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KingHades

Revised Equipment Tables

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Hello all,

Here is my best attempt to better balance the melee weapons and armor in the game. I have attached an Excel document with the changes. What I have changed is marked in red text.

I feel that my adjustments to the weapons are in line with the philosophy/ design of the various weapon types and encourage more weapon diversity. I have also added the ninjato because I don't think it makes sense for shinobi to kill using weapons that are easily identifiable as samurai weapons when most people deny that shinobi even exist in Rokugan.

I feel that my adjustments to the armor table better reflect common sense. I don't think common clothing should offer any resistance to blows and I certainly don't believe that ashigaru armor should be only marginally more protective than simple traveling clothes. I have also added Monk's Clothes to reflect the dual focus of the typical monk as well as to create something for monks and non-shugenja priests to wear while travelling and performing their duties.

I plan to use these in my L5R campaign and hope some of you will as well. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts as well, be they supportive or critical.

 

Revised Equipment table.xlsx

Edited by KingHades
I forgot to mark one of my changes to the "Knife" entry.

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Howdy Kinghades, I haven't played this game nearly enough yet to know what is truly balanced, so I'm curious about your reasoning for readjusting the armor stats.  Can you talk me through those decisions?  Is it a "perceived realism" thing or a game balance thing?  Simulation or narration?  Et cetera.

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Hi! On my side, while I like the inclusion of a ninjato, I’m concerned that Concealable + Deadliness 5 would make it a bit too good for characters who will very likely have access to Deadly Sting. I know the butterfly sword in the Mantis DLC already allows the same thing, but that thing is just broken so it’s not a very good benchmark...

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13 hours ago, Franwax said:

Hi! On my side, while I like the inclusion of a ninjato, I’m concerned that Concealable + Deadliness 5 would make it a bit too good for characters who will very likely have access to Deadly Sting. I know the butterfly sword in the Mantis DLC already allows the same thing, but that thing is just broken so it’s not a very good benchmark...

Yep, butterfly sword is the best sword in the game.

I don't think any other weapon needs a nerf, except maybe the knife and bisento and daikyu, but each would need to be very minor nerfs as I cannot consider them "broken".

Maybe the knife is if you allow the auto-sheath after using a iaijutsu kata.

Edited by Avatar111

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7 hours ago, BrickSteelhead said:

Howdy Kinghades, I haven't played this game nearly enough yet to know what is truly balanced, so I'm curious about your reasoning for readjusting the armor stats.  Can you talk me through those decisions?  Is it a "perceived realism" thing or a game balance thing?  Simulation or narration?  Et cetera.

My primary goal with the weapons was to better balance them and encourage player characters to use weapons other than a katana and/or wakizashi. My second goal was to be slightly more realistic.

The bokken is essentially just a fancy club devoid of metal, so I reduced the 2-hand damage. The dao is underpowered, so I revised it like Avatar 111 did. I think it has potential to shine in a dual wield build (probably ronin). For the zanbato, I simply adjusted it to match the errata. For the masakari, I thought an axe should do a little more damage, but followed the overall trend of the designers where only weapons with the Razaor-Edged quality get "Deadliness +2" when 2-handed. For the club, it did way too much damage for such a simple, cheap weapon. It should be equivalent to a bokken- a heavy wooden stick. The hammer was also just a bit too good for a generic tool/ non-weapon. So I adjusted it so that when 2-handed, it was more comparable to the damage of an otsuchi or bo. I also renamed it to "Mace" because it is the only "tool" on the list and East Asian cultures used maces in war for centuries.

For the knife, making it Razor-Edged makes no sense. The book goes out of its way to say that Razor-Edged weapons like the katana and wakizashi require special smiths to sharpen. People sharpen knives with a whestone. Not to mention that 2-handing a knife is pretty awkward/ uncommon outside of old European dueling styles. For the bisento, the weapon is described/ depicted as being weighty and unwieldy...so why is it the only polearm that can be used one-handed? I got rid of that and made the stats more comparable to the naginata. It doesn't have Razor-Edged so it shouldn't be as deadly, but a heavy polearm should do better base damage like an ono. For the bo, it was simply too good. A cheap, basic two-handed club with reach should not be that attractive as a weapon choice. A part of me thinks it should be 4 damage instead of 5, but...we'll see.

