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Since the game seems to actively punish players for building their character as they choose or situation demeands. I am planning on letting my player use the worldly ronin school in clan as a way to mitigate inflexible mechanics.

 

Thoughts?

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I don't know why you would think so.

The 20Qs are quite flexible and allow for a whole bunch of free picks and as soon as that's done you can spend your XP any way you want (it's just not as efficient in leveling, but that doesn't matter a whole lot).

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@Suzume Urusai is referring to the School Curriculum mechanic I think and not the 20Q. Tho, I must say, I don't think that it is a big deal either considering how 'bleh' the School Techs are and how forgiving the Curriculums tend to be.

I agree that there is a lot of cookie cutting with characters, especially at the start, but that's an unfortunate side effect of having only 5 characteristics and ~19 skills - there is just not a whole lot of space for (mechanical) diversity.

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I mean, sure, at the start, with 0 XP characters are likely to be somewhat mecahnically similar. As you say, 5 Rings and ~20 Skills that can go from 0-3 (1-3) don't make for a huge variation - although the Advantages and Disadvantages do make up for that quite well, as do all the relationships and other things you define in character creation.

Still, I really don't see how the mechanics are "inflexible" and "actively punish players for building their character as they choose or situation demands". You can build your character completely freely, after all.

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Spending XP outside of the School Curriculum gives you half benefits (hence the Worldly Ronin reference  as their School Tech helps this) and that might suck if you are aiming for the high-ranking Techs or if the more conformist part of the party speeds past you. 

Also, as a side note, when I was saying "diversity" I meant a whole lot more than 4-5 fluffy entries that might or might not differ with each character. And in my experience, this state persists well after the 0 XP start. 

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1 hour ago, AtoMaki said:

might suck if you are aiming for the high-ranking Techs or if the more conformist part of the party speeds past you. 

But am I wrong to say that you are having your cake and eating it too here? You want the coveted high-ranking school techniques, yet you don't want to follow the school curriculum (presumably because you want other cool techniques)

Also following school curriculum is your chance to diversify yourself from students of other schools, isn't it?

1 hour ago, AtoMaki said:

a whole lot more than 4-5 fluffy entries that might or might not differ with each character

I do understand this problem though. Players (especially those who prefer mechanics over narrative/fluff) may have difficulty making their character stand out if there's no mechanic for it. So the system is not for every play style (as usual). What I'm more curious about is which system(s) do you think satisfy this need better?

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13 minutes ago, broselovestar said:

But am I wrong to say that you are having your cake and eating it too here? You want the coveted high-ranking school techniques, yet you don't want to follow the school curriculum (presumably because you want other cool techniques)

I don't want the crappy school techs. I want Heartpiercing Strike. 

14 minutes ago, broselovestar said:

Also following school curriculum is your chance to diversify yourself from students of other schools, isn't it?

The School Curriculums are fairly similar, and again, there ain't a whole lot of different stuff you can (or want to) spend your XP on. 

19 minutes ago, broselovestar said:

What I'm more curious about is which system(s) do you think satisfy this need better?

5R5 can do this, we just need more of everything and go bolder and deeper with the mechanics. More Skills, more "Rings", more focus on Approaches (note that there are actually 30 characteristics in the game), more focus on attribute interactions (like Opps an unique Approach uses), more, improved, and flexible derived attributes, more character-specific special abilities, a much bigger starting package, etc. 

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9 hours ago, Suzume Urusai said:

Since the game seems to actively punish players for building their character as they choose or situation demeands.

I'm not seeing that. Unlike 4e where getting to certain ranks was an extreme increase in power and that failing to reach those ranks could seriously handicap a character, high school rank is much less of a benefit in 5e.

Its easy to misunderstand, but the curriculums are only the fastest way to increase rank. They are not the best way.

As Rings are not on any curriculum, buying only things on the curriculum in order to gain faster access to higher rank techs is counter productive as higher rank techniques have higher TNs to perform or add opportunity expenditures that those with low rings will have trouble making use of.

The following list is the XP needed to reach a rank spending all XP on curriculum, 50%/50% on curriculum/non-curriculum, and only on non-curriculum. 

  • Rank 2 - 20 XP min/27 (1/2)/40 XP max

  • Rank 3 - 44 XP min/59 (1/2)/88 XP max

  • Rank 4 - 76 XP min/102 (1/2)/152 max

  • Rank 5 - 120 XP min/160 (1/2)/240 max

  • Rank 6 - 180 XP min/240 (1/2)/360 max

Its smarter to think 30 XP: Rank 2, 66 XP: Rank 3, 114 XP: Rank 4, 180 XP: Rank 5, and 270 XP: Rank 6.

2 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

I don't want the crappy school techs. I want Heartpiercing Strike.  

