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gareth_lazelle

NPC Conflict Ranks

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The Humble Peasant and Desperate Bandit have the same conflict ranks, while the latter has better stats all round. If there is a formula, it's definitely not an exact science. I'm fairly sure it's more of an eyeball thing. Which is perfectly fine - first because in my experience the circumstances often matter as much as the actual stats when it comes to NPCs; second because there's really no expectation in this game of what a typical party should or should not be able to do, so how big a challenge any given NPC poses to a specific group of PCs is complete guesswork anyway. I think it's good that there are sample NPCs and templates and that there is a basic framework to build appropriate encounters, but this isn't D&D. That section really should come with a bigger disclaimer about it only being a starting point, not something to follow to the letter. 

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Yeah, I think it has to be pretty approximate because PC rank only tenuously links to PC capability (PCs are encouraged to improve rank quite a bit by talents they receive automatically which scale with rank, but it's by no means necessarily that they spend XP in the most efficient way when it comes to rank - you can potentially have a high-skill/ring party of only moderate rank and similarly if your PCs sink a lot of XP into Techniques instead of skills they can have a high rank without having the skills or rings to back it up),

That and PC rank isn't split into combat/court values ;)

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I have honestly found it a bit hard to balance encounters and the conflict ranks seem far from precise. A rank 1 Hida bushi in full armor can make short work of 3 desperate bandits and hold his own against 4, unless the dice are severely against him.

On the other hand, a series of dice explosions at the right/wrong time (depending on who's perspective you're on) can quickly turn the tide one way or another.

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16 minutes ago, Franwax said:

I have honestly found it a bit hard to balance encounters and the conflict ranks seem far from precise. A rank 1 Hida bushi in full armor can make short work of 3 desperate bandits and hold his own against 4, unless the dice are severely against him.

On the other hand, a series of dice explosions at the right/wrong time (depending on who's perspective you're on) can quickly turn the tide one way or another.

The game is supposed to be about samurai drama more than samurai action adventure. ;) I don't think tight balance was very high on the list of requirements for the devs. Things are kinda ok at first with PCs straight out of character creation but if they have say, about 60 xp or more under their belt and could be low second rank but also low third and they might have built up their strengths or shored up their weaknesses things are definitely fuzzy. I don't think you can properly run the same adventure for different groups without making some fairly big adjustments to allow for the different characters and to give them a chance to shine.

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10 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

The game is supposed to be about samurai drama more than samurai action adventure. ;)

Oh yes, sure, and I am fine with that! This was just an example of how fuzzy the conflict ranks were (and I was talking about an out-of-the-box Hida bushi, wiping the floor with a combat encounter = 4 times their school rank).

It does require a fair deal of hand waving and on the fly adaptation ;)

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True, but then the Hida Bushi is pretty much tailor-made for squishing a bunch of grunts who have to incapabitate them to actually do any meaningful damage. 

It's like they're trained and equipped to hold some sort of fortified position against a large, ill-trained non-samurai army. Why would anyone do that? 😁

Something like a Warrior Monk (a Military 4 adversary) who can knock you on your backside and then pound your face in with Damage 10 unarmed attacks would be rather more of a threat...

 

Conflict ranks are always going to be a bit vague. As @gareth_lazelle says, an 'average' rank 1 PC character can be anything from an inoffensive adventure 1, day 1, peasant family courtier to a mirumoto with a nemurani daisho who's only still rank 1 because she keeps spending XP on ring increases and out-of-school techniques. 

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