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eScoub

Finally beginning and lots of questions.

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Here we are. After weeks of postponing our RPG session, we're finally playing this weekend. The players created their characters last time we had the chance to meet, and 2 of them will have characters I created according to the description they gave me. So basically, PC have rings from 1 to 3 with various combinations. I'm planning to run the Topaz Championship in order to regroup the PC, as they come from various clans, and they might work as yoriki for an emerald magistrate after that, or go for a one-year musha shugyo across the Empire, depending on their choices.

But right now, I'm looking for feedback on the beginner's box scenario: did you play it with the core rules or with the beginner's box characters ? Because I feel that rolling 2 ring dices + 1 skill dice won't often get you 2 successes. L5R has always been hard with beginning characters (try rolling a 15 with 2K1 d10...)

Did your PCs managed to win any test ?

Also, I bought EE recently, and I tried to found any precise chronology in it to present the actual situation of the Empire (it would be important to me to know if the Lion champion has been killed already) but I only found a vague "century by century" timeline. Has anyone any clue where I could find these intels ?

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YMMV, but here's my take on it, 

I ran about half of the adventure in the LTP box with the pregens, and they did okay, 

The adventure isn't particularly hard, and they get XP part way for improvement, 

My players did fine on the gempuku events (by the end of day one they all had around 2/3 of the points they needed to succeed, even the scorpion, whose rolls sucked until the last event of the day), and didn't have problems anywhere else, 

Playing with full characters would, I suspect, be a walk in the park without at least beefing up some of the opposition, as the pregens are very weak by comparison (they also lack techniques that a full character would have for example, which particularly sucks for the shugenja... ). 

Edit:

Quote

Did your PCs managed to win any test ?

For sure, 

FWIW, remember void points, rerolls for distinctions, invocations have a get-around allowing you to accumulate successes until you get what you need,

And finally, teamwork is awesome - make sure your players use it, it can really boost die rolls.

Sure, your courtier may not be able to do much in combat directly against an oni, but the crab bushi can sure make use of an extra skill die (and keeping an extra dice on top), when he's wailing on it, 

And since the crab bushi is pretty much relegated to your backup providing teamwork in court, that seems fair, 

And failing that, often failed die rolls can still grant teamwork benefits to allies, 

1 hour ago, eScoub said:

Also, I bought EE recently, and I tried to found any precise chronology in it to present the actual situation of the Empire (it would be important to me to know if the Lion champion has been killed already) but I only found a vague "century by century" timeline. Has anyone any clue where I could find these intels ?

I can concur with this, EE is a really good book to have, but it isn't a good guide to current events (and as I'm not following the card game I'm not getting any information from their either, which I suspect is likely to be the best place to pick up the metaplot), 

That said, the current game seems to be designed with "do it your way" in terms of you decide who, what's going on, etc in your game. If you want the Lion clan champion dead in your game because it's convenient for your plot then go for it. 

Edited by gareth_lazelle

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1 hour ago, eScoub said:

Because I feel that rolling 2 ring dices + 1 skill dice won't often get you 2 successes. 

Oh, forgot this point, 

Remember that the chances of rolling a success or explosive success on 2R1S dice is about 50% per dice (3/6 for ring dice, 7/12 on skill dice), 

So you have a better than 50% chance of rolling 2 successes on 2R1S dice without any other factors, 

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1 hour ago, gareth_lazelle said:

Playing with full characters would, I suspect, be a walk in the park without at least beefing up some of the opposition.

Without buffing anyone (I want my players to have their grasp on the game mechanic), I planned to change a bit the last part of the scenario, making ronin trying to escape the scene (and get caught) instead of "the bad guy" (my players would fint it way too obvious, as I do) so the PC would then have to prove B.S. is guilty, working as real yoriki.

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We just finished "The Topaz Championship" this past Saturday, and we'll be starting "In the Palace of the Emerald Champion" this weekend. While my wife and I have played 4th edition before, none of us were experienced with FFG's system prior to starting, and the other five players have never played in this setting before.

