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Character Creation Articles for L5R is up.

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1 hour ago, AtoMaki said:

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 .

Fair enough,

The question then becomes - is the cheapness of playing "catchup" with low ring scores enough to balance the advantages of high rings...

Rings are toned down somewhat from previous editions (ring dice are clearly inferior to skill dice), and the new approaches system kind of allows foes to force you into using disadvantegous rings (you won't always be rolling your melee skill with your preferred ring - this is especially true in combat where stances may force you to use weak rings to take advantage of some of their special effects),

I dunno - on the face of it I think there is at least the potential to balance both approaches, I guess we'll find out when we get to look at the full rules,

It's at least possible that the "special hatred" is a holdover from L5R 1-4e where rings where totally dominant over skill levels,

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@DanGers Most characters will have the 3/3/2/1/1 setup at the end of character creation. It takes special effort to get anything else. 

1 hour ago, gareth_lazelle said:

The question then becomes - is the cheapness of playing "catchup" with low ring scores enough to balance the advantages of high rings...

1

No. When you pick your high Ring then you already have your future laid out, so there is no reason to bother with upgrading the low Rings unless you want to circumvent the Ring advancement limit. You take Water 4 to use Water stuff, not to mess around Air, so to speak. 

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On 8/24/2018 at 10:30 AM, AtoMaki said:

@DanGers Most characters will have the 3/3/2/1/1 setup at the end of character creation. It takes special effort to get anything else. 

No. When you pick your high Ring then you already have your future laid out, so there is no reason to bother with upgrading the low Rings unless you want to circumvent the Ring advancement limit. You take Water 4 to use Water stuff, not to mess around Air, so to speak. 

Taking water 4 requires either (1) all other rings at 2, or (2)  Void 3. 

This lead to my players raising void alternately with their highest stat.

I do miss the starting 4's of 2e/3e...

And, as for the 1's? have a buddy help. Instead of 1r Xs k1, it goes to either 2r Xs k2 or 1r (X+1)s k2. Much better odds. 

Edited by AK_Aramis

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3 minutes ago, AK_Aramis said:

Taking water 4 requires either (1) all other rings at 2, or (2)  Void 3. 

This lead to my players raising void alternately with their highest stat.

I do miss the starting 4's of 2e/3e...

That limit is only for purchasing Advancements. something starting characters do not do. At character creation, the only limit is that you (normally) can't have Rings of 6 or higher. 

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1 minute ago, AtoMaki said:

That limit is only for purchasing Advancements. something starting characters do not do. At character creation, the only limit is that you (normally) can't have Rings of 6 or higher. 

Wrong. At least for the Beta. See page 26, left column. You cannot have stating rings above 3. 

Quote

Part I: Core Identity (Clan and Family) 

The first few questions will define your character the most strongly. 

All characters begin with 1 rank in each ring and 0 ranks in each skill. You cannot raise a ring or skill above rank 3 during character creation. If a choice would result in a ring rising above rank 3 during character creation, then you must choose a different ring to increase instead, as long as that ring would also not be increased above rank 3. 

Similarly, if a choice would result in a skill rising above rank 3 during character creation, then you must choose a different skill that is not already at rank 3 or higher to increase instead. 

For more information on what the different ranks mean for rings and skills, see page 19 in Chapter 1: Playing the Game. 

And, for reference, 2E PG page 84: no traits may go above 4 in point spend. 1E, page 57, also mentions no more than 2 added ranks and no trait above 4 (right column). 4E has an explicit cap at 4 for traits and skills in CG...  page 103, left column, last paragraph.

3E allows up to 6 - 2 above the starting 2 + 1 from family and + 1 from school. (3E core, p 88, rc) It's the only old-L5R edition not to cap at 4 for starting characters. The errata/faq does note that heritage roll effects do count against the +2 limit... but 3E is the wonky edition.

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5 minutes ago, AK_Aramis said:

Wrong. At least for the Beta. See page 26, left column. You cannot have stating rings above 3. 

 

Huh. I stand corrected. 

But wait a minute... this means that with the 5 Ring increases at character creation given, a starting character can end up with only three Ring combinations: 3/3/2/1/1, 3/2/2/2/1, or 2/2/2/2/2... and that's kinda disheartening to be acutely honest here. 

