechanical variation limited?  It looked to me like the main differences between characters are going to be who has what skills and their techniques.  At the moment, we only have a few schools to provide you with a range of starting techniques, but I think that starting characters from the same school and family are going to be more different in 5e than they were in some of the earlier editions, including 4e.

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My biggest gripe with 20Q was that Ring setups were extremely limited - which meant that you had no business trying to play an unfriendly, close-minded Lion (because you literally could not create a Lion without 3 Water unless you rolled a specific result on the ancestry table - and you probably would rather get Water 1 to reflect that sort of personality and weakness) or a scatter-brained Hida with short attention span. There were only a limited number of combinations that could you get 3/3/2/1/1 Ring spreads, and you basically got mechanically punished for not picking them.

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I too experienced some cookie-cutting with the new character creation process, tho I think it is more of a result of the new Ring system and how non-descript Skills are now. There isn't a whole lot of space to wiggle around, and trying to go against certain options is severely punished mechanically. But hey, I'm not necessarily against cookie-cutting, especially if there are in-game options for differentiating characters. 5R5 has those, so I'm not complaining. 

Except that grinding through the irrelevant options is a pain in the rectal hole, and some of the questions are uncomfortably passive-aggressive. 

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1 hour ago, WHW said:

My biggest gripe with 20Q was that Ring setups were extremely limited - which meant that you had no business trying to play an unfriendly, close-minded Lion (because you literally could not create a Lion without 3 Water unless you rolled a specific result on the ancestry table - and you probably would rather get Water 1 to reflect that sort of personality and weakness) or a scatter-brained Hida with short attention span. There were only a limited number of combinations that could you get 3/3/2/1/1 Ring spreads, and you basically got mechanically punished for not picking them.

This. Plus some of the questions were choose A. Gat X. Choose B get Y. When i would rather there b a range of options that fit A and a different range that fits B

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I can see the points of "cookie cutter" mechanics, but that's less a problem with the 20 questions and more an issue with the core mechanics themselves.  As AtoMaki noted, a large part of it is the change in how the Rings work in this version as opposed to prior editions, being far more streamlined and compacted vs. AEG's method of splitting each Ring (sans Void) into two separate elements.  Or with Advantages all being variations on either "reroll two dice in certain circumstances" or "remove strife for engaging in this activity."

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I like the streamlining and I really like the Rings, as I'm not that interested in minute details of which character has more strength or stamina, and way more enthralled by strength of their personality. I also like the Advantages - the narrative effects are varied enough for me, while rerolls are easy and powerful (if your basic dice pool is at least decent). 
Though sometimes I wonder if the low-end early game wouldn't be better if you kept 1+Ring dice, instead of Ring dice. Would make characters actually consider rolling Rings of 1 and 2. My group decided to make newbie characters using 3/3/2/2/1 spread (ignoring Clan/Family/School ring increases), because they noticed that their first bunch of XP usually went towards fixing the 1-Rings so they had actually an ability to tackle basic TN2. Which meant that first batch of XP felt like a non-choice XP tax. And while one can argue that it's perfectly viable to function with rushing one ring to 4 or 5 (by picking high Void early) and ignoring 1/1s, my players felt that it reduced their roleplaying options to the point the characters didnt feel organic or human. 

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Well, might depend on which Ring you set as being a 1.

Frankly, most PCs can get away with starting out with Void 1, especially if they're newly-minted, fresh-from-gempukku samurai, who probably aren't very enlightened or even all that worldly just yet.  After all, you only get 1 Void Point per session, and only get more if a specific advantage you've got comes into play (which it very well may not), so having a max capacity of 1 Void Point isn't that much of a hindrance in the early game either.

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Void is a very powerful Ring on its own right now (second only to Water IMO), even if you say that Void Points are not necessary (you are now also lying). The Void Approaches are really darn good, and the Void Opportunities (especially the Artisan Skill specific) are very useful. Not to mention that with Void Opportunities you can buy any other Opportunity at double cost, so you have access to every Opportunity in the game. 

