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Bazakahuna

Resisting Invocations (specifically Mask of Wind)

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Hi guys. I was wondering how Mask of Wind was resisted, is this an active or passive thing? By this I mean: does your shugenja just rock about with a different face until someone suspects they aren't who they say they are and actively considers them with suspicion. Or is resistance passive in that anyone looking at them gets a roll. Or is it a mix of the two, someone who interacts gets a roll but otherwise not?

I ask as Fire 2 is a very easy test to make and for something like an illusionary face it presents too weak a gamble to even bother with if resistance checks are too easy to justify.

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Disclaimer: this is all personal opinion, the rules don't specify any of this. That out of the way, I don't like the idea of choosing your approach for something you're not even aware of. Passive effects like that should in this system be handled through Vigilance. In order to get to make the Sentiment check, the character should be suspicious something is wrong. The issue with that however is that we then need to adjudicate how a character could become suspicious, which would depend heavily on the scene.

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18 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

Disclaimer: this is all personal opinion, the rules don't specify any of this. That out of the way, I don't like the idea of choosing your approach for something you're not even aware of. Passive effects like that should in this system be handled through Vigilance. In order to get to make the Sentiment check, the character should be suspicious something is wrong. The issue with that however is that we then need to adjudicate how a character could become suspicious, which would depend heavily on the scene.

give it to the player unless you don't want them to.

do you (the GM) want the player to be suspicious ?
or do you want the players to have a chance to discover the treachery ?

your call. if you give the players a roll they will definitely know something is "fishy" but they don't have to know what.
you can be like;

"ok, all players with vigilance 3+ can make a sentiment check TN3 [air2, fire4]" (and then you roleplay the success, if there is, according to the ring used to succeed).

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I actually really like this answer. Chose your ring if you are actively attempting something, otherwise default to the default TN. That makes a lot of sense and perfectly fits with the whole choosing of an approach, it's an active decision. Thanks I'll keep all this in mind!

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I'm @Bazakahuna's (long suffering 😁 ) GM, so while he is probably deciding if it's a worthwhile invocation for his Soshuro Inflitrator, and how likely he is to be seen, while I need to know at what point an NPC should be making the check to see through it.

 

I agree with @nameless ronin that Vigilance should be the gauge by which people are passively seeing through the invocation, or at least identifying that there is something that requires more active inspection (as per the action in the invocation, An observer must resist with a TN 4 Sentiment check (Earth 5, Fire 2) to notice something amiss from your appearance alone)

In terms of the Vigilance score needed to notice something is amiss, I have a few ideas and am not sure which way to lean.

First is the same level and the TN of the invocation itself (3), meaning a Vigilance of 3 is needed to suspect something is wrong.

Next is the base TN of the sentiment check (4) , meaning a Vigilance of 3 is needed.

Finally is tying it to the school rank of the caster, like in some School Techniques, making the vigilance needed school rank +1. This has the effect of making the ability almost impenetrable at higher ranks and I am inclined to go with a fixed number.

Looking at the NPCs I find the trained ashigaru and humble peasant have a vigilance of 2, the loyal bushi and scholarly shugenja have a vigilance of 3 and the seasoned courtier has a vigilance of 4.

This leads me to think that vigilance 3+ is the sweet spot for spotting something that requires closer inspection.

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3 hours ago, Avatar111 said:

"ok, all players with vigilance 3+ can make a sentiment check TN3 [air2, fire4]" (and then you roleplay the success, if there is, according to the ring used to succeed).

Since that's a recent topic: for me this is actually a prime candidate for a check with hidden TN. There's no logical reason why the characters would know how hard the check is or even which approach is easier. This is something players might easily metagame after they got some practical experience with it, but from the characters' point of view all they have to go on at that point is a gut feeling something's off.

 

3 hours ago, Bazakahuna said:

I actually really like this answer. Chose your ring if you are actively attempting something, otherwise default to the default TN. That makes a lot of sense and perfectly fits with the whole choosing of an approach, it's an active decision. Thanks I'll keep all this in mind!

That's not entirely how it works, I'm afraid - any time there's a TN, there's a check; every time there's a check you need to choose an approach/ring. Defaulting to a general TN doesn't fit the theme of having rings and associated approaches. What the mechanics call for when character A passively resists character B is that character B makes a check against a TN set by character A's stats (usually Vigilance).

 

2 hours ago, Monkey Bloke said:

I agree with @nameless ronin that Vigilance should be the gauge by which people are passively seeing through the invocation, or at least identifying that there is something that requires more active inspection (as per the action in the invocation, An observer must resist with a TN 4 Sentiment check (Earth 5, Fire 2) to notice something amiss from your appearance alone)

In terms of the Vigilance score needed to notice something is amiss, I have a few ideas and am not sure which way to lean.

First is the same level and the TN of the invocation itself (3), meaning a Vigilance of 3 is needed to suspect something is wrong.