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It is not really about the variation - as I said before, I have no big problem with some cookie cutting. But Ring 1-3s aren't exactly the level where the system shines, so to speak. I would be more comfortable with an option for Ring 4s. 

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I considered smoothing the earlier Rings ranks by making is so that being Trained in a Skill allows you to keep one extra dice, thus making your trained rolls at virtually +1 Ring. My players consider anything that isn't Ring 3 "dead Ring" and I'm considered alternatives other than to just inflate their Rings or see them bash their XP to raise it (or feel chained to their ring 4 of choice).

 

I think I want Rings 1 and 2 to be more interesting and fun to play at instead of forcibly accelerating the game towards rings 3 and 4, which is where Roll and Keep is most entertaining and offers actually cool choices. That, or just smoothing the Void economy to the point where Seizing the Moment is more common. 

Edited by WHW

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7 hours ago, WHW said:

I considered smoothing the earlier Rings ranks by making is so that being Trained in a Skill allows you to keep one extra dice, thus making your trained rolls at virtually +1 Ring. My players consider anything that isn't Ring 3 "dead Ring" and I'm considered alternatives other than to just inflate their Rings or see them bash their XP to raise it (or feel chained to their ring 4 of choice).

 

I think I want Rings 1 and 2 to be more interesting and fun to play at instead of forcibly accelerating the game towards rings 3 and 4, which is where Roll and Keep is most entertaining and offers actually cool choices. That, or just smoothing the Void economy to the point where Seizing the Moment is more common. 

It sounds more like player-munchkinism than a bad system issue. My players routinely used rings of 2-5 (The Isawa's stat gains were all fire and void).

Then again, this is a case where I think the rescale of rings was a bad choice on FFG's part. (Remember, old-L5R characters started with all 2's, and 2x +1 from school; L5R5 starts at 1). Still, it's not that bad. TN2 is 1/6 * 4/6 on 1rk1 - 1/9. (for mathing it out 0r1sk1 is 1/6 * 8/12, = 1/9, as well). Adding 1 skill, we get 1-[(1- {1/9})*(1-{1/9})]=1-64/81= 17/81= 20%; 1r 2s k1 is 1-({8/9}³)=1-512/729=29.7% or so.

I'm too lazy to work out the odds for 2r Xs.

Edit to add: It just occurred to me: A character with 1 ring cannot critical hit using that ring without void spends - there's no way for them to keep 2 opportunity.

Edited by AK_Aramis

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12 minutes ago, AK_Aramis said:

 Edit to add: It just occurred to me: A character with 1 ring cannot critical hit using that ring without void spends - there's no way for them to keep 2 opportunity.

Face it, without fire stance you need to be extremely lucky to get a critical strike without a ring score of four as you need at least four kept icons (two successes and two opportunities) 

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Can we not imply or accuse players of munchkinism for a subjective perception of what rolls at specific Rings feel?? Thanks in advance.
The reason for Rings of 1 and 2 feeling unfun to my players is that very big part of the fun comes from deciding what to keep, and how to resolve Opportunities. Most of the exciting and interesting rolls (at least at our table) are at TN of 2 or higher, often at 3. With Ring of 1, you need to Explode into a Success or Void into a Success to even make a sensible attempt at such task. If there are going to be any Opportunity spendings, they will come at a price of Failure. 

In Intrigues, a Ring of 1 is probably pretty useless against both the disfavored Demeanor Ring, *and* against opponents in Air Stance. Combining these two makes it even worse. Similarly, in Combat, Ring of 1 cannot Strike a target without Voiding/Exploding, and if the target adopts Air Stance, well, you are kinda in trouble. If you got Wounded or Dazed, this actually could prevent you from Striking even at Ring 2, too. Air Stance/Wounded/Poor Visibility turning off your entire Ring in Combat wasn't fun, to be honest. 
And of course, in order to Crit reliably, you probably need a Ring of at least 3 and a good sense of when to Void or a bunch of Explosions/Success+Opportunity Skill Dice. 

