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Titanium Mage

Stances and Invocations

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There's one other thing to remember about stance (which Franwax hints at): Your Critical Reduction is rolled on the stance used in your most recent turn (or initiative), as are rolls to resist spells, kata, kiho, shūji, invocations, ninjutsu, and mahō.

Stance only changes at start of your turn (not start of the round), so round 1 initiative sets stance until your turn.

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On ‎12‎/‎27‎/‎2018 at 5:42 AM, AK_Aramis said:

Stance only changes at start of your turn (not start of the round), so round 1 initiative sets stance until your turn.

Indeed. It's often worth bearing in mind - it's a balancing act between the success of the initiative roll (which matters depending on how much you need to go first and what your basic focus or vigilance is anyway), opportunities from the roll (like throwing fire-strife at someone before an intrigue starts) and the passive benefits of a given stance if your opponent gets a turn before you do (if in a duel to first strike, earth is pretty 'safe' since you can't suffer critical strikes in a strike action).

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Are you considered in a "stance" if you make a roll during a downtime or narrative moment ?

would meditating with Void as a downtime activity would use the Void stance effect (do not gain strife?)

Or are stance ONLY for conflicts ?

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Avatar111 said:

Are you considered in a "stance" if you make a roll during a downtime or narrative moment ?

would meditating with Void as a downtime activity would use the Void stance effect (do not gain strife?)

Or are stance ONLY for conflicts ?

If you are practicing a kata, you're in the appropriate stance for that kata. Practice is typically a downtime or narrative activity, so...

On the other hand, you don't have to be in a stance to be writing poetry or having a chat with a friend.

In other words, you're not necessarily in a stance during downtime, but if it's appropriate you can be. It depends on what you're doing.

Edited by nameless ronin

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Consider this: if during a conflict scene but while there is no actual combat going on you attempt to scale a ladder, are you in a stance? I'd say you're not. You choose an approach for the check, but that doesn't mean you assume the corresponding stance. So, stance or no stance? It depends on what you're doing - whether it's a conflict scene, a narrative scene or even downtime. You're much less likely to be in a stance if you're not in a conflict scene, but it's still possible.

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15 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

Consider this: if during a conflict scene but while there is no actual combat going on you attempt to scale a ladder, are you in a stance? I'd say you're not. You choose an approach for the check, but that doesn't mean you assume the corresponding stance. So, stance or no stance? It depends on what you're doing - whether it's a conflict scene, a narrative scene or even downtime. You're much less likely to be in a stance if you're not in a conflict scene, but it's still possible.

I heavily restrict the amount of rolls the players can do in "narrative mode" (basically, I run narratives like a scene, every player have 1 action, downtime or narrative, that they take and when they are all done, the story move forward a bit and then they play again.
If you play this game with the players always interrupting and asking to make checks, you'll never see the end of it.
So even my narrative moments are low on checks, I don't see how being in a stance "breaks" the system, why would you disallow it ?

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49 minutes ago, Avatar111 said:

I heavily restrict the amount of rolls the players can do in "narrative mode" (basically, I run narratives like a scene, every player have 1 action, downtime or narrative, that they take and when they are all done, the story move forward a bit and then they play again.
If you play this game with the players always interrupting and asking to make checks, you'll never see the end of it.
So even my narrative moments are low on checks, I don't see how being in a stance "breaks" the system, why would you disallow it ?

I wasn't aware that was the question. I thought the question was "are you in a stance if you make a check during a downtime or narrative moment?" so that's what I answered. 😛 If you think something works for you, have at it. I'm neither your mom nor your supervisor, you don't need my permission.

 

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

I wasn't aware that was the question. I thought the question was "are you in a stance if you make a check during a downtime or narrative moment?" so that's what I answered. 😛 If you think something works for you, have at it. I'm neither your mom nor your supervisor, you don't need my permission.

 

your answer was never clear, it was basically; "do as you feel like".

so I was trying to define the situation a bit more to get a more precise answer.

it ended up being the same vague answer, but with a taunt.
ok!

Edited by Avatar111

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By RAW you only assume a stance in structured time, i.e. in conflicts when you start your turn in initiative order. So it would seem Stance bonuses don’t apply outside of that. Likewise they don’t affect initiative rolls since you only assume a Stance after you resolve that roll. Would it break anything to allow stances outside of that context? Maybe not, i don’t know. But that’s the literal interpretation I have so far. 