As for the ninjato, I based it very closely on the wakizashi, but took away Razor-Edged and reduced the Deadliness increase when two-handing. This and Concealability make it ideal for stealth attack critical strikes. It is 1 damage and 1 deadliness higher than a knife, which seems pretty reasonable to me from a balance standpoint. Before my revisions, you could make a stealth attack with a knife 2-handed at Deadliness 6 with Concealable. At least with my revisions and the addition of the ninjato, it's a little more realistic. And if a Kitsuki closely examines the wound, they won't recognize it as the distinctively clear cut of a wakizashi employed by a noble samurai.

I hope that makes sense.

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For the armor section, I wanted things to just make more sense/ be more realistic. So I decided the basic clothing gives you no protection against weapon attacks and made traveling clothes the most basic form of protection at a physical resistance of 1. Otherwise traveling clothes effectively protect you from a knife attack (Damage of 2) unless the attacker gets bonus successes. That just made no sense to me. I also thought it made no sense for traveling clothes to be as useful armor-wise as concealed armor. Once I made that decision, I felt I should get rid of the physical resistance on sanctified robes as well (realism). This also makes concealed armor a more attractive choice now that it is the only armor with physical resistance 2. I also like that there is now more of a jump in protection when graduating from traveling clothes to ashigaru armor.

The only other adjustment I made was to add supernatural resistance 1 to lacquered armor. I feel this is thematically appropriate since the description states this armor is made to look very attractive, represent the highest ideals of your clan, and has the Ceremonial quality. This powerful tie to the clan ancestors actually grants a bit of resistance to supernatural effects. I thought this was a neat idea and makes sanctified robes less lonely when it comes to resisting supernatural effects. As for the monk clothes, I explained my reasoning above (for the most part.) If shugenja and shrine protectors get sanctified robes, I feel common Brotherhood monks and non-shugenja priests should have more durable, less spiritually protected clothing to offer them a bit of protection.

I hope that makes my reasoning for both revisions clear.

(Like Avatar111, I feel the only adjustment the ranged weapons needed is to add Cumbersome to the horsebow and daikyu when not used while mounted on a horse. So I didn't bother making a sheet for them.)

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3 hours ago, KingHades said:

For the bisento, the weapon is described/ depicted as being weighty and unwieldy...so why is it the only polearm that can be used one-handed? I got rid of that and made the stats more comparable to the naginata. It doesn't have Razor-Edged so it shouldn't be as deadly, but a heavy polearm should do better base damage like an ono.

This does make a lot of sense.. Actually in previous editions, the bisento was dealing hands down more damage than the naginata. While I don't recommend upping the DMG beyond 6, I am wondering what would make anyone take this over a naginata now. One thing that the 5e rules had made interesting was the ability to have varied range (by switching your grip). Maybe we could keep that while not allowing single-handed grips? Make it DMG 6 / DLS 5 and range 1-2, to account for the fact that you can wield this with your main hand closer to the blade (which is not canon for a naginata)?

3 hours ago, KingHades said:

stealth attack critical strikes.

What do you call 'stealth attack critical strikes'? So far, unless the target is unconscious/sleeping, I have seen nothing that indicates that an unaware target cannot defend against a strike normally (i.e. take fatigue). Or do you refer to Veiled Menace style, that allows to do crits on unaware targets for one opportunity?

Edited by Franwax

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The Core Rulebook states if a character "cannot [defend against that damage], they suffer a critical strike with severity based on the damage source." Other voices on these forums have stated that a target cannot effectively defend against an attack/ attacker which they are unaware of.  I agree with this and plan to use it in my own game. In this case, it comes down to the attacker equaling or exceeding the target's Vigilance trait. So a stealthy attacker must roll an Air+Fitness check at a TN=> the target's Vigilance. If successful, the next attack is a critical strike. Or perhaps, the stealth attack Strike TN must => the target's Vigilance in order to count as a critical strike. It all depends on how you want it to play at your table since the book is ambiguous. But it makes ambushes deadly and ninja/ shinobi deadly and effective and terrifying....as they should be. There are multiple reasons that Rokugani samurai laud honorable combat and despise stealthy ambushes- the primary one being that the majority of samurai (aside from the Hida) have a pretty good chance of being killed by a semi-skilled ninja/ shinobi if caught unaware, especially while unarmored.

