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AkodoAoki

Dueling Question?

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Hi

I have just started trying to work out how to play this new version and do not find the book is very good at explaining some of its mechanics.

Can anyone point me to some examples of play by plays for skirishes, duels and mass combat? Thanks!

 

My understanding of a duel at the moment is:

 

Players roll Initiative.. Meditation (base initiative)

Players then take it in turns performing actions (to modify theirs or their opponents strife levles) and acquiring more strife to modify their base initiative up to their focus value

When a player to become comprismised or unmasked both players strike..

The player with the highest combind initiative from all the rounds strikes 1st..

Is this right or wrong, the book really confuses the heck out of me!

 

 

 

Edited by AkodoAoki

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You kinda skipped the middle chunk.

13 hours ago, AkodoAoki said:

Hi

I have just started trying to work out how to play this new version and do not find the book is very good at explaining some of its mechanics.

Can anyone point me to some examples of play by plays for skirishes, duels and mass combat? Thanks!

 

My understanding of a duel at the moment is:

 

Players roll Initiative.. Meditation (base initiative)

Players then take it in turns performing actions (to modify theirs or their opponents strife levles) and acquiring more strife to modify their base initiative up to their focus value

Not every action has to modify strife levels (though certainly can depending on how you roll). Note that not every duel is a single-strike duel. In this edition Duel is essentially 1v1 combat with an objective to perform.

13 hours ago, AkodoAoki said:

When a player to become comprismised or unmasked both players strike..

The player with the highest combind initiative from all the rounds strikes 1st..

Is this right or wrong, the book really confuses the heck out of me!

This is wrong.

As finishing blow notes, the first time Shiba Al becomes compromised or unmasks, Daidoji Ben gets a finishing blow. Initiative has nothing at all to do with the Finishing Blow itself. I'm not sure where you get the combined initiative from all rounds part.

Basically, here's a finishing blow example:

Shiba Al's turn. He's in... Air stance. He decides to Strike.

Shiba Al has Air 2 and Martial Arts Melee 1. So he assembles a dice pool of 2 Ring (black) and 1 Skill (white) die. DOn't ask me why he's in this duel with these stats, he just is.

Shiba Al rolls: Success/Strife, Success/Strife, Explosion/Strife.

Now Shiba Al has to choose which dice to keep. He's at 10/10 Strife, and you always have to keep minimum of 1 die. But since he's wanting to hit, he keeps Success/Strife and Explosion/Strife.

Next you resolve the Explosion: Opportunity. Then choose if you want to keep it, which he does.

Next you resolve the Strife: 12/10, causing him to become Compromised for the first time in the match.

Now Daidoji Bob gets to interrupt with his Finishing Blow. He may make an attack action with any readied weapon. He thinks this is hilarious, so he uses Strike with a punch. He's got Fire 3 and Martial Arts Unarmed 1. So 3 black, 1 white.

He does great and gets: Explosion, Explosion/Strife, Opportunity, Success. He keeps 2 Explosions and 1 success.

Resolve Explosions: Success/Strife, Success/Strife. He keeps both.

Resolve Strife: Because he's been keeping it cool, he's now at 7/8 strife.

Resolve Opportunity: Inflicts 2 strife on Al for fun.

Resolve Successes: 5 successes against TN 2. He succeeds with 3 bonus, plus thanks to Fire stance, 3 more bonus successes. Punch is deadliness 2, so double that for Finishing Blow to 4, plus his 6 bonus successes equals 10 Severity.

Shiba Al gets a resist roll: 2 Fitness 1 Air: Success/Strife, Blank, Explosion/Strife. He is compromised, so he can't keep any Strife results. He keeps the blank die, weeping silently.

A 10-severity critical results in a Maiming Blow.

Daidoji Bob's punch lands solidly in Al's windpipe, giving him Bleeding and the scar disadvantage Muteness.

GG, Shiba Al.

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lets get deeeeper into how the rules are badly written;

if i'm in fire stance in a duel, and i'm getting "crit" by my opponent.
i then roll my fitness/fire to resist the crit. i get 1 opportunity that i use to put 2 strifes on my opponent.
these 2 strife put my opponent over his composure so i then get a finishing blow.
does the finishing blow happen before i receive the critical strike ? or after ? and if it happen before, does the critical strike resume after i perform my finishing blow? even if my finishing blow downright kill my opponent in one shot (presumably)?

i know the answer, but i like to trick you guys. enjoy finding the answer in their messy rulebook!

Edited by Avatar111

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hmm ok thanks...