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26 minutes ago, Franwax said:

By RAW you only assume a stance in structured time, i.e. in conflicts when you start your turn in initiative order. So it would seem Stance bonuses don’t apply outside of that. Likewise they don’t affect initiative rolls since you only assume a Stance after you resolve that roll. Would it break anything to allow stances outside of that context? Maybe not, i don’t know. But that’s the literal interpretation I have so far. 

Ok, solid answer.

Makes water ring even better than it already is as the only way to manage strife.

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55 minutes ago, Franwax said:

By RAW you only assume a stance in structured time, i.e. in conflicts when you start your turn in initiative order. So it would seem Stance bonuses don’t apply outside of that. Likewise they don’t affect initiative rolls since you only assume a Stance after you resolve that roll. Would it break anything to allow stances outside of that context? Maybe not, i don’t know. But that’s the literal interpretation I have so far. 

By RAW you have to assume a stance when making an invocation. You can make an invocation outside conflicts. So where does that leave us then?

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1 hour ago, Avatar111 said:

your answer was never clear, it was basically; "do as you feel like".

so I was trying to define the situation a bit more to get a more precise answer.

it ended up being the same vague answer, but with a taunt.
ok!

I certainly didn't mean that as a taunt, only as a lighthearted jest.

My answer also wasn't "do as you feel like" (although I encourage doing as you feel like, it's not a suitable answer for a rules query). My answer was that you can assume a stance outside conflicts (since otherwise you can't make invocations outside conflicts) but that you don't necessarily always do (not every action requires a stance). I get that that is not a highly precise answer, but it is the answer I arrive at given what the rules tell me. I could probably formulate a guideline for what I think makes for appropriate circumstances to get to use a stance or not, but I don't think you're looking for my personal opinion on the matter.

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46 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

By RAW you have to assume a stance when making an invocation. You can make an invocation outside conflicts. So where does that leave us then?

exactly.

I have a player who main the Void ring. He's like "well that should enable me to not gain so much strife because I have low composure since I took Void ring" (he's got 6) while the other player, with water 3, is spamming the water ring for most of his roll and always healing 2 strife on each rolls and have 12 composure.

Ok, that was a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the vibe.

 

my players do like to argue (in a nice way) about balancing though, especially when the difference is very noticeable. Maybe not everybody is like that!
but it feels kind of bad to tell my Void player to not use his stance when after making 2 rolls hes strifed out and the water dude is basically spending the whole game below half his limit.

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2 hours ago, nameless ronin said:

By RAW you have to assume a stance when making an invocation.

Do you though? I’m really sorry if I missed something but all I see is a sidebar on page 190 that says you have to make the check with a specific *approach*, but nothing about stances...

On the balance issue, one thing I see with Stance bonuses being applied outside of structured time is that if we do, only Fire and Void provide any benefit. If you’re not in a conflict of some sort, presumably, no one is trying to attack/scheme against you or if they do, it would be out of turn; and Water is meaningless because you don’t take turns where an extra action would make sense. You do take approaches in narrative time, but they don’t come with mechanical benefits, more like thematic flavors. 

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, Franwax said:

Do you though? I’m really sorry if I missed something but all I see is a sidebar on page 190 that says you have to make the check with a specific *approach*, but nothing about stances...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but your post at the top of this thread (which is about this exact topic) seems to indicate that yes, you do. 😛

Edited by nameless ronin

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At least in the beta (core book not in front of me), if you didn't roll initiative you were able to immediately reduce strife and assume the Void stance before your turn came up. This suggests that absent a decision on your stance, Void is a default. In my group, I ask everyone for a default stance in case they need to react to a challenge before their turn comes up.

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1 hour ago, Avatar111 said:

exactly.

I have a player who main the Void ring. He's like "well that should enable me to not gain so much strife because I have low composure since I took Void ring" (he's got 6) while the other player, with water 3, is spamming the water ring for most of his roll and always healing 2 strife on each rolls and have 12 composure.

Ok, that was a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the vibe.

 

my players do like to argue (in a nice way) about balancing though, especially when the difference is very noticeable. Maybe not everybody is like that!
but it feels kind of bad to tell my Void player to not use his stance when after making 2 rolls hes strifed out and the water dude is basically spending the whole game below half his limit.

First, this is one reason why I'd love a better explanation of / guidelines for setting differing TNs for different approaches. This should be the standard mechanic for not letting the players abuse their best rings all the time.

