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Isawa_Amon

Spiritual backlash targets

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Hello,

I have quick make sure question about spiritual backlash in fire stance. When I cast for example Fury of Osano-wo with 4 successes and 4 strifes, the range of spell is 0-4 (base)...spiritual backlash for fire Invocation says "The technique targets each character in range." Does the Invocation then target the casting shugenja itself as well? If yes then the range of an invocation like The Fires from Within is 1-3...doesnt target casting shugenja itself right?

And the last question after this :) ...Biting Steel has range 0-1...with spiritual backlash gets bonus everyone around casting shugenja?

Thank you for your answers and opinions!

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Fury of Osano-Wo and Fires From Within: correct - includes the caster and does not include the caster respectively.

Biting Steel: Spiritual Backlash from a Fire invocation targets characters, not items - nor any items characters hold. By a literal reading of the rules (which I'd go with myself) the backlash does nothing in this case other than at the GM's discretion set the terrain on fire across range bands 0-2 (I'd have this happen). The backlash targets characters, the invocation doesn't affect characters, for me that means it doesn't do anything. This one's a bit ambiguous though.

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3 hours ago, nameless ronin said:

Fury of Osano-Wo and Fires From Within: correct - includes the caster and does not include the caster respectively.

Biting Steel: Spiritual Backlash from a Fire invocation targets characters, not items - nor any items characters hold. By a literal reading of the rules (which I'd go with myself) the backlash does nothing in this case other than at the GM's discretion set the terrain on fire across range bands 0-2 (I'd have this happen). The backlash targets characters, the invocation doesn't affect characters, for me that means it doesn't do anything. This one's a bit ambiguous though.

those backlashes; ambiguous mechanics, predictable effects, abusable results.

high five, let's print it.

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2 hours ago, Avatar111 said:

those backlashes; ambiguous mechanics, predictable effects, abusable results.

high five, let's print it.

It's not super ambiguous (just be literal in your interpretation) and I like the concept of spiritual backlash, so I'm not complaining too much about this one. ;) There's bigger fish to fry in terms of less than stellar execution.

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17 hours ago, nameless ronin said:

Fury of Osano-Wo and Fires From Within: correct - includes the caster and does not include the caster respectively.

Biting Steel: Spiritual Backlash from a Fire invocation targets characters, not items - nor any items characters hold. By a literal reading of the rules (which I'd go with myself) the backlash does nothing in this case other than at the GM's discretion set the terrain on fire across range bands 0-2 (I'd have this happen). The backlash targets characters, the invocation doesn't affect characters, for me that means it doesn't do anything. This one's a bit ambiguous though.

Thank you, good point!

14 hours ago, Avatar111 said:

those backlashes; ambiguous mechanics, predictable effects, abusable results.

high five, let's print it.

You sound really salty...no reason for that...no game is perfect and some groups like more mechanical approach than others. ;)

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4 minutes ago, Isawa_Amon said:

Thank you, good point!

You sound really salty...no reason for that...no game is perfect and some groups like more mechanical approach than others. ;)

salty ? no.

more like "facepalm mood" ? :)

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On 2/26/2019 at 6:28 AM, nameless ronin said:

I like the concept of spiritual backlash, so I'm not complaining too much about this one.

In fairness, unlike most system "miscasts