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It is very detailed and complete, thanks for sharing (and thanks to that guy for putting it all out in writing).

Of course, I will have some nitpicks ;)

1. Earth stance is strong, but not that strong: it does not prevent the use of Striking as Water or Iron Forest Style. All it does it prevent spending opportunities to cause critical strikes and conditions (i.e. those between pages 271 and 273)

2. Something is unclear about the hit that causes the Crane to become incapacitated and... inflicts the bleeding condition? Maybe I missed a step, but the hit that causes her to be incapacitated does not product a critical hit or any other effect, Razor-edged or not. Razor-edged cause that condition when inflicting a crit of severity 3+... I think

3. Naginata are effective, I guess... but do not forget they are also Cumbersome! Katsuko moved before attacking in the first two rounds at least, so her TN should bump up to 3

4. Some passages seem to imply you can spend a Void point after your roll ("If she had [...] a void point spare she could have rolled (and kept) another dice"); the extra die from "seize the moment" only happens when assembling the dice pool, not after you rolled. But this did not happen in the test, so maybe I am mis-interpreting this.

Otherwise, it does showcase important stuff, like spending a Void point to take a critical strike instead of becoming incapacitated, or the fact that you can have Fatigue equal to your Endurance and still be in fighting shape... and Iron Forest Style is a pain in the back!

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thanks for the updates, I will adjust the article to match when i get a second..

 

the bleeding line was a hang over from a previous mistake (i had the crit occurring when endurance was first breached and it only occurs after incapcity auitomatically. The result of the original crit was a LW and I removed the crit reference but left the bleed reference in. The bleed ref has now gone as well...

Edited by Matrim

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Looking at the cumbersome influences the fight so heavily I think it is better for me to re-run both fights. That will allow the rules used to be correct and avoid lots of 'did this wrong' which can add complication. I dont have time for this until later so will add a note indicating this currently...

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   This is very good, but I'm also noticing a few things.  Franwax already pointed out the limitations of Earth Stance.  It's very useful, but it does not negate as many Opp spends as it first appears.  Things like Iron Forest and Striking as Water are still completely valid, as are Kata that require a Resistance roll, such as Crashing Wave Style.

   Also, you wrote that "'Way of the Lion' is a very strong ability that both reduces risk (from bleeding)..."  Way of the Lion does NOT help you with Bleeding, nor does Void Stance, or any other ability that helps prevent Strife.  If you keep those symbols, you take that Fatigue, even if you're able to mitigate the Strife.

   Actually, later in the fight, you write that "She turns one of the strife into a bonus success (the Way of the Lion ability) making a total of five success and one received strife."  Not how Way of the Lion works, but close.  Way of the Lion has no effect on the Strife received from the roll.  It removes it from your character.  This actually makes it better, because you don't need to roll any Strife symbols to make use of it (pretty handy at Rank 6).  Now, I'm pretty sure that, even if you start the roll with zero Strife, you can gain it on the roll, then remove it.  But BE CAREFUL!  If you're in a duel, close to your Composure, accepting that Strife can trigger a Finishing Blow before you can remove it!

   Nitpicking aside, though, this is some very helpful work.  This system is not always intuitive, and has some pretty weird ways to manipulate die results.  In-depth examples like this are really handy to new folks trying to wrap their heads around these things.  And here's hoping it's also helpful every time one of us pushes our taped glasses up and jumps in with an "Ackshually!"

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10 minutes ago, The Grand Falloon said:

   Nitpicking aside, though, this is some very helpful work.  This system is not always intuitive, and has some pretty weird ways to manipulate die results.  In-depth examples like this are really handy to new folks trying to wrap their heads around these things.  And here's hoping it's also helpful every time one of us pushes our taped glasses up and jumps in with an "Ackshually!"

if even people who are in the forums and reddit don't grasp all the system intricacies all the time, I can't imagine a casual group trying to play this!

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3 minutes ago, Avatar111 said:

if even people who are in the forums and reddit don't grasp all the system intricacies all the time, I can't imagine a casual group trying to play this!

