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What’s this game all about?

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10 minutes ago, Hida Jitenno said:

But levels tho!!! New stuffs to DO!

I don't lean too far one way or the other, I think. As long as the story is good, I'll give any system a try.

I can get"New stuffs to do" with a purely skill based advancement too. I can spend XP directly on new skills, new talents, new "perks" (if the system includes them), etc. The key difference is that you can spend the XP on whatever you want, rather than being stuck in a specific path, where everything goes up at once, with no real personalization.

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1 hour ago, Wyrmdog said:

Aye, at least one player of mine is obsessed with the loot. She's not happy if she doesn't get shiny stuff. She could go decades without fights, but loot...no skimping allowed. Oddly, she's only like this in D&D. She did just fine in Tribe 8 without any loot. hmm...

Also leveling. One of the players at my table only likes systems that include leveling. He's never been the biggest fan of L5R's system because to him, Insight Rank doesn't quite cut it. D&D is it for him. Savage Worlds is about as loosey-goosey with the leveling as he is okay with. He absolutely hates Fate and Cortex as a result.

This may not be the case for your friend, but I found that with D&D loot basically translated to incremental improvements to your character in between the levels.  So at the new level, you get a bunch of new stuff.  However, as you get slightly better items, you still grow a bit in between and feel like you are improving.  This is something I'm finding in D&D 5e that I was missing from previous editions.  I don't blame them for cutting back on magic items, and it might just be the campaign we are running (Princes of the Apocalypse), but the lack of minor improvements using gear has been a bit disappointing.

I also typically prefer skill based systems, though I do think Insight rank adds something to the game as well, to give a decent definition of power level.

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On 9/24/2018 at 1:03 PM, sndwurks said:

Interesting loophole I made use of: if you never complete the Topaz Championship, you do not technically receive your gempukku, and thus are obviated of the direct chain of command through acceptance of fealty, but if you become credited for saving a member of the Imperial family, people are willing to look the other way on that technicality, giving you a lot of freedom in society if you want it.

You still remain a child, stuck  retrying your gempukku next year. As a child, you're in fealty to your parents, and through them, your lord. You might be a highly honored child, but still, a child. And, the saving someone might mitigate your disgrace for failure as an adult. Perhaps for parents' lord won't punish you nor your parents... then again, he might. Perhaps even ordering your seppuku... 

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10 hours ago, Mirith said:

This may not be the case for your friend, but I found that with D&D loot basically translated to incremental improvements to your character in between the levels.  So at the new level, you get a bunch of new stuff.  However, as you get slightly better items, you still grow a bit in between and feel like you are improving.  This is something I'm finding in D&D 5e that I was missing from previous editions.  I don't blame them for cutting back on magic items, and it might just be the campaign we are running (Princes of the Apocalypse), but the lack of minor improvements using gear has been a bit disappointing.

I also typically prefer skill based systems, though I do think Insight rank adds something to the game as well, to give a decent definition of power level.

Indeed. 'Level' makes for a good (if rough) ready reckoner for balancing things, and conflict ranks for enemies let you throw together broadly level conflicts on the fly.

But being able to drive your own progression is something I prefer.

L5R is nice that way in that it's kind of both; any player can buy any skill and a lot of techniques, but progressing your school rank drives you to prefer (not mandate) buying from a specific list of upgrades related to that school. The payoff is upping your school rank, which increases your school technique's power and gives you 'early access' to a few techniques....which will generally be those following the theme of the school.

Essentially, you can...not exactly min-max but if you focus on getting your school rank up, you'll end up as (rather appropriately) a stereotypical graduate of that school. But nothing forces you to do that if you'd rather take other skills and techniques - school advance tables let you buy techniques earlier, but don't give you them cheaper, so more rounded extracurricular characters never left at an XP disadvantage compared to the honour students.

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13 hours ago, AK_Aramis said:

You still remain a child, stuck  retrying your gempukku next year. As a child, you're in fealty to your parents, and through them, your lord. You might be a highly honored child, but still, a child. And, the saving someone might mitigate your disgrace for failure as an adult. Perhaps for parents' lord won't punish you nor your parents... then again, he might. Perhaps even ordering your seppuku... 

Yes. If you wanted to be a cruel GM, and not make an exception for the fact that the LION CLAN just launched an all out war on the Crane Clan, taking all of the contestants and VIPs as hostages against the other Clans getting involved.

Regarding children and fealty, as a non-adult, you are not in fealty technically to anyone. You legally are property of your parents, and thus not a full "samurai" yet. By law, if you are not a samurai, you cannot be ordered to commit seppuku. Your liege (as Lord is an inherently gendered term, and technically the gender-neutral term is Liege) could order your execution for your failure of diligence, where in it would fall onto your parents to carry out your execution. "You" as a person does not exist within the eyes of the law, and are thus incapable of properly failing your lord as a samurai. Your life is still your liege's to dispose of as they see fit, mind you. And if your parents are unavailable to cut off your head (or have you publicly beaten to death, you know, for being a disobedient child), they can have one of their doshin hang you for being a non-samurai criminal.

You know, except for the fact that the <spoiler>current Topaz Championship module has a child committing seppuku due to their failures<spoiler>. If you also want to rule by the strictest reading of the rules, your PCs are forever stuck at Rank 1 in their school, since they cannot "train up", are made automatic Ronin for "daring" to have escaped capture through the rescue of a member of the Imperial family, and returning them to the capitol, and earning a ceremony of personal acknowledgement and thanks from the Emperor himself.