You will need a Fire of 4 to keep enough successes to perform it reliably. You would need a minimum of 53 XP to buy it as soon a possible without privileged access or 29 XP with rank 2 privileged access.

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7 minutes ago, Ultimatecalibur said:

You will need a Fire of 4 to keep enough successes to perform it reliably. You would need a minimum of 53 XP to buy it as soon a possible without privileged access or 29 XP with rank 2 privileged access.

Nah, you can do it with as low as Fire 2 or even Fire 1, as long as you heed your Void setup. 

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2 hours ago, Ultimatecalibur said:

I said reliably not game your way to it by abusing multiple rolls worth of void opps.

That would be, like, 1 Opp (an Opp you can spend during, say, the Initiative Check) and that's it. Its advanced version require you to make a single Downtime Activity roll, say meditate on your poor life choices and reserve a few extra Successes - no big deal. This might even get you a guaranteed hit... you can't go more reliable than that :D!

Fire 4 is the way to go if you are not very keen on Void or if you need that Heartpiercing Strike at a moment's notice and/or you want to spam it. Personally, I'm not very comfortable with either case in-game. 

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15 hours ago, Suzume Urusai said:

Since the game seems to actively punish players for building their character as they choose or situation demeands. I am planning on letting my player use the worldly ronin school in clan as a way to mitigate inflexible mechanics.

Thoughts?

@Suzume Urusai to be blunt, I think you really have not grasped the system's advancement rules.

These are about the most flexible rules I've seen yet for L5R - what used to be school only techniques are now open to all, just not counting full value toward advancement. Few techniques are clan restricted. 

The only things the clan ronin actually gains is the ability to go to skill 6 at rank 6, and to ignore SR strife on SR skills.  The strife is useful, but but so are all the other school techniques. 

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Pcs build two identical Hida. Hida Bob, a sumai hopeful, wants to progress to a yokozuna through the courts will need things like performance and courtesy  so he gets punished for going outside what a Hida is(cause the pragmatism clan is dogmatic in it's teachings). Hida Rob is your basic wall jockey who advances though the stock curriculum with no hindrances. Both are proud Hida warriors but only one is recognized by his sensei of being capapble of becoming more advanced.

Edited by Suzume Urusai

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No, both are recognized - but Rob progresses faster because he follows the school's teachings. Sumai fighters are not standard Hida bushi, so of course being one is not the most efficient way of being a Hida bushi. 

That's still hardly a punishment. Bob doesn't lose access to anything, isn't worse at anything or in any way restricted from doing what he wants.

At worst, if he never spends any XP on anything in-curriculum, it takes him twice the XP to reach R6.

Since reaching that high is quite unlikely in the first place (at least if this works out as in most other RPGs) and, even if you do, you're unlikely to continue for much longer before starting a new campaign with fresh characters and ranking up doesn't massively increase your power level - it really doesn't matter a whole lot.

 

Have you played the game and noticed any issue from the curriculums? Or is this based purely on reading it? If the latter, I really suggest playing first.

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1 hour ago, Suzume Urusai said:

Pcs build two identical Hida. Hida Bob, a sumai hopeful, wants to progress to a yokozuna through the courts will need things like performance and courtesy  so he gets punished for going outside what a Hida is(cause the pragmatism clan is dogmatic in it's teachings). Hida Rob is your basic wall jockey who advances though the stock curriculum with no hindrances. Both are proud Hida warriors but only one is recognized by his sensei of being capapble of becoming more advanced.

Rob gains an additional -1 reduction in critical hits taken, but Bob might actually be working on gaining and progressing sumo Titles such as Rikishi, Sekitori, Ozeki and the coveted Yokozuna. While Bob may not be progressing as a Hida Bushi, he is still progressing at a similar rate.

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I don't know if I agree with the premise that the Curricula are limited. Unless you have 4-5 players each playing the exact same family and school, there's plenty of room to play around with stuff. 

But if it's a big bother, maybe invent some clan-based titles for them to attempt to attain?

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4 hours ago, Suzume Urusai said:

Pcs build two identical Hida. Hida Bob, a sumai hopeful, wants to progress to a yokozuna through the courts will need things like performance and courtesy  so he gets punished for going outside what a Hida is(cause the pragmatism clan is dogmatic in it's teachings). Hida Rob is your basic wall jockey who advances though the stock curriculum with no hindrances. Both are proud Hida warriors but only one is recognized by his sensei of being capapble of becoming more advanced.

You're not getting a new belt rank in BJJ by learning kendo either, so what's your point?

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5 hours ago, Suzume Urusai said:

Both are proud Hida warriors but only one is recognized by his sensei of being capapble of becoming more advanced.

As a Hida Defender, yes. Because only one is actually studying the stuff their sensei says they should be studying.