Everyone used the beginner box characters, and we all had a blast. Things dragged a bit with the tests, but the tension was high. Most of the players did fine, with two even getting enough points to complete their gempukku on the first day. One narrowly finished by the end of the second, and one actually missed it by a single point—which gave me the chance to have Akodo Eiko and Kakita Tashimoko intercede on her behalf after they captured Bayushi Sugai. (Without the help of the previous Topaz Champion, in fact.)

There were some surprises. Isawa Aki ended up winning the championship, blowing Kakita Riku out of the water with three bonus successes. Bayushi Kyo had earlier managed to acquire a small vial of poison, and they slipped it to Sugai before he was led away, allowing him to kill himself in captivity rather than spill Hitoshi's secret.

But the chase through Tsuma went well, they beat down the ronin after getting almost wiped in the earlier sake house brawl, and Sugai trying to get away didn't seem to bother anybody.

As to your question about chronology, the lack of official (or even unofficial) resources to address that question is annoying. However, I've been piecing together a timeline myself, and I'm pretty sure the Topaz Championship either happened shortly before Akodo Arasou is killed at Toshi Ranbo, or it happened concurrently. So word would not have reached Tsuma yet.

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5 hours ago, eScoub said:

Also, I bought EE recently, and I tried to found any precise chronology in it to present the actual situation of the Empire (it would be important to me to know if the Lion champion has been killed already) but I only found a vague "century by century" timeline. Has anyone any clue where I could find these intels ?

4 hours ago, gareth_lazelle said:

(and as I'm not following the card game I'm not getting any information from their either, which I suspect is likely to be the best place to pick up the metaplot)

2 hours ago, CaptainRaspberry said:

As to your question about chronology, the lack of official (or even unofficial) resources to address that question is annoying.

The timeline of recent events (including your question about the Lion Champion) is fully covered in the official short fictions line that started about 18 months ago. You can find it in these two treads, with links and in theoretical reading order. Most of it can be found on this website in a messed-up order (see 3rd link), but even for the fictions that only came as part of the card game, everything is in these 2 fan lists, either in scans or re-written on nicer format. In fact, this is a recommended read for both players and GM.

https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/283778-all-fiction-in-pdf-in-chronological-reading-order/

https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/258529-fiction-library/      (This one includes characters, so you can search and cherry-pick specific stories)

There are also some small books being published and you can follow news on that page to know when new short fictions are published: https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/legend-of-the-five-rings-fiction/

 

Other than that, I agree with the above answers that the basic box was designed to be overcome by the watered down pre-gens, and that fully created characters will likely stomp on it. Here are a few other discussions on the subject of the basic box which might help you:

https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/285139-beginner-box-review-from-a-dnd-dm/

https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/288629-questions-regarding-topaz-championship/

 

Edited by Agasha Kanetake

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1 minute ago, Agasha Kanetake said:

The timeline of recent events (including your question about the Lion Champion) is fully covered in  the official short fictions line that started about 18 months ago

Cool, but... 

Having to read through short stories to get a timeline isn't ideal, and is a very poor option for reference during play (where you might need the information in a hurry mid-scene), 

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2 hours ago, Agasha Kanetake said:

The timeline of recent events (including your question about the Lion Champion) is fully covered in the official short fictions line that started about 18 months ago.

I really enjoy the fiction! But what I'm talking about is a literal timeline, where it describes what happens in which season of each year. For example, I can't tell from the fiction if we're up to Fall 1123 yet or still in summer.

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17 hours ago, Agasha Kanetake said:

The timeline of recent events (including your question about the Lion Champion) is fully covered in the official short fictions line that started about 18 months ago. You can find it in these two treads, with links and in theoretical reading order.

I've read it all, yes, to see how much they changed the background and I have to say I loved it.

But still, I have no idea what happened before or during the Championship.

Might be a bit different feelings between Crane and Lion PC/nPC if Arasou is dead or not.

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It very much depends when you set your story.

 

"I was honored to be the servant of Doji Satsume, the great Emerald Champion who enforced the law across the Empire. But sadly, my master died some weeks ago."

(Ryu, The Topaz Championship)

 

"That had been…a year and a half ago? So, only a few months before Satsume had stepped down as clan champion, elevating Hotaru in his place. She had never heard him comment on

the quality of her leadership of the Crane since, not even to say if it was very good.

And now he was dead."