Heh, we'll find out.  I've played a bit with a few of my more regular "gamer" friends, and we all really liked it, despite a few hiccups.  We'll soon be starting in earnest with the addition of some much more casual folks, and I really hope the fiddly bits don't drive them nuts.  Ah, well.  I'm used to hand-holding.

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1 minute ago, The Grand Falloon said:

Heh, we'll find out.  I've played a bit with a few of my more regular "gamer" friends, and we all really liked it, despite a few hiccups.  We'll soon be starting in earnest with the addition of some much more casual folks, and I really hope the fiddly bits don't drive them nuts.  Ah, well.  I'm used to hand-holding.

with 3 players;

player 1 not really good with rpg, or "rules", it is a STRUGGLE... not sure he will find enjoyment.

player 2 have a lot of experience with rpg but is not willing to read the corebook that much, it is playable when you explain him, but, will require many sessions to get a full grasp. He likes it though.

player 3 have experience, and read a lot of the book. it goes smooth.

but even then, there are hiccups here and there and we need to "agree" on how to do things quite often, because despite my (I think) solid understanding of the system, there is always a new thing coming up that isn't explained or unclear. sometimes in the heat of the moment it is really hard to figure out how to play it.

in a duel, character receives a finishing blow, on his resist roll he gets opportunities and use his fire stance to throw strife on the guy doing the finishing blow. that guy becomes compromised so now the player who was resisting the critical blow gets to do an interrupt finishing blow... does that finishing blow happens before or after the critical hit resolves ?
(we played it that it resolved after the critical hit was fully completed).

a shugenja wielding a polearm decided to cast a spell. can he do it, with offerings, with his 2 handed weapon ?

anyway, couple of things here and there. overall a lot of it I find was due to resist checks being able to use opportunities. it bogs down the gameplay and create weird situations.
but i'm pretty sure every session we will stumble onto a new unexplained/unclear rule.

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Matching up a Water 3 / Doesn't Matter character against the Earth 3 / Water 3 / Void 2 überstarter is kinda mean :D

Also, the lack of special tactics employed is a little disappointing. Some Guard turtling and/or Void+Void Initiative would be nice. 

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It's rare for different groups to play 100% the same in any system. Not just because of mistakes either - between houserules and interpretations, different groups just try to make the game play in the best possibleway for them. This is a good thing, not a problem. Obviously it's better if the game itself is intuitive and easy to understand, but when push comes to shove all that matters is whether the group wants to play and is willing to work past rules they don't understand or don't like. I enjoy discussing rules as much as the next person, but if consensus can't be found that's not a drama: it's not about what's right, it's about what's right for the group.

The recent discussion about free hands needed for invocations is an excellent example. There are so many ways you can handle this, and they can all be equally valid. Needing both hands free is not better or worse than not worrying about free hands at all. You can keep it simple and say one free hand is needed, or you can complicate matters by creating a houserule that modifies the check based on how exactly you're attempting your invocation. Mechanics are not the focus of the game, they're a means to an end. We should not put them on a pedestal.

Now, that said, if this is intended as a walkthrough, a demonstration, that changes things a little bit. Deviating from rules that are clear as written runs counter to that goal, after all. Nonetheless, there's great value here. If mistakes are made, so be it - we can discuss them here and that will foster more understanding too.

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5 hours ago, Matrim said:

Looking at the cumbersome influences the fight so heavily I think it is better for me to re-run both fights. That will allow the rules used to be correct and avoid lots of 'did this wrong' which can add complication. I dont have time for this until later so will add a note indicating this currently...

No rush! It’s already great that you found the time to do all that, and if this can be rerun factoring those few changes, I think this stands to be a very good tool for people to gets hands-on examples of how skirmishes are run. 

We’re all but students of the game ;)

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4 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

It's rare for different groups to play 100% the same in any system. Not just because of mistakes either - between houserules and interpretations, different groups just try to make the game play in the best possibleway for them. This is a good thing, not a problem. Obviously it's better if the game itself is intuitive and easy to understand, but when push comes to shove all that matters is whether the group wants to play and is willing to work past rules they don't understand or don't like. I enjoy discussing rules as much as the next person, but if consensus can't be found that's not a drama: it's not about what's right, it's about what's right for the group.