Next is the base TN of the sentiment check (4) , meaning a Vigilance of 3 is needed.

Finally is tying it to the school rank of the caster, like in some School Techniques, making the vigilance needed school rank +1. This has the effect of making the ability almost impenetrable at higher ranks and I am inclined to go with a fixed number.

Looking at the NPCs I find the trained ashigaru and humble peasant have a vigilance of 2, the loyal bushi and scholarly shugenja have a vigilance of 3 and the seasoned courtier has a vigilance of 4.

This leads me to think that vigilance 3+ is the sweet spot for spotting something that requires closer inspection.

 As above, that's not quite how it works: you don't compare Vigilance against a TN, you use Vigilance to set the TN. In this case you could call for a Performance check to be made by the shugenja under the effect of Mask of Wind vs the Vigilance(s) of the characters he interacts with (basically checking if he acts convincingly enough that nobody thinks anything's amiss). I'd likely take a hard look at modifying the dice pool depending on circumstances (impersonating someone specific should definitely be harder than merely trying to look like anyone other than yourself, for instance). I could in some cases just decide whether suspicion arises or not without a check, as @Avatar111 suggests, but this is a prime opportunity for some roleplaying in order to decide on possible dice pool modifications and I rarely choose to ignore such opportunities. ;) 

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33 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

That's not entirely how it works, I'm afraid - any time there's a TN, there's a check; every time there's a check you need to choose an approach/ring. Defaulting to a general TN doesn't fit the theme of having rings and associated approaches. What the mechanics call for when character A passively resists character B is that character B makes a check against a TN set by character A's stats (usually Vigilance).

hence why character B (the GM in that case) can decide how well "hidden" is his NPC by deciding how many successes they got on their "cover" roll.

hence again why asking your PCs vigilance at some point and letting the ones with enough vigilance (higher than the NPC's cover) a chance to make a check.
the check the PC makes are against the NPC's cover (not his vigilance). This TN can or cannot be hidden from them, and that TN can or cannot be modified depending on rings.

I just find it is a nice way, keeping the mystery, to play these situations. basically, just give a check to your PCs with enough vigilance (or maybe pcs with specific advantages related to the situation; keen hearing, smell, whatever...).

 

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4 minutes ago, Avatar111 said:

hence why character B (the GM in that case) can decide how well "hidden" is his NPC by deciding how many successes they got on their "cover" roll.

hence again why asking your PCs vigilance at some point and letting the ones with enough vigilance (higher than the NPC's cover) a chance to make a check.
the check the PC makes are against the NPC's cover (not his vigilance). This TN can or cannot be hidden from them, and that TN can or cannot be modified depending on rings.

I just find it is a nice way, keeping the mystery, to play these situations. basically, just give a check to your PCs with enough vigilance (or maybe pcs with specific advantages related to the situation; keen hearing, smell, whatever...).

The thing is, I want my players to engage with the NPCs - and if they know that doing so is beneficial for potential checks that might come up, they will. It's a scene, make it awesome. And it's not like I fudge the results of other rolls either.

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4 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

The thing is, I want my players to engage with the NPCs - and if they know that doing so is beneficial for potential checks that might come up, they will. It's a scene, make it awesome. And it's not like I fudge the results of other rolls either.

i think we more or less play it the same, except you tell your players that the NPC is doing a check to "fool them" somehow. While I just never mention that the NPC is doing a check and just "fudge" a result i need.

works fine narratively too. (in the end there will always be at least 1 PC or more that will have a chance of rolling, cause, the scene needs to be awesome)

Edited by Avatar111

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3 hours ago, nameless ronin said:

As above, that's not quite how it works: you don't compare Vigilance against a TN, you use Vigilance to set the TN. In this case you could call for a Performance check to be made by the shugenja under the effect of Mask of Wind vs the Vigilance(s) of the characters he interacts with (basically checking if he acts convincingly enough that nobody thinks anything's amiss). I'd likely take a hard look at modifying the dice pool depending on circumstances (impersonating someone specific should definitely be harder than merely trying to look like anyone other than yourself, for instance). 

I'm assuming that my game will likely involve a PC disguising himself, so I'm primarily looking at this from that position.

If we take the spell out of the equation, I can see a performance roll to disguise oneself, with the TN being the vigilance score of an observer (with the effect that as the PC continues to move around and see multiple people while in the disguise, the check result becomes a 'TN' for the NPCs' vigilance).

Other than being faster to apply, if the spell requires the same performance check is it different from any other disguise? At that point all the mechanics listed in the spell are removed and it's simply a fast disguise.

Taking a hypothetical situation, if a PC wishes to use the spell and infiltrate a governer's estate, how would you model that?

Cast the spell, TN3.

Assuming the PC needs to talk his way past a guard, an advisor, an elite Yojimbo and the governor themself (with escalating Vigilances from 2 to 5?).