Quote

Additionally, after receiving this strife, each character
who is not Compromised may bid additional strife
to increase their initiative value for that round. To bid,
each participating character secretly chooses a number
between 0 and their focus attribute. Then, all
simultaneously reveal their number, and each suffers
that amount of strife, and adds it to their
initiative for the round.

-page 259 Core Book

 

This Is where I got initiative thing from..  I just assumed that each round this must accumulate.. or what is the point of taking mutiple rounds and taking turns.

Why wouldn't you just win Initiative and strike?

 

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8 minutes ago, AkodoAoki said:

hmm ok thanks...

-page 259 Core Book

 

This Is where I got initiative thing from..  I just assumed that each round this must accumulate.. or what is the point of taking mutiple rounds and taking turns.

Why wouldn't you just win Initiative and strike?

 

Isn't that the point of a duel ? draw&strike fast? which is what make the "staredown" super important? which in turn can potentially put you on the border of losing composure if you bid too much?
at least this is how I see it.

(We won't get into the details of iaijutsu, ritualized, duels here. For simplicity's sake, lets say we are talking about a duel to the death. After understanding those, you can go further into added rules with duels that are won by critical strikes etc. And to be fair, duels to the death are the best duels in this game, and, arguably, the only non-broken ones)

Edited by Avatar111

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Mechanically I do not see the point in taking turns after the stare down...  win initiative, strike your opponent.. win the duel..

i'm clearly missing something...These rules just confuse me...  maybe I just need to stick with 4E

 

 

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18 minutes ago, AkodoAoki said:

Mechanically I do not see the point in taking turns after the stare down...  win initiative, strike your opponent.. win the duel..

i'm clearly missing something...These rules just confuse me...  maybe I just need to stick with 4E

 

 

You will not win a duel to the death on first turn unless you are a total badass. (Don't get into duels to first crit until you fully understand dueling as a whole, they work on a totally different mindset and are, arguably, really dull with the rules as written).

So, back to those "duel to the death".

How do you intend to win this with one strike? The opponent can choose a stance too btw!

And winning the initiative, as we mentioned above, is not that guaranteed.

And is your weapon sheated?

 

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if you ask, cause you seem like a fiery one.

For Iajutsu duels (to first strike/blood) your opponent just need to stay in earth stance. Nothing you can do to win unless you incapacitate him and you won't do that in one strike while, obviously, staying in earth stance yourself.

Edited by Avatar111

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And honestly, you do not want a duel to last more than 2-3 rounds. It would be too long and tedious for everybody else at the table.

Though it CAN happen, it should not be the norm.

So aim for a round 2 or 3 win, by the beginning of round three, most probably somebody will be incapacitated or above composure.

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thanks for the help..

I'm stll not seeing the point in it.... beside a more experienced player knowing how to "game" the stances better to screw over the player who doesn't know as much as his/her character would..

Thanks for trying though, I do appreciate your effort

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14 minutes ago, AkodoAoki said:

thanks for the help..

I'm stll not seeing the point in it.... beside a more experienced player knowing how to "game" the stances better to screw over the player who doesn't know as much as his/her character would..

Thanks for trying though, I do appreciate your effort

Point is moot though. You won't win the duel in one round.

And, you will learn the 5 rings, stances, soon enough.

Can you tell me how you would envision a duel to be? Round by round? Like, what are you exactly trying to say it should be?

And ultimately, how does a duel to the death differ from what you envision? Answer; they are exactly as you want them. There is no bs in duels to the death. They are pure. And NO you won't win them in one strike.

Edited by Avatar111

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I don’t really invision anything, I’m just trying to understand how they work and why...

Your examples have help immensely..   I’m sure it will all come together for me eventually..

At the moment tho I look at it like I look at the way damage is delt and think what were they smoking

Edited by AkodoAoki

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Hey there! For damage and critical strikes, try and check out one or two topics below that one “spending Void point and critical strike”. It has some good intuitions on how to understand “damage” (which is not really damage tbh) and what a connecting strike actually is. 

Then, duels and the various objectives (first strike, first blood, death) start making a bit more sense. 

Long story short, as Avatar said, it’s nigh impossible to land a killing blow in the first round of the duel, and totally impossible to inflict any critical strike (which are victory conditions in pretty much any duel) on an opponent in Earth stance that is not incapacitated. 

From there, we usually reach a counter intuitive spot that, for first strike/blood duels, initiative (and bidding Strife in staredown) matters little. You’d rather sit in Earth stance and take advantage little Strife as possible. Then trade blows and try to make the other guy incapacitated before becoming compromised yourself (remember, each duelist takes Strife equal to the number of the round each round: at the 3rd round of a duel, both sides will have taken a total of 6 Strife!)