The recent discussion about free hands needed for invocations is an excellent example. There are so many ways you can handle this, and they can all be equally valid. Needing both hands free is not better or worse than not worrying about free hands at all. You can keep it simple and say one free hand is needed, or you can complicate matters by creating a houserule that modifies the check based on how exactly you're attempting your invocation. Mechanics are not the focus of the game, they're a means to an end. We should not put them on a pedestal.

Now, that said, if this is intended as a walkthrough, a demonstration, that changes things a little bit. Deviating from rules that are clear as written runs counter to that goal, after all. Nonetheless, there's great value here. If mistakes are made, so be it - we can discuss them here and that will foster more understanding too.

I agree.
If the rule is not there, or doesn't exist, like in the case of "do shugenja need empty hands to cast invocations". I am ok with this, you proceed as your group sees fit.
But when it is clearly design laziness, or evident number/mechanical mistakes... I will be critic about it.
Though, in the end, who cares, this is a niche RPG with probably only a few thousand players worldwide and the lack of proactivity in addressing issues, typos, rule clarifications, and the absence of communication with the community by the designers clearly shows that this game is not FFG's priority, or, that they see no purpose in fixing what have been done already.
At this point, the dozen of us still active in these forums are just doing it out of sheer interest to go beyond the product by ourselves.
That being said, I enjoy our discussions about the rules, otherwise I would have been long gone already! And I appreciate @Matrim work on putting example of plays on paper.

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21 minutes ago, Avatar111 said:

But when it is clearly design laziness, or evident number/mechanical mistakes... I will be critic about it.

Absolutely. Any single issue is unlikely to be an absolute problem, but if things accumulate they'll eventually get to a point where the group just decides it's not worth the bother and they abandon ship. It's in no way an excuse for the designers to slack off. I don't think it's justified to make changes or interpretations willy-nilly either: it's important to work with the system, not at odds with it. This is why I don't play the Warhammer RPGs for instance, despite the fact that as rules systems they use are fairly complete: I don't like how the system works and changes I'd make would not be in keeping with the system. If I'd find that my ad hoc rulings for L5R didn't work with the design intent, I'd drop it like a hot potato too. There has to be a minimum of quality and a match with the players - otherwise, it's much better to just find something else to play.

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17 minutes ago, Matrim said:

Thanks for the comments all, the article has actually just been re-written to clear out some of the nastier rules issues that have been pointed out and no doubt is now equally wrong but in totally different areas.

It has been a useful exercise just in clearing up 'how' things work for me.

Oh it will be wrong. This system is obscure to say the least. Especially when it comes to opportunity spending, everything is different and there are no standards, it can get absolutely mind boggling.

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Hey, I really like the revamped fight examples! Sent this to my players for them to learn a thing or two ;)

One thing still (sorry!).. it seems Masako applies a critical strike from bleeding even if she's not incapacitated. The way I read it, while her fatigue is still less than or equal to her endurance, she just takes damage from kept strife on her checks, but this damage does not provoke a crit (any more than regular damage does). The only difference with regular damage is that resistance from armor or other does not reduce it. Only if such damage would normally provoke a crit, i.e. on an incapacitated character, do they then suffer one of deadliness = their current fatigue.

EDIT: that critical strike from bleeding wounds can be resisted by a Fitness check normally... with the risk of rolling strife on that check!

It is worth noting that, since incapacitated characters cannot take actions that require checks, such crits from bleeding only occur during a resistance check.

Edited by Franwax

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1. I think in fight 2, Masako is supposed to take bleeding damage when she strikes immediately after she starts bleeding, with 3 strife results on the dice.

2. Minor point, but when you say, "her fatigue is now less than half her endurance total", it's actually exactly half (which still prevents use of Calming Breath, but it may be worth pointing out that fact).

3. Where in the book is the rule that you get a bonus -1 to TN for one round when unmasking during a skirmish?  I see the "reveal an opening" option that gives opponents the -1 TN to attack you, but the only benefit I see is the removal of strife.  I could be missing it, though.  But I'm not sure why your mind would be any clearer post-unmasking than at the beginning of combat before taking any strife.

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