Would you make an initial performance check to determine how good the overall disguise is? Or call for a new check for each meaningful interaction?

If the NPCs vigilance exceeds the PCs performance check, I'd assume they find something off and get to make a sentiment check to see through the disguise. 

I guess in that case the spell becomes a second chance to avoid discover that a mundane disguise would not provide. 

I think this post might be me convincing myself in slow-time. 😁

 

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1 hour ago, Monkey Bloke said:

I'm assuming that my game will likely involve a PC disguising himself, so I'm primarily looking at this from that position.

If we take the spell out of the equation, I can see a performance roll to disguise oneself, with the TN being the vigilance score of an observer (with the effect that as the PC continues to move around and see multiple people while in the disguise, the check result becomes a 'TN' for the NPCs' vigilance).

Other than being faster to apply, if the spell requires the same performance check is it different from any other disguise? At that point all the mechanics listed in the spell are removed and it's simply a fast disguise.

Taking a hypothetical situation, if a PC wishes to use the spell and infiltrate a governer's estate, how would you model that?

Cast the spell, TN3.

Assuming the PC needs to talk his way past a guard, an advisor, an elite Yojimbo and the governor themself (with escalating Vigilances from 2 to 5?).

Would you make an initial performance check to determine how good the overall disguise is? Or call for a new check for each meaningful interaction?

If the NPCs vigilance exceeds the PCs performance check, I'd assume they find something off and get to make a sentiment check to see through the disguise. 

I guess in that case the spell becomes a second chance to avoid discover that a mundane disguise would not provide. 

I think this post might be me convincing myself in slow-time. 😁

 

From my perspective, if a scene revolves around a disguise that's quite boring - and a disguise spell even more so. That's because in that case, the scene essentially is resolved with a couple of rolls (maybe even just one) and no real interaction or roleplay. Talking yourself past guards or bluffing someone with the help of a disguise however, that's awesome. That requires roleplay, not just rollplay. Magic can have that effect of just being a shortcut for the PCs so they don't actually have to do anything, and that's something I prefer to avoid whenever possible - just to explain a bit where I'm coming from with taking the focus away from Mask of Wind a bit. It's good that the shugenja uses it, after all invocations are supposed to be their strength, but I want it to be something that allows the shugenja to navigate an infiltration scene rather than something that brute-force solves the infiltration.

So, regarding your example: new check with every interaction, if the PC fails the NPC gets a Sentiment check. Pretty much exactly as you say. It wouldn't necessarily have to be Performance for the PC, Courtesy would be a strong candidate too and in some cases I might even go with Command - it depends heavily on how the player shapes the interaction (there's that lovely roleplaying I crave so much again). Plus, I'm quite likely to modify the dice pool based on how the interaction goes (more roleplay determining how hard or easy the check is). Baseline, without taking the specifics of the interaction into account, I'll probably add two skill dice to the player's pool to reflect the fact that he has a very good disguise going for him. Then I can add even more or I might take some away based on how convincing the character is during the interaction, but I think the baseline check should be a fairly easy one - it just should not be one the player gets to make without putting in some work to make it an interesting scene. 

As an aside, I'd do pretty much the same thing with a mundane disguise, except the disguise would require a Skullduggery check instead of the invocation's Theology check for activation, and where Mask of Wind has a fixed TN 3 the Skullduggery check's TN would vary depending on the disguise (and in many cases be higher than 3). They do the same thing, but magic tends to be an easy button in comparison. ;) 

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14 hours ago, nameless ronin said:

They do the same thing, but magic tends to be an easy button in comparison. ;) 

Which - given that it's basically "divine intervention" - it probably should be. Of course, it is (or probably should be) also susceptible to characters with a high void and/or Sixth Sense advantage picking up on its presence, which is another, separate issue.

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55 minutes ago, Magnus Grendel said:

Which - given that it's basically "divine intervention" - it probably should be. Of course, it is (or probably should be) also susceptible to characters with a high void and/or Sixth Sense advantage picking up on its presence, which is another, separate issue.

At the very least other shugenja can pick up on it, even if they need to be actively looking.

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Just reading through all this and I'd firstly like to say thanks for the debate everyone, it's not only helpful in this specific case but also in general as regards approaches.

I'm obviously in favour of roleplaying scenes and not just saying 'I have X spell and therefore Y' and I wasn't hoping to dice my way through adventures without interaction. My initial question was due to @Monkey Bloke running a campaign in Ryoko Owari and as with any geographically static campaign you can't run away from trouble you cause, and therefore the risks of being spotted in a disguise are far more damaging to a character's longevity.

In light of what's been said I think the spell could be a lot of fun as if indeed I have some degree of control over my success (through mitigating risk by roleplaying) then I'm far more happy to use it. There is nothing more frustrating than something significant being entirely reliant on simply a dice roll.

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