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Fritti

Commune with the Spirits details

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Hello,

Our group is completely new to L5R and we started with the Beginner's Box including the premade characters. We had a blast and therefore decided to continue on to the DLC adventure, but before we did that we had the PCs remake their characters using the "complete" rules.

Isawa Aki chose to include the ritual "Commune with the Spirits" as a technique, and hence my questions:

  • The generic rituals piece suggests that this is a downtime activity and only in GM approved cases can it be done otherwise. However it does not say how much time a ritual really takes. This can be important to adjucate the time other characters can spend while Isawa is busy. Is there a guideline?
  • Actually maybe not a rules question, but related -- the detection of kami, or the spiritual knowledge given, depend on the manner and amount of kami in the area. Considering they are in the palace of the Emerald Champion, would it be expected that every room has a different amount of kami ? The range bands suggest it is quite a limited area per ritual. However this would imply that Isawa could potentially take the time to search through all chambers for a clue separately. Of course we agreed to not go that far, but I do wonder about the "limits" as provided by the setting.

Thanks for any guidance!

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2 hours ago, Fritti said:
  • The generic rituals piece suggests that this is a downtime activity and only in GM approved cases can it be done otherwise. However it does not say how much time a ritual really takes. This can be important to adjucate the time other characters can spend while Isawa is busy. Is there a guideline?

Downtime is a specific type of scene covered on page. 248,

Essentially, it is a long scene (lasting a few hours at least) during which a character may perform one downtime activity,

As a consequence, each other character may perform one downtime activity while Aki performs his ritual.

2 hours ago, Fritti said:
  • Actually maybe not a rules question, but related -- the detection of kami, or the spiritual knowledge given, depend on the manner and amount of kami in the area. Considering they are in the palace of the Emerald Champion, would it be expected that every room has a different amount of kami ? The range bands suggest it is quite a limited area per ritual. However this would imply that Isawa could potentially take the time to search through all chambers for a clue separately. Of course we agreed to not go that far, but I do wonder about the "limits" as provided by the setting.

I think I'm correct in saying that the setting assumes that kami are pretty much everywhere, and that this issue is more finding a helpful kami with the right information rather than finding a kami at all,

Though I must confess that I'm less sure on this last point, so someone else may want to confirm or dispute that,

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Well, while most Rituals indeed are performed as a downtime activity, Commune with the Spirits is unique in that it can be activated as a "downtime activity or Support action". So it could conceivably happen much faster... I suppose that depends on what you're trying to achieve.

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1 minute ago, Franwax said:

Well, while most Rituals indeed are performed as a downtime activity, Commune with the Spirits is unique in that it can be activated as a "downtime activity or Support action". So it could conceivably happen much faster... I suppose that depends on what you're trying to achieve.

Ah, I missed that - that seems weird as there seems to be no incentive to perform the ritual in any other way,

Rituals don't seem to benefit from the channeling rule, but performing it as a Support Action is still going to be much stronger unless I'm missing something?

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3 minutes ago, gareth_lazelle said:

Ah, I missed that - that seems weird as there seems to be no incentive to perform the ritual in any other way,

Rituals don't seem to benefit from the channeling rule, but performing it as a Support Action is still going to be much stronger unless I'm missing something?

it is strong.

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I think it should be a matter of narrative context. If you are trying to pray at an ancestor’s altar to get to talk to them, burning incense and all, then it’s going to take at least half an hour if not more... if your goal is just to sense what kind of Kami are in the vicinity, a round is probably sufficient. 

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EE has some good info on what it takes to purify yourself and approach a sacred space/kami. It's NOT something you just do casually as a 5 minute exercise of washing your hands and brushing your teeth. Its a multi-step process and probably takes the better part of an hour even when you are under controlled and advantageous conditions. Unfavorable conditions? Could be a lot longer...

I am somewhat confused by the fact that the ritual is both a down time and a support action. I hadn't noticed that before. And that does not entirely compute with with me.

I think I would handle it that:

if (a) you are Communing to detect the presence of the Kami or the supernatural as a L5R version of "Detect Magic" then that probably only take a support action. All you are really doing is opening yourself up to the Supernatural World.

(b) If you were witnessing an active kami/spirit then it might only be a support action to learn a fact about it. But if you are not facing an active Kami, then its a full downtime action to purify yourself, get the kami's attention and get it to "talk" to you...

(c) If you are looking for a Gift then that is always a downtime activity.

Hasn't come up with me, but I think that's how I'd deal with it. My 2 cents...

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On 2/8/2019 at 6:16 AM, Void Crane said:

I am somewhat confused by the fact that the ritual is both a down time and a support action. I hadn't noticed that before. And that does not entirely compute with with me. 

I can't remember where it is in the book, but I thought there was a passage about the kami being challenging to communicate with outside of tense or epic moments (ie. any non narrative scenes). It's the reason why shugenja can't cast certain spells outside of conflict scenes or can't cast spells multiple times.

I think you are correct in how casting should be adjudicated. In this case, requiring a ritual outside of combat for the desired effect.

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On 2/7/2019 at 3:15 PM, gareth_lazelle said:

Ah, I missed that - that seems weird as there seems to be no incentive to perform the ritual in any other way,

Rituals don't seem to benefit from the channeling rule, but performing it as a Support Action is still going to be much stronger unless I'm missing something?

It just means that you can perform it in a downtime scene.

A support action is only something you can do in a conflict scene (you can't heal or destress with warrior's/courtier's resolve outside a conflict, for example)

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