Also, if you don’t have an Iaijutsu cut technique, you usually won’t draw and strike in turn 1, unless you’re in Water stance (and then, you’re vulnerable to being critted yourself). Though if you’re confident in your abilities and your adversary foolishly did not pick Earth stance to begin with, you can win a first strike duel in round 1 by goons Water stance, drawing and striking, and hoping to succeed with 2 opportunities to land a winning crit... in this case you may want to spend some Strife to secure initiative, but that’s a borderline case. 

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3 hours ago, AkodoAoki said:

Mechanically I do not see the point in taking turns after the stare down...  win initiative, strike your opponent.. win the duel..

i'm clearly missing something...These rules just confuse me...  maybe I just need to stick with 4E

 

 

Remember that if you're doing an Iaijutsu duel, on your attack roll, you're going to need to keep 2 Successes (or 3 if your opponent is in Air Stance) AND 2 opportunities to trigger the critical on Strike. Otherwise, you may as well not even swing.

If you're not doing an Iaijutsu duel, for example a Sparring Match which goes to Incapacitation, then you have multiple rounds to go through, and you don't want to accumulate too much strife or you give your opponent a critical chance.

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1 hour ago, Hida Jitenno said:

Remember that if you're doing an Iaijutsu duel, on your attack roll, you're going to need to keep 2 Successes (or 3 if your opponent is in Air Stance) AND 2 opportunities to trigger the critical on Strike. Otherwise, you may as well not even swing.

If you're not doing an Iaijutsu duel, for example a Sparring Match which goes to Incapacitation, then you have multiple rounds to go through, and you don't want to accumulate too much strife or you give your opponent a critical chance.

Oh and do note that the Iaijutsu strike techniques do NOT allow a crit for two opportunities (this goes with the regular Strike action). So in round one, even if you can Iai-hit your opponent, you're just going to inflict fatigue - BUT it can be quite a lot: crossing blade is based on the weapon's deadliness + bonus successes, and opportunities on a razor-edged weapon (like a Katana) can increase said Deadliness, so it means both bonus successes and opportunities increase the damage. And so do Strife symbols if you're in Fire stance!

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5 hours ago, Hida Jitenno said:

Remember that if you're doing an Iaijutsu duel, on your attack roll, you're going to need to keep 2 Successes (or 3 if your opponent is in Air Stance) AND 2 opportunities to trigger the critical on Strike. Otherwise, you may as well not even swing.

No, you still want to swing. Every turn you want to swing. Because your best way (read; the only way, if you play against a smart opponent who stays in earth stance) is to put your opponent incapacitated.

The staredown can become important when one duelist knows that the next strike will put him incapacitated.

Earth ini (unless the opponent have low water and his weapon is not drawn).

Then Earth crossing cut (unless the opponent have low water and his weapon is not drawn)

Then Earth strike each turn.

If you happen to fall behind your opponent in the fatigue race, you will need to gamble something (which will vary depending on both duelists composure levels, but probably a fire strike in the hope to put him as close to being compromised as possible, or incapacitated if you have enough composure left yourself to feed your fire strike).

Edit; if you face a backyard duelist with low earth and low composure. You probably won if you yourself have a good earth ring and crossing cut. At least, the odds are comfortably on your side.

Edited by Avatar111

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It’s true the optimal strategy in most duels is to turn them into a slug fest... not your very canonical one draw - one strike duel.

I could imagine a very ritualized form of Iaijutsu duel (meaning even more formal than the one described in the book) where the only actions authorized would be Center and Predict. And so on, until the finishing blow. That would be closer to what fictions have depicted time and again!

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I have some sympathies for the rules designers. Dueling is not an easy thing to simply into compelling mechanics.

I theory you could have a meditation, stare down phase where people essentially roll initiative. Followed by one attack roll. For a total of 2 rolls to represent the duel. (And really you could also just do One attack roll, perhaps giving a +1 kept success for an iajatsu technique). But IME players won't long be happy with such a rule because sooo much chance comes into play on that one roll. To be consistently "good" at dueling (a fairly common PC desire) then requires either a lot of optimization (if that's even possible) or just praying to the dice gods. Better duelists get beaten by lesser duelists when ever they have one bad roll.  That doesn't embraces the spirit of L5R. My opinion.

The alternative is a system that might requires 4-6 rolls (not too many, other PCs are on the sidelines!) which tends to produce a bell curve of outcomes and smooths out some of the randomness. The better duelist more consistently wins ... most of the time. And I'm not surprised that this is basically what we have.

But as Franwax and Avatar note in detail it does not map very well to the "cinematic" reality we want duels to have.  