When it comes to Veiled Menace Style, I think the benefit is simply that using that kata is the only way to INCREASE the severity of a critical strike (unless the weapon has Razor-Edged). And to be able to use it against a Dazed target, even if they are aware of you.

Edited by KingHades
I forgot a relevant rule.

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9 hours ago, Franwax said:

While I don't recommend upping the DMG beyond 6, I am wondering what would make anyone take [the bisento] over a naginata now.

 

 

There are a few reasons to use a bisento over a naginata. 

1. The book states that the naginata is treated with nearly the same reverence as a katana and is created by the same weaponsmiths. Hence the Ceremonial and Razor-Edged qualities. So only samurai can use a naginata. For non-noble sohei (warrior monks) and peasant militia, the bisento is a solid option.

2. Bisento also has Durable, whereas naginata does not. Naginata also has Razor-Edged, which means against heavily armored enemies like a Crab samurai in plated armor using Striking as Earth, it may become damaged. So Bisento is a little more dependable against heavy armor at the cost of slightly less severe critical strikes.

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47 minutes ago, KingHades said:

The Core Rulebook states if a character "cannot [defend against that damage], they suffer a critical strike with severity based on the damage source." Other voices on these forums have stated that a target cannot effectively defend against an attack/ attacker which they are unaware of.  I agree with this and plan to use it in my own game. In this case, it comes down to the attacker equaling or exceeding the target's Vigilance trait. So a stealthy attacker must roll an Air+Fitness check at a TN=> the target's Vigilance. If successful, the next attack is a critical strike. Or perhaps, the stealth attack Strike TN must => the target's Vigilance in order to count as a critical strike. It all depends on how you want it to play at your table since the book is ambiguous. But it makes ambushes deadly and ninja/ shinobi deadly and effective and terrifying....as they should be. There are multiple reasons that Rokugani samurai laud honorable combat and despise stealthy ambushes- the primary one being that the majority of samurai (aside from the Hida) have a pretty good chance of being killed by a semi-skilled ninja/ shinobi if caught unaware, especially while unarmored.

When it comes to Veiled Menace Style, I think the benefit is simply that using that kata is the only way to INCREASE the severity of a critical strike. And to be able to use it against a Dazed target, even if they are aware of you.

Veiled Menace Style can double crit with 3opp on a successful strike action. It have its uses, but probably not intended.

If you use it just for a single crit, it is basically -1opp to crit vs unaware/disoriented target. Seems a bit boring for a technique and not really what it should be for THE assassination kata (aside ninjutsu rank 4)... It does kind of give "razor-edged" like deadliness to weapon without the trait.

 

Otherwise, if your target is "totally unaware of their surroundings" he counts as unconscious (as written in the unconscious condition). He can spend a void point to roll an initiative though (probably using vigilance) and not get crit at +10 before the combat starts.

Now, what counts as aware and not aware. If you are being shot by an archer in the wood that you don't see, are you just "unaware" or are you "totally unaware of your surroundings".

ambiguous. you are right. kind of getting used to it with this game though. it was built on solid ideas, but executed very poorly. Its a shame really, and the designers (if there are any left on the project) have been radio silence for months.

imo though, there are no "sneak attacks" in this game. sneak attacks are basically using focus initiative vs their vigilance initiative. "unaware" can simply mean that the target doesn't see you (for whatever reason). But you can still defend.

so for an auto-crit at +10 severity, you would need to be "totally unaware of your surroundings" which you can rule in whenever you want I suppose. 

 

 

Edited by Avatar111

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For the Bisento, the 1hand is probably meant to represent the fighting style. a Bisento is more of a chinese weapon.

Do you know the video game "for honor" ? you have a samurai with a naginata and she almost never uses 1hand, but then you have a chinese general with a bisento and the way he swings he uses the momentum of the heavier blade and hold the polearm with one hand nearer the blade a lot.
Thats the only "reason" I can think of.
Otherwise, is the Bisento OP in l5r ? I don't think so... Razor-edged can easily apply bleeding on crit, and helps for finishing blows in Clashes(or warrior's duels), so theres that going for it. Being able to use the weapon with 1 hand to reduce the range by 1 is nothing really amazing. it CAN be useful, but it isn't THAT useful. So probably the Bisento is, depending on the fight, is on about the same level of power as the Naginata.