The Sumai wrestler is still a respected individual - because Honour, Glory and Status can all advance independently of XP spent, so you can be picking up fame advantages and titles for face-planting the Scorpion Clan's best into the dirt in front of the applauding Imperial Heir, even if you're only rank 1 in your nominal home school.

 

 

There is an issue, though, that if you want to go 'off curriculum' that a lot of techniques demand a certain school rank, even if not on a specific school's curriculum. Our putative wrestler, at rank 1, couldn't give a monkeys about a lot of stuff on the curriculum (striking as water, for example, is kind of irrelevant when neither combatant will be armoured, and rushing avalanche style demands a weapon he won't have), but would really like techniques like open hand style, and has to spend enough points to get rank 2 before they can get it.

That said, as noted they will want performance and courtesy - since those aren't on the curriculum ever, it doesn't really matter when you but them....so you might as well buy them earlier, where you don't need to spend that many 'effective' XP to up your school rank.

 

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6 hours ago, AK_Aramis said:

It's worth reiterating: there's no discount for school skills/techs... So, Rob and Bob gain abilities other than school rank at the exact same rate.

This isn't wholly true. Rob gains abilities faster because he is progressing through the School Curriculum faster thus gains School Ranks faster thus gains access to higher-ranking Techniques faster. 

ON THE OTHER HAND, Bob is actually not that super-duper gimped because he needs to up a bunch of Martial Skills, buy some Katas, and the Curriculum Shujis aren't terrible either, so his out-of-Curriculum spendings will not differ from Rob's that much. Only the Rank 3 set will give Bob some headache because it doesn't align too well with his character. 

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First, this is  a game and people should be having fun. IF the rules for some reason or another are inhibiting that fun, then people should be free to make whatever changes they want -so long as everyone at the table is on board and having a good time. It is quite possible for someone to have a solid grasp of the rules and simply not like the way things are playing out at their table. There is no wrong way to play so long as everyone at the table is having fun. Heck a group can replace dueling by having the Players smack each other with rubber chickens if that is their thing and everyone consents.

As for the OP's issues with progression and feeling constrained, it might be easier for them to simply allow all techniques (within the categories granted by the school, i.e kata, shuji, etc.) and skill purchases to count at full xp toward rank progression with rings still counting at half. Privileged access then becomes an earlier access thing, not a buy now or it never counts toward rank progression thing. It also allows for a bit more variety in character progression while shifting the focus of each school more on the school ability than on a series of skills and techniques it likely shares with other schools. This approach to progression may also be useful when all the PCs are of the same school. Note that you may want to adjust the XP given depending on how much the players are upping rings and how fast you want them to climb in school rank.

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1 hour ago, jmoschner said:

As for the OP's issues with progression and feeling constrained, it might be easier for them to simply allow all techniques (within the categories granted by the school, i.e kata, shuji, etc.) and skill purchases to count at full xp toward rank progression with rings still counting at half. Privileged access then becomes an earlier access thing, not a buy now or it never counts toward rank progression thing. It also allows for a bit more variety in character progression while shifting the focus of each school more on the school ability than on a series of skills and techniques it likely shares with other schools. This approach to progression may also be useful when all the PCs are of the same school. Note that you may want to adjust the XP given depending on how much the players are upping rings and how fast you want them to climb in school rank.

It might be even simpler to flip perspective. Double the amount of XP needed for each level, non-curriculum skills are worth the full amount of XP to advance to the next rank and curriculum skills are worth double.

I suspect the OP is having a kneejerk reaction to something they feel is off after reading without actually understanding what is going on. They only see characters who spend XP off curriculum level up slower and think "this is bad." They may not be realizing that the character ranking up faster might not be as good as they think.

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3 hours ago, Ultimatecalibur said:

I suspect the OP is having a kneejerk reaction to something they feel is off after reading without actually understanding what is going on. They only see characters who spend XP off curriculum level up slower and think "this is bad." They may not be realizing that the character ranking up faster might not be as good as they think.

While it's true that ranking up as efficiently as possible isn't always going to give you a more effective character, the reverse doesn't also apply either: depending on the curriculum you don't always trade effectiveness for school rank either. School curricula are basically just the devs going "this is what seems appropriate for this school", there's no system behind them.

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3 hours ago, nameless ronin said:

While it's true that ranking up as efficiently as possible isn't always going to give you a more effective character, the reverse doesn't also apply either: depending on the curriculum you don't always trade effectiveness for school rank either. School curricula are basically just the devs going "this is what seems appropriate for this school", there's no system behind them.

Actually, there is a system...

  • 1 Skill Group
  • 3 skills
  • 2 specific technique 
  • 1 technique group of levels 1 to SR

Many of the techniques are similar in effect to 1E/2E/3E school abilities.

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