 

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23 minutes ago, Void Crane said:

I have some sympathies for the rules designers. Dueling is not an easy thing to simply into compelling mechanics.

I theory you could have a meditation, stare down phase where people essentially roll initiative. Followed by one attack roll. For a total of 2 rolls to represent the duel. (And really you could also just do One attack roll, perhaps giving a +1 kept success for an iajatsu technique). But IME players won't long be happy with such a rule because sooo much chance comes into play on that one roll. To be consistently "good" at dueling (a fairly common PC desire) then requires either a lot of optimization (if that's even possible) or just praying to the dice gods. Better duelists get beaten by lesser duelists when ever they have one bad roll.  That doesn't embraces the spirit of L5R. My opinion.

The alternative is a system that might requires 4-6 rolls (not too many, other PCs are on the sidelines!) which tends to produce a bell curve of outcomes and smooths out some of the randomness. The better duelist more consistently wins ... most of the time. And I'm not surprised that this is basically what we have.

But as Franwax and Avatar note in detail it does not map very well to the "cinematic" reality we want duels to have.  

 

To be fair, the duel rules in the game are really amazing.

They unfortunately have some kinks, or problems, but the core of the idea is fantastic.

--the rules are easily neutered with the use of... A big earth ring. Mostly, that is the issue. At a certain skill level, not staying in earth stance basically mean you lose right away. So you have all those duel rules, and you can block everything with... A basic stance? Smash in earth stance all day?--

And the problems are fixable without changing much of the rules. 

Mostly, the offenders are predict and center actions (which are both almost useless, and arguably, unfun to represent the mindgame fantasy of samurai duels).

But despite my hundreds of posts and reflections about the duel rules, I think the idea of them is genius. They just lacked playtesting and polish (like most of the game to be fair...).

It got rushed near the end... I think. And now they mostly abandoned the support, unfortunately.

Edited by Avatar111

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Also, to discuss about your idea of "amount of roll", I think 4-5 or 6 is a good amount.

My issue is mostly about how some ways of "gaming" the system can be too efficient.

Like. The designers knew earth stance was in the game. They knew you needed a critical hit to win an iaijutsu duel. But then, you put no way of beating earth stance and you don't allow iaijutsu strike to crit...

They have slots for new actions; predict and center.

There is SO much they could have made these action be, to create a better gameplay.

Predict and Center, as written, are both weak, and in the case of Center, also literally unfun. Both these actions probably should have been game changing actions that support the duel mechanics (finishing blow and staredown).

Fix/change the predict and center rules and everything will probably fall into place and be amazing.

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If you like dueling in 4e (the cinematic, single cut/strike duel type) you could try the custom mechanics I wrote here in the forums. Alternatively you could go with opposed rolls between duelists which is an easy way of solving duels.

The duel system imho is a mess. Tries to cover different kind of competitions and fails at the most iconic one. I think it could have been designed a lot better. One of the flaws of an, otherwise, decent system.

Edited by Shosur0

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8 minutes ago, Shosur0 said:

If you like dueling in 4e (the cinematic, single cut/strike duel type) you could try the custom mechanics I wrote here in the forums. Alternatively you could go with opposed rolls between duelists which is an easy way of solving duels.

The duel system imho is a mess. Tries to cover different kind of competitions and fails at the most iconic one. I think it could have been designed a lot better. One of the flaws of an, otherwise, decent system.

There are many things to like about dueling in previous editions, as I'm a huge fan of the mind games and "powering up" for that final epic strike. I'm less thrilled about the complicated flow chart that was necessary to understand all of the steps and how time consuming it was for a limited number of combatants at the table. I'll agree that the current system isn't great for the iconic iaijutsu duel to the death (absolutely needing a final strike after 2-3+ rounds), but I think it's flexible enough to work fairly well for all other types of duels.

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5 minutes ago, T_Kageyasu said:

I'll agree that the current system isn't great for the iconic iaijutsu duel to the death (absolutely needing a final strike after 2-3+ rounds), but I think it's flexible enough to work fairly well for all other types of duels.

I think you meant; "it isn't great for Iaijutsu Duels"
Because for duels to the death, the current system is really good.

It falls flat in these areas; Iaijutsu Duels (hello earth stance).

It also have two actions, Predict and Center, that are nearly useless.

But, for duel to the death, with each opponent striking at each other, putting strife, healing strife, doing small critical hits and/or fatigue damage etc... It will probably end up in 2-3 rounds at maximum when one of the combatant is incapacitated or a finishing blow is triggered.
IMO duel to the death are very fun. Had absolutely no issue with them and the fantasy of them.

Edited by Avatar111

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