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The Knife is really good for its price, but again, not OP.
it is busted for only 1 reason I can think for; you can use it with Iaijutsu Kata. Consider Crossing Cut, range 1-2. FOR A KNIFE. that puts out only 1 less damage than a katana, and that you can auto-sheath right after the Iai kata because "concealable".
THAT is busted.

so yeah, remove razor-edge from the knife so you cannot use it with Iai Kata, or otherwise make it unable to be used with Iai Kata. That is the only nerf it needs.

I prefer to just make Iai kata only activatable using razor-edged Swords. it also safe proof against some other cheesy trick like using Iai kata with a razor-edged bisento...

Edited by Avatar111

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2 hours ago, Avatar111 said:

imo though, there are no "sneak attacks" in this game. sneak attacks are basically using focus initiative vs their vigilance initiative. "unaware" can simply mean that the target doesn't see you (for whatever reason). But you can still defend.

That’s how I read it too. It’s perfectly house-ruleable mind you (using Vigilance as a TN is a good way), but it really is a stretch of interpretation to consider an target that’s merely unaware of the attacker as unable to defend. 

It also does reduce the value of Veiled Menace. It’s still situationally useful but the way it’s worded is, in my view, a clear indication that the rules as intended meant for unaware targets to be able to defend. (Unless they are, as Avatar said, completely unaware of their surroundings, but that’s quite different - more like blinded with a sack over one’s head and cotton stuffed in one’s ears). 

Veiled Menace always came across as the sneak attack Kata to me. It still requires one opportunity, which is more than 0...

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33 minutes ago, Franwax said:

That’s how I read it too. It’s perfectly house-ruleable mind you (using Vigilance as a TN is a good way), but it really is a stretch of interpretation to consider an target that’s merely unaware of the attacker as unable to defend. 

It also does reduce the value of Veiled Menace. It’s still situationally useful but the way it’s worded is, in my view, a clear indication that the rules as intended meant for unaware targets to be able to defend. (Unless they are, as Avatar said, completely unaware of their surroundings, but that’s quite different - more like blinded with a sack over one’s head and cotton stuffed in one’s ears). 

Veiled Menace always came across as the sneak attack Kata to me. It still requires one opportunity, which is more than 0...

veiled menace is better than I initially thought...

you can basically crit with ANY attack action using this kata: iaijutsu, thunderclap, soaring slice and others. (actually, if you really read the wording AS IS, it might not work with Iai katas).

 

it also depends how lax you are with "unaware". if you are flanking, behind an opponent engaged with somebody else, is he "unaware" of you ?

I think i'll play with "unaware" being "don't know where you are". but that is... debatable because "unaware" is not explained in game terms.

Edited by Avatar111

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4 hours ago, Avatar111 said:

I think i'll play with "unaware" being "don't know where you are". but that is... debatable because "unaware" is not explained in game terms.

Yup, this would have been worthwhile to describe as a condition, since some techniques and school abilities rely on it. 

Using a “plain English” approach, it could either be:

- the target does not know where you are, as you said, or

- the target does not know that you are here / that someone is about to strike them. 

I would say the standard definition is closer to the second one but it’s fuzzy. 

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On 2/18/2019 at 5:49 AM, Franwax said:

Using a “plain English” approach, it could either be:

- the target does not know where you are, as you said, or

- the target does not know that you are here / that someone is about to strike them. 

I would say the standard definition is closer to the second one but it’s fuzzy. 

Whilst most uses of the term just use the word "unaware", Path of Shadows (the Shosuro School Ability) is rather more forthcoming with text, and specifiies "unaware of your presence", so your victim has to not even know you were there prior to the strike, not just have lost track of you or been disoriented or otherwise surprised by the attack*. 

If that is intended to be the meaning of the term, I would assume @Franwax is correct, but as noted it's not proved either way.

 

* Well....it also triggers off Compromised, Incapacitated or Unconcious, but those are seperate triggers and not relevant to the argument.

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