Second (and from here on we will be veering into opinion more than the RAW, I'm afraid) , this might be a problem with the Water opportunity expenditure to remove strife option more than anything else. If we assume for a sec that this is the case, I'll point out that one thing being broken is not a good excuse to break something else. I get that this might upset your Water main player, but the game might be better balanced / strife might work better if you could only remove one strife through Water opportunity use, or possibly even none at all (though I think that if TN variation could be improved as per my first remark, one strife should probably be ok).

Third, if you use very few checks during non-conflict scenes (which is a good thing by my count) stance use for these checks shouldn't make a big difference (and an even smaller one if, again, there's sufficient variation in TNs by approach).

Fourth (really getting into houserule territory now), Void is actually the ring most associated with removing strife other than one table stating you can use Water opportunities for this. Every bit of relevant fluff or example about treating mental issues seems to refer to Void, not Water (which is the ring for medicine / treating physical afflictions). Maybe strife removal would make more sense as a Void opportunity option.

I'm usually fairly reluctant to use houserules, but strife in general is a mechanic that - to me - is very hard to get to work properly using the rules as they are.

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25 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

I'm usually fairly reluctant to use houserules, but strife in general is a mechanic that - to me - is very hard to get to work properly using the rules as they are.

I am not that reluctant to use houserules! but I want to use as less as possible (though I find it hard with this game sometimes).

And yes, the -2 strife water opportunity is like, so important. If you need to "wind up" in a conflict or at any moment really... use water stance, get 1 opportunity to reduce strife and use a calming breath. That is like the ONLY way aside unmasking (or having courtier's resolve, which again, you should do in water stance because you can do another action and remove 2 more strife.)

Not having water as one of your high ring makes the game harder to deal with because strife becomes a real threat. At least, as far as I could tell during the game sessions. And we really don't make a lot of checks (as I mentioned earlier, I run narrative scenes in a structured way). I do not know if it is intented or "broken", but my players with low water rings are struggling and will spend their first XP increasing that ring right away.

At some point I really hope we get some of the designers to come in and kind of clear up a bit of the mess and prepare a decent errata/faq document. I don't think it would require that many tweaks too.

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1 hour ago, nameless ronin said:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but your post at the top of this thread (which is about this exact topic) seems to indicate that yes, you do. 😛

Hehe yeah I realized that, although I initially mostly understood the question in a conflict setting (but that was not explicit). Original question was more, I thought, about having to use the Ring of the element of the invocation you cast - which in conflict requires the use of that Ring’s stance. 

Outside of structured time - and I admit I had not thought about that at first - I am not so sure. 

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2 hours ago, Avatar111 said:

Not having water as one of your high ring makes the game harder to deal with because strife becomes a real threat.

I think strife should be and is supposed to be pressing. It's the core narrative mechanic, more than anything else. If players are going through entire sessions barely breaking half composure I don't think the game is working as intended. Not that the opposite is any better though, players shouldn't be on the edge of getting compromised all the time either. 

Looking at my personal experiences, looking at what you're relating in this thread, it doesn't feel like this is on us either. I'm not saying I'm too good a GM to make mistakes, but this strife issue to me is taking more personal management than it should.

 

2 hours ago, Franwax said:

Hehe yeah I realized that, although I initially mostly understood the question in a conflict setting (but that was not explicit). Original question was more, I thought, about having to use the Ring of the element of the invocation you cast - which in conflict requires the use of that Ring’s stance. 

Outside of structured time - and I admit I had not thought about that at first - I am not so sure. 

There's very little that definitively clarifies any of this either way. You choose a stance when structured time starts, yes, but nothing that I can find says you can't use a stance in narrative time. In fact, there's really quite a bit of all this that seems to not get addressed specifically because in practice it doesn't/shouldn't matter and some of it is plain counterintuitive. If you're immobilized you can't change your stance, but you presumably still benefit from it. The incapacitated condition doesn't even mention stances - by a literal reading of the rules you could benefit from the Air stance to defend better against certainly scheme actions and possibly even attack actions (the "can't defend against damage" clause is slightly ambiguous). I would assume that - even if I don't see much reasons why you would - if you wanted to you could choose not to assume a stance at all for a round during a conflict scene, particularly if you chose to do nothing for that round.

That said, I don't think allowing stances during non-conflict scenes is going to fix @Avatar111's issue. It might make his Void main feel a bit better, but in terms of mechanics the difference is unlikely to be significant.

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