I'm not saying the system is bad. I'm just saying my group voiced a concern that pre-3 Rings are not feeling fun to use. So I'm debating either skipping directly to the Fun Part of the game by having them start with 3/3/2/2/1, to make the period of "2ness" as short as possible, or add another way to get extra kept dice, making it so that skilled character keep between 2 or 6 dice, effectively subtly rescaling it back to the previous editions where Traits started at 2 and there was untrained penalty. 
This is an important concern for us, because we intend to make one of our first - if not the first - release campaigns a "Samurai Academia" type of game, where PCs are promising pupils groomed into suitable candidates for slightly harder and more challenging Topaz Tournament. Which means that it is vital for us that low Rings will feel fun and engaging. And because a lot of fun and player engagement (mechanics-wise) comes from keeping and resolving Opportunities, which hits "the sweet spot" at around Ring of 3/4.

*Of course*, an alternative would be to make Void Points more dynamic and easier to refresh, encouraging players to spend them on the rolls more proactively and highlighting the "heroic pushing your limits" feel, but I'm not sure which option is easier and simply more fun in implementation.

Though I'm aware that making 1st rank of a Skill stronger should modify its cost. 

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18 minutes ago, gareth_lazelle said:

Face it, without fire stance you need to be extremely lucky to get a critical strike without a ring score of four as you need at least four kept icons (two successes and two opportunities) 

Fire Stance doesn't help with that. Fire Stance only adds Bonus Successes - you need to keep enough "real" Successes first. 
The reliable ways of getting crits are the Iaijutsu tech (which also requires you pretty much to have a Ring of at least 3 to get it working without Void/explosions/other tricks) and Heartpiercing Strike (Fire Ring of 4 or some tricks as above).

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2 minutes ago, WHW said:

Fire Stance doesn't help with that. Fire Stance only adds Bonus Successes - you need to keep enough "real" Successes first. 
The reliable ways of getting crits are the Iaijutsu tech (which also requires you pretty much to have a Ring of at least 3 to get it working without Void/explosions/other tricks) and Heartpiercing Strike (Fire Ring of 4 or some tricks as above).

It helps in that there are "opportunity / strife" and "{explosive} success / strife" faces on the dice which become "opportunity / strife / success" and "success / success / strife" faces in fire stance, 

Getting multiple successes or success & opportunity on one dice will get you there, and Fire stance gives you that chance - unlikely I will conceded, though probably better odds than hoping for explosive successes... 

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You first check if you have enough successes to succeed before "transforming" Strife into Bonus Successes. Chances of Critting "from hand" in Fire Stance are exactly the same as in any other Stance. 

You can't keep, say, Success+Strife Opportunity+Strife Opportunity+Strife and make a Critical Strike in Fire Stance. The roll will fizzle when checking for 2 kept Successes. 

Edited by WHW

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16 minutes ago, gareth_lazelle said:

Face it, without fire stance you need to be extremely lucky to get a critical strike without a ring score of four as you need at least four kept icons (two successes and two opportunities) 

ring 2... no skill... 
First roll hits: 1/6*1/6  ... 1/36 ... 2x [SO]
1st roll includes [X$] & [SO] 2p of 1/36 each, for 2/36, + 1/3 of opp = 6/72=1/12 = 18/216
1st roll is [X$] & [O] 2p of 1/36 each,  times 1/6 for the needed [SO] = 2/216=1/108
1st roll is [X$] & [X$] 1p of 1/36, times the odds of getting [O][O] on the two kept (1/3 * 1/3 = 1/9)  = 1/324

1/36 = 27/324
1/12 = 27/324
1/108 = 3/324
1/324
total 58/324 = 29/162 = 17.9%

More than 1 in 6 less than 1 in 5, real close to 2/11 

And, as WHW notes, fire stance won't help you succeed - it will, however, ensure that you do more damage if you hit

Fire stance does NOT give you successes on strife. It gives bonus successes only if you succeeded without them. Beta, page 154, right column, in table: 

Quote

When you succeed on a check, you count as having one additional bonus success for each [$] result on your check. 

You'll do more damage in Fire stance, but you will only hit/crit more often if fire stance is higher dice than the others

 

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I can see why it is confusing, tho. "Success" and "Bonus Success" are different things - Bonus Successes are the Successes exceeding your TN. If you do not pass the check in the first place, they do not count. So Fire Stance gives you basically a "win more" effect.