There is really no "Dump Ring" in the game. Earth and Fire come close, because the former is pretty 'meh' and the later is mediocre outside of Techniques, but even this might change depending on your table environment.

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Regarding Void Points, our mileage very much varies, as the playtest sessions we did with this edition, they weren't spent very often and only once was there a situation were more than a single Void Point during the course of a session.

Obviously not every build is going to be able to get away with having Void 1 (shugenja and monks spring to mind), but bushi and even courtiers can get by until they get enough XP to raise it, so starting play with a Void of 1 isn't a death sentence or nearly as much of a liability as you're making it out to be.

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10 hours ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

Obviously not every build is going to be able to get away with having Void 1 (shugenja and monks spring to mind), but bushi and even courtiers can get by until they get enough XP to raise it, so starting play with a Void of 1 isn't a death sentence or nearly as much of a liability as you're making it out to be.

3

This is essentially true for every Ring, but you lose out a lot with Void, considerably more than with Earth unless your GM is very accepting with Recall and Reason. 

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On 8/23/2018 at 12:28 PM, WHW said:

 My group decided to make newbie characters using 3/3/2/2/1 spread (ignoring Clan/Family/School ring increases), because they noticed that their first bunch of XP usually went towards fixing the 1-Rings so they had actually an ability to tackle basic TN2. Which meant that first batch of XP felt like a non-choice XP tax

I'm going to slightly disagree here, 

A character with rings of 3/3/2/1/1 pays 12xp to get to 3/3/2/2/2,

A character with 2/2/2/2/2 pays 18xp to get to the same place, 

So the tradeoff for having some poor starting rings is easier advancement. That's a pretty big bonus (that extra 6xp is a couple of techniques or skill levels - that's big),

You could see it as a tax I guess, but a character able to work around a low ring is even better off - it isn't mandatory to buy it off. 

With regards to specific clans struggling to get some distributions of rings, I'm fairly certain that this is a deliberate choice to help provide a little more distinction between clans (it also ties shugenja more strongly to specific elements which is very in-theme). That said, let's face it, a lot of a characters flavour is not about ring scores, it's about turmoil, advantage, etc. And there's plenty of chance here to move away from stereotypes. 

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31 minutes ago, gareth_lazelle said:

So the tradeoff for having some poor starting rings is easier advancement. That's a pretty big bonus (that extra 6xp is a couple of techniques or skill levels - that's big),

1

That's... the point @WHW tries to make I think. Even the game mechanics encourage players to go for 3/3/2/2/2 ASAP. 

Where I would argue is whether the characters need that Ring 2+ other than on one or two thematic Rings. Because of how the Ring/Approach system works, you can play the game using only two Rings all the time and never really bother about the rest. Or go full Void and leave all other Rings low if you are bold enough for sucking up Sacrifice in combat. My first Beta character had Air and Fire 1 for most of her early career, and I only improved them to 2 because of Ring-limit cost effectiveness. 

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34 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

Where I would argue is whether the characters need that Ring 2+ other than on one or two thematic Rings. 

That I would strongly agree with, you can mostly work around ring deficiency, and that in an of itself does help define your character - of course, others can use it against you... 

Quote

 I only improved them to 2 because of Ring-limit cost effectiveness. 

This is fair, it isn't that important, so it's cheaper to make it slightly more tempting. 

But I think this counters @WHW point though, it doesn't feel like a tax because it isn't necessary. It's a player choice that grants flexibility to the character, 

 

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43 minutes ago, gareth_lazelle said:

But I think this counters @WHW point though, it doesn't feel like a tax because it isn't necessary. It's a player choice that grants flexibility to the character, 

 

This forum has a special hatred for characters who focus on one or two high Rings and leave the rest in the dust. Somethingsomething game balance and all that :D .

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Regarding min/maxing rings, are you even allowed to make a character with 3/3/2/1/1 ring values in character creation?  I don't know of a rule in the Beta forbidding this, but there is a rule in the Beta and in the new character folios stating that while leveling up "you can never increase a Ring value greater than your lowest Rings value + your Void Ring value."  For now, I assume this only applies to ring values while leveling up and not at character creation.

Edited by DanGers
punctuation

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