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Character Creation Articles for L5R is up.

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49 minutes ago, GhostSanta said:

Do rings and skills still Max at 5 in this edition? If so, that's a narrow fun window.

 

1 and 2 are borderline useless

3 and 4 are fun

5 is basically immune to failure.

This is kinda what I am taking away from the discussion as well.

That said, I am now mulling putting a Rank limit on Rings of 5, maybe even 4 (essentially requiring Rank 5 for Ring 5 or Rank 4 maybe). Dunno though because that could break the xp/insight rank/stat structure. I will have to wait and see how it goes in play before I do anything crazy.

Edited by Wyrmdog
clarification

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20 hours ago, KveldUlfr said:

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.

I like having options, and feel that gating options behind system mastery is poor game design. In terms of game design, it is important to understand that what a games does not allow is as important as what a game allows you to do. If you have to bend or break the mechanics of a game in order to play how you want to play, that is an aspect of the game which must be addressed and acknowledged. If nothing else, it says that the game was not intended to be played in that manner. Hence, this is a "wrong" way to have fun, within the confines of the game.

The Legend of the Five Rings RPG Beta had a LOT of rules to tell the player HOW they should be roleplaying their character. Strife, for example, is inherently a mechanic telling you HOW you should be roleplaying your character. By linking it to a random effect (rolling dice), it ultimately states that your character has only a limited amount of control over their own emotional turmoil and stress (what Strife represents). Furthermore, while they can choose (and build towards) a path which lessens or mitigates that Strife (through Passions, the Void stance, frequent use of the Action which lowers your Strife, choosing Earth and Water Approaches to spend Opportunities lowering Strife), the rate at which Strife accumulates is nearly inextricably dependent on how many dice you have to keep in order to achieve the success you are looking for. Simply put, characters in the new L5R RPG will accumulate Strife significantly more from taking Actions than they will from either Anxieties or their Turmoil (Ninjo vs Giri). This translates to the simple rule that people who try, care; and people who care, emote.

Again, this is not BAD, it is just how the mechanics of a game enforce a particular way of playing. It is, mechanically, "wrong" if you want to play a cool as a cucumber samurai, who waxes laconic while constantly cutting down bad guys, unless you are really really good at the Void Ring. It is guided play, but it is also a form of limited play. While there is nothing in the rules stopping you from just ignoring your Strife before it makes you Compromised, the guided play discourages it and mechanically, Compromised characters are much likelier to die as long as you are still rolling dice to not die when you get hit by a Critical Strike.

This is not nearly as bad as the Pivotal Scenes mechanic they introduced, which encouraged players to hijack the narrative and force the narrative spotlight onto themselves, or the choice to make Honor, Glory, and Status so... 1990's ("Hi, I am the Emerald Champion! I have a high Glory and Status! I kill the Emperor in a public coup! I'm... suddenly no longer famous? I'm not infamous, mind you, just not famous anymore.")

Having constraint can help some people be creative. It helps me! I quite enjoy writing haiku, and that's a brilliant example of how constraint makes someone be more creative. However, when your intention with a product is to "have fun", it is better to be more inclusive for the different ways in which people can have fun. If not having an a la carte method of Character Creation stopped someone from playing this game, would you truly want them to write off L5R entirely?

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33 minutes ago, sndwurks said:

It is, mechanically, "wrong" if you want to play a cool as a cucumber samurai, who waxes laconic while constantly cutting down bad guys, unless you are really really good at the Void Ring.

My very first Beta character was essentially this, and as it turned out, it was really easy to play her. There is surprisingly little space between the "cold as ice character" and the "emotional nutjob character" in 5R5. 

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1 hour ago, AtoMaki said:

My very first Beta character was essentially this, and as it turned out, it was really easy to play her. There is surprisingly little space between the "cold as ice character" and the "emotional nutjob character" in 5R5. 

It is a thematic choice that FFG has chosen to make.

In 4th Edition L5R, Honor was practically a superpower, Glory didn't matter, shugenja were incredibly powerful, and bushi lived and died by the Simple Action Attack.

In New5R (I dislike calling it 5th Edition, since it is so very dramatically different, compared to previous editions, which were all refinements of the same rough game), samurai are basically emotional basket cases, constantly straining under the pressure of pretending to be something they are not: unfeeling killing and service machines.

To each their own.

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I really have a issue with the idea that your character is emotionally unstable because of the strife system.

They are very straightforward about the facts that 1) you don't roll for every little thing, 2) unmasking don't have to be this incredibly huge thing and covers a spectrum from raging furiously to a a laugh or sigh that's inappropriately attention grabbing and 3) the introduction of the compromised state makes you choose when your character vents.