Because the child you sent to the Topaz Championship whose gempukku got interrupted by an act of war, thanked for extraordinary service by the Emperor has obviously brought shame to their family and Clan. Especially when said Emperor then gives you a mission in secret that evening... before committing seppuku in order to make it so the war could not be de-escalated, and would spread to consume the entire Empire. Because that was the right thing to do.

Or, in other words, Legend of the Five Rings is a palette by which you can tell an expansive, exciting story filled with difficult choices. At its best, L5R is about pushing characters into a choice between what is legal (and thus socially acceptable), what is moral (and thus what is emotionally acceptable), and what is honorable (and thus what is ethically acceptable). If you are telling an L5R story correctly? These three things should almost never be the same or subservient to the others. A character's driving motivation lies in balancing these three "needs".

Edited by sndwurks

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15 hours ago, Tramp Graphics said:

I can get"New stuffs to do" with a purely skill based advancement too. I can spend XP directly on new skills, new talents, new "perks" (if the system includes them), etc. The key difference is that you can spend the XP on whatever you want, rather than being stuck in a specific path, where everything goes up at once, with no real personalization.

For some reason in my brain, I correlated "skill based advancement" to "the skill of the player" (e.g. Monster Hunter video game) as compared to an actual tabletop RPG like we were actually talking about. Please disregard my brainfart, haha...

 

13 hours ago, AK_Aramis said:

You still remain a child, stuck  retrying your gempukku next year. As a child, you're in fealty to your parents, and through them, your lord. You might be a highly honored child, but still, a child. And, the saving someone might mitigate your disgrace for failure as an adult. Perhaps for parents' lord won't punish you nor your parents... then again, he might. Perhaps even ordering your seppuku... 

Alternatively, these children proved their loyalty and courage, demonstrating a strength of character that only a true Samurai could, and the rescued and grateful Imperial Princess grants gempukku and takes their oaths of loyalty personally.

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29 minutes ago, Hida Jitenno said:

For some reason in my brain, I correlated "skill based advancement" to "the skill of the player" (e.g. Monster Hunter video game) as compared to an actual tabletop RPG like we were actually talking about. Please disregard my brainfart, haha...

 

Alternatively, these children proved their loyalty and courage, demonstrating a strength of character that only a true Samurai could, and the rescued and grateful Imperial Princess grants gempukku and takes their oaths of loyalty personally.

Rescuing an Imperial Princess from hostile forces and safely returning her to her home while evading the Empire Greatest Army is a great substitute for a gempukku in my books, not to mention that people could have been awarded the honor to fund their own Minor Clan for an heroic deed like that. Ahhhh the face of the Lion if the Emperor grants land of their own for the new Minor Clan. ?

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5 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

Indeed. 'Level' makes for a good (if rough) ready reckoner for balancing things, and conflict ranks for enemies let you throw together broadly level conflicts on the fly.

But being able to drive your own progression is something I prefer.

L5R is nice that way in that it's kind of both; any player can buy any skill and a lot of techniques, but progressing your school rank drives you to prefer (not mandate) buying from a specific list of upgrades related to that school. The payoff is upping your school rank, which increases your school technique's power and gives you 'early access' to a few techniques....which will generally be those following the theme of the school.

Essentially, you can...not exactly min-max but if you focus on getting your school rank up, you'll end up as (rather appropriately) a stereotypical graduate of that school. But nothing forces you to do that if you'd rather take other skills and techniques - school advance tables let you buy techniques earlier, but don't give you them cheaper, so more rounded extracurricular characters never left at an XP disadvantage compared to the honour students.

I actually am a little worried about how L5R 5E handles insight rank.  In the games I've played where its a more free form increase system (Like l5r where you spend XP to increase specific skills) but still includes some sort of level system, I've noticed a trend, at least from my playgroup (We tend towards power gaming to an extent, but aren't hardcore min-maxers) But we won't spend XP unless it:

a) Directly moves you towards your next level 

b) Gives us a powerful permanent effect

c) Saves the character's life

This is something I've seen in L5R, Numenera, and Deadlands (2e, not savage Worlds).  In the case of L5R, we are very very hesitant to buy things like Emphasis, Kata, Kiho, Buy off Disadvantages, etc, since that doesn't give us points of insight.  Also, anything like "Darling of the Court" or "Way of the Land" we would avoid entirely, since typically our campaigns travel a lot.  We don't spend our XP super efficiently, but mostly we either buy up skills or traits, with maybe one Kata if it is really good. 

In Numenera, this was worse, since you could spend XP on some really neat effects (What are now called Player Intrusions) that while permanent were mostly still a regional thing, but it made more sense to just save up for the major character improvements and not spend it on little stuff, since hitting the next tier was usually a fairly massive bonus.

I bring up Deadlands based on the whole Poker Chip thing, which could equate to XP.  We typically only spent poker chips either when we absolutely needed to make a roll, or to absorb damage to prevent death.  To be fair, the latter happened a good bit, including us saving each other from death, but it still was a consideration.

 

My concern with the new system is that you need to hit certain points, which will typically point particular characters in a direction, and if there isn't a lot of flexibility in the system, then people will typically buy only what the next rank requires, as to do otherwise for anything other than for something really good, or some sort of minimal competency, has a 'feels bad' aspect to me since it isn't the most efficient use of XP. 

Note: I haven't seen what the requirements were since initial beta, so maybe its changed some.

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32 minutes ago, Mirith said:

Note: I haven't seen what the requirements were since initial beta, so maybe its changed some.

Well, as a starting point, as of the last update, ring increases - the arguably most important and cost-effective XP spend - stopped counting towards school rank. So there's a massive dichotomy there if you will only spend XP 'efficiently' because you have to choose what you feel that means between a couple of mutually exclusive options you can focus partly or wholly on.

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