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17 minutes ago, GrimmSqueeker said:

Hoping this means minor clans (and by that I mean the Hare ?) will be in the core book.  Happiness, they name is Usagi 

yeah hope 30+ was low so they can surprise us with MC and Imps. Otherwise maybe they're in Emerald Empire while the core focuses on the Great Clans?

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On 8/21/2018 at 4:00 PM, 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.

As one of the frequent critics speaking to the 20 Questions Character Creation, I would like to make it very clear: I have no problem with the 20 Questions approach to Character Creation. I have a problem if it is the ONLY method in the rulebook. If the 20 Questions is presented as the core system of Character Creation, followed by a two page splash / sidebar of "Character Creation At A Glance" which presents it as an a la carte method, like they have done in the latest version of Vampire: the Masquerade? Awesome. Without that two page splash, however, I will always critique the 20 Questions Character Creation as being limited and hand-holding.

As a community, we will have hacked the Character Creation system apart in two hours after the time the Core Rules hits the shelves, so it is not a matter of direct accessibility (though there is a LOT to be said about games locking content away behind levels of system mastery / skill at math & design). And I will lay hard currency on the line that there is an algorithm made during the design process to build characters, in order to playtest starting characters for balance. If FFG only includes the 20 Questions Character Creation method in their Core Rules, it is a choice in game design which speaks towards a philosophy of play, that there is a "wrong" way to play L5R and the system needs to insulate itself from that abuse.

Again, these are huge philosophy of game design debates, but I hope FFG went the inclusive, egalitarian approach and included both a 20 Questions Character Creation method, and an A La Carte splash page.

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On 8/21/2018 at 4:00 PM, 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.

Not gonna lie, as a GM I did the 20 Questions even for the NPCs I created. Once, as a player, I took a budoka and did the 20 questions for him.

I feel like the 20 questions are not that 'out there,' because they are, for the most part, things you will need to decide for your character anyways. Rather than asking "How do you feel about Bushido" they could put "Step X: either add 10 honor or one of the following skills instead." Does that make it different from the 20-questions method? Only in that you don't consider what it means to your character so much as what it means to your 'build.'

Sure, you could easily strip the 20 questions away, and instead have the "this is your 20 step process to building your character, oh and at some point, think about your character's character."

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19 minutes ago, sndwurks said:

As one of the frequent critics speaking to the 20 Questions Character Creation, I would like to make it very clear: I have no problem with the 20 Questions approach to Character Creation. I have a problem if it is the ONLY method in the rulebook. If the 20 Questions is presented as the core system of Character Creation, followed by a two page splash / sidebar of "Character Creation At A Glance" which presents it as an a la carte method, like they have done in the latest version of Vampire: the Masquerade? Awesome. Without that two page splash, however, I will always critique the 20 Questions Character Creation as being limited and hand-holding.

As a community, we will have hacked the Character Creation system apart in two hours after the time the Core Rules hits the shelves, so it is not a matter of direct accessibility (though there is a LOT to be said about games locking content away behind levels of system mastery / skill at math & design). And I will lay hard currency on the line that there is an algorithm made during the design process to build characters, in order to playtest starting characters for balance. If FFG only includes the 20 Questions Character Creation method in their Core Rules, it is a choice in game design which speaks towards a philosophy of play, that there is a "wrong" way to play L5R and the system needs to insulate itself from that abuse.

Again, these are huge philosophy of game design debates, but I hope FFG went the inclusive, egalitarian approach and included both a 20 Questions Character Creation method, and an A La Carte splash page.

I, for one, actually do not want the 'a la carte' option, though I understand why you do. I come from a school of thought that believes that constraint can be incredibly useful in creativity - especially since Rokugan is a constrained society. One of ritual and tradition.

That being said, I disagree that having only one method says there is a 'wrong' way to play. Having a specific path of character creation is something plenty of RPGs do, and it is usually meant to reinforce a theme or a mood. It does not mean that there is a 'wrong' way, nor does it mean they think that way. But it does mean that there is a guided and preferred way to play. That's not the same thing as saying 'Your preferred method is wrong,' nor is it saying you cannot hack it or deconstruct it. It's just saying that this method is the best way to get the theme, moods, and character creation that they have envisioned for their game. 

Of course, this is just my opinion, and I am not trying to say your feelings are not valid. Just that your statement presents and absolute when I do not see it as such.

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