(Doji Hotaru, Her Father's Daughter)

 

  • If you're starting with the beginner box, then the topaz championship is 'some weeks' Doji Satsume's death.
    • It lasts a couple of days, then the journey to the Emerald Fortress takes several days (let's say a week), at which time Hotaru is there.
  • It's not said how soon after his death the intro LCG fictions are, but it can't be that long. Her Father's daughter implies Hotaru's been champion less than a year.
    • We have three known locations for Hotaru in the early fictions:
      • The Palace Of The Emerald Champion (where she's sending Satsume's things on to Toshimoko in Tsuma)
      • Toshi Ranbo (where she kills Akodo Arasou)
      • Otosan Uchi (where she is for Satsume's Funeral as mentioned in Court Games)
    • We also see her on the road, arriving in Otosan Uchi, in Her Father's Daughter.
      • We don't know where she was coming from, but since she was accompanying a Crane Caravan, that implies she was coming from a Crane Holding, which in the north could be Toshi Ranbo or the valley around Kyotei Castle, or else coming to Otosan Uchi from the south.
      • That said, going from Toshi Ranbo to Otosan Uchi takes you past the Emerald Champion's castle. If she doesn't go back-and-forth, a logical route would be starting at Toshi Ranbo, then proceeding to the Emerald Fortress after her father's death, then proceeding on to the capital - which would imply Akodo Arasou's death was prior to her appearance in In the Palace Of The Emerald Champion. It may also have been prior to the Topaz Championship, but I suspect that if it was, it came close enough that a lion samurai at Tsuma wouldn't have heard of it - if you're travelling from Tsuma to the Emerald Fortress, you're travelling towards Toshi Ranbo, so someone there would here the news long before you would.
  • Court Games is probably the best 'timeline' piece we have:
    • It has Kakita Toshimoko visiting the capital to give his condolences to Hotaru 'prior to the funeral'.
    • At that time, Akodo Arasou had been slain "weeks ago"
    • The court session is declared to be the "tenth day of the month of Akodo, in the year 1123 by the Calendar of lsawa"

 

So, short version - my assessment, Arasou is probably dead by the time of the Topaz Championship, but there's no credible reason you'd have heard about it until after the championship completes. You would hear about it prior to arriving at the Emerald Fortress, though (which could make meeting Doji Hotaru.....interesting)

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To further add to the timeline:

Children Of The Empire Pt. 1 starts with The Emperor and Bayushi Shoju discussing the abdication decree from Tiger Stalks His Prey (chronologically the most recent event), and says the princes' duel happened 6 months ago.

Children Of The Empire Pt. 2 confirms Doji Satsume was present at that duel, so it's at minimum several weeks before The Topaz Championship - enough time for Doji Satsume to return to the Emerald Fortress, be there for some time (if he'd only just returned that day it would presumably have been mentioned), be murdered, and for 'some weeks' to have passed - realistically that's probably at least a month, meaning the remaining events have all happened in the space of 5 months or so....

 

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On 2/5/2019 at 4:16 AM, gareth_lazelle said:

Oh, forgot this point, 

Remember that the chances of rolling a success or explosive success on 2R1S dice is about 50% per dice (3/6 for ring dice, 7/12 on skill dice), 

So you have a better than 50% chance of rolling 2 successes on 2R1S dice without any other factors, 

Combinations: 3 of 2 dice, 3 of 1 die.

Let's tackle the 1 die kept possibilities: explosive & two non success
Explosive on black 1/6 × 1/2 × 5/12 = 5/144  then x 1/2 = 5/288
Explosive on White 1/2 × 1/2 ×1/6 = 1/24  then × 7/12 = 7/288

It's 2 on black plus 1 on white: (5+5+7)/288=17/288

on to the 2 dice...
non-success on black: 1/2 × 1/2 × 7/12 = 7/48
non-success on white: 1/2 × 1/2 × 5/12 = 5/48

So, 2 on black, one on white: (7+7+5)/48 = 19/48.
to make it in 288, it's ×6/6 = 114/48

1 case of all three. 1/2 × 1/2 × 5/12 = 5/48
Into 288: × 6/6 = 30/288.  

Adding them, (114+17+30)/288 = 161/288 = 0.559 = about 56%

 

 

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