This means that it can be an entire days worth of minor rolls and a very stressful dinner where you have to make sure that ******* Isawa don't try to make you look like a tool in front of the Doji you have been buttering up for a deal the entire evening until your character gets compromised. And still they can choose to keep face but have to hold back that insult that is a bit too obvious, and instead vent in their apartment while talking to an old friend over a cup of tea.

Strife (and being compromised) is not being emotionally unstable, it is being through a rough day while all the time not being allowed to show a hint of emotion. It's being at a office party with the boss while he's making very inappropriate comments and you have to laugh or he'll, at best, fire you

...and the office party never. Ever. Stops.

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37 minutes ago, sndwurks said:

In New5R (I dislike calling it 5th Edition, since it is so very dramatically different, compared to previous editions, which were all refinements of the same rough game)

Maybe L5RPG? I think the official title is "Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game." The 'R' can pull double-duty. Saves you about one maru each time you don't have to type the second R.

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2 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

My very first Beta character was essentially this, and as it turned out, it was really easy to play her. There is surprisingly little space between the "cold as ice character" and the "emotional nutjob character" in 5R5. 

This is good to know. I do think that the Strife system is going to be the biggest hurdle for most players, not dissimilar to how Fate's Aspects and Narrative Assumptions are often difficult to grok for some players. At first.

I can already see at least a few of my players just not understanding the concept of unmasking, and me having issues figuring out whether something done actually counts as an unmasking. I am a tiny bit nervous there.

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1 hour ago, sndwurks said:

It is a thematic choice that FFG has chosen to make.

In 4th Edition L5R, Honor was practically a superpower, Glory didn't matter, shugenja were incredibly powerful, and bushi lived and died by the Simple Action Attack.

In New5R (I dislike calling it 5th Edition, since it is so very dramatically different, compared to previous editions, which were all refinements of the same rough game), samurai are basically emotional basket cases, constantly straining under the pressure of pretending to be something they are not: unfeeling killing and service machines.

To each their own.

So regular people, then?

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20 hours ago, MirumotoOrashu said:

I really have a issue with the idea that your character is emotionally unstable because of the strife system.

The problem is not with the effect of Strife but how many times it comes up if you are not being careful. 

Another thing to consider with Strife and Unmasking is that the narrative end result is not necessarily what one would expect. If too many people gets into Inappropriate Remark then your game can quickly turn into Marvel of the Five Rings Cinematic Universe kind of quipfest. Been there, done that, enjoyed it but also imagined the writers shedding a tear of sorrow each time a samurai quipped to Unmask. 

19 hours ago, Wyrmdog said:

This is good to know. I do think that the Strife system is going to be the biggest hurdle for most players, not dissimilar to how Fate's Aspects and Narrative Assumptions are often difficult to grok for some players. At first.

Approaches are going to be a lot tougher IMHO. 

18 hours ago, Swordbreaker said:

So regular people, then?

It is kinda disheartening to know that my Fantasy Magic Samurai can be folded with "regular people", especially when it comes to self-awareness. 

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9 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

Approaches are going to be a lot tougher IMHO. 

They could be, for sure. Fate Accelerated has some issues with people exclusively using their best Approaches or with GMs and players quibbling over the appropriate approach if they feel the GM is deliberately shutting them down ("That's Flashy." "My Flashy sucks, besides I could totally see it being Quick." "Sorry, you're showing off. Flashy." "By being FAST, so it's obviously Quick. You just don't want me adding 3 to my roll.").

At first, I will probably need some sort of flowchart to facilitate finding the most appropriate Group, Skill, and Ring. That's going to slow things down a bit.

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5 minutes ago, Wyrmdog said:

At first, I will probably need some sort of flowchart to facilitate finding the most appropriate Group, Skill, and Ring. That's going to slow things down a bit.

Don't bother. You must embrace Radical Approach Anarchy. That's the only way. 

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5 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

Don't bother. You must embrace Radical Approach Anarchy. That's the only way. 

Actually this. If you want a tip, however, I suggest the following.

Each ring approach has keywords associated with it. Until they get a handle on Approaches, just have them use that keyword in their description.
'I gracefully..."
"I center..."
"I am direct in..."

If it fits, it sits. If it is a really good approach, maybe you down the TN by one.
If it sorta works, maybe you tell them the TN is up by one.
If it makes no sense, well, it makes no sense.

Eventually, they will use similar descriptors and not be as exact, but you'll get what they mean, and they'll get what you mean.

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13 minutes ago, KveldUlfr said:

If you want a tip, however, I suggest the following.

[snipped lots of good stuff]

That's surprisingly easy to internalize. So much clearer than the text. Thanks!

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1 hour ago, KveldUlfr said:

If it fits, it sits. If it is a really good approach, maybe you down the TN by one.
If it sorta works, maybe you tell them the TN is up by one.
If it makes no sense, well, it makes no sense.

If I remember correctly, this is express in the Beta, as some checks are presented as: TN4 (Earth: 3, Fire: 5). If I'm not mistaken, doesn't that mean that for a Water, Air, or Void approach, it requires 4 success, but 5 if you make a Fire approach, and only 3 for an Earth approach?

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7 minutes ago, Hida Jitenno said:

If I remember correctly, this is express in the Beta, as some checks are presented as: TN4 (Earth: 3, Fire: 5). If I'm not mistaken, doesn't that mean that for a Water, Air, or Void approach, it requires 4 success, but 5 if you make a Fire approach, and only 3 for an Earth approach?

You are correct.

It is entirely plausible to say that certain tasks respond better to certain approaches.
For example, the Doji you wish to impress might be easier with a water approach, however, they are not as impressed with an earth approach, etc.

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1 hour ago, Hida Jitenno said:

If I remember correctly, this is express in the Beta, as some checks are presented as: TN4 (Earth: 3, Fire: 5). If I'm not mistaken, doesn't that mean that for a Water, Air, or Void approach, it requires 4 success, but 5 if you make a Fire approach, and only 3 for an Earth approach?

That's definitely in there, but it's a lot easier to digest the way @KveldUlfr put it. At least for me. And it's less that the TN can change, more how he articulated the selection of the Approach in a Fun-Sized package.

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24 minutes ago, Wyrmdog said:

That's definitely in there, but it's a lot easier to digest the way @KveldUlfr put it. At least for me. And it's less that the TN can change, more how he articulated the selection of the Approach in a Fun-Sized package.

I definitely agree! I was just trying to back him up that the 'crunch' supported his suggestion, so people wouldn't be all "oh sure, if you homebrew it, I guess..."

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On 8/29/2018 at 11:13 AM, sndwurks said:

Again, this is not BAD, it is just how the mechanics of a game enforce a particular way of playing. It is, mechanically, "wrong" if you want to play a cool as a cucumber samurai, who waxes laconic while constantly cutting down bad guys, unless you are really really good at the Void Ring. It is guided play, but it is also a form of limited play. While there is nothing in the rules stopping you from just ignoring your Strife before it makes you Compromised, the guided play discourages it and mechanically, Compromised characters are much likelier to die as long as you are still rolling dice to not die when you get hit by a Critical Strike.

Your "cool as a cucumber" character is perfectly fine to play - just don't take any strife, and accept the consequences of that: reduced success. Had someone do that. They were unhappy about it, and eventually gave up, but it's a viable way to play the character. And getting good at the void ring isn't that hard... you can start with void three, which allows 3+1=4 maximum attribute, then raise it to 4, allowing a 5...27 XP to get insanely good at void.  Only takes you into rank 3.... (16 to rank 2, 20 more to rank 3)...

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9 hours ago, WHW said:

Cool as cucumber character can instead of emoting outwardly focus on Unmaskings that reduce Honor (Compromising), which is basically the "I'm tormented by my inner struggle, woe is me" flavor of Strife. 

And that is what the system requires you to play. You cannot, by the system, play a genuinely unphased, hyper competent expert, who always succeeds and never loses their cool. As in the above example, you can theoretically choose to never get Strife, but that WILL come at the cost of either choosing to fail a lot of rolls, or just not taking Actions to begin with. 

Strife, at its core, is a rules mechanic that tells someone HOW to role play their character and imposes a mechanical “cost” to success. It is inherently unpredictable (as Strife will come primarily from rolling dice), and a “negative play” mechanic as it offers no reward to the character and only punishment.

Again, NONE OF THIS IS BAD. It is simply a design philosophy which people CAN dislike, just the same as people can dislike rolling a d20 to hit someone. The Unmasking article also makes it very clear that this is the designer’s intent for Strife. Strife removes player control and agency over their character’s emotional state, just as Fatigue removes player control and agency over their character’s physical state. It is just that Strife accumulates from any and all action taken (literally, Strife is the cost for participating in the drama and action of the game), and not just from engaging in physical danger. 

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2 hours ago, sndwurks said:

It is inherently unpredictable (as Strife will come primarily from rolling dice), and a “negative play” mechanic as it offers no reward to the character and only punishment.

Well - I'm not certain that is entirely the case. I recall from the Beta there were a few points of Strife being Awesome Fuel - Lions used it, and Shugenja, I believe, got to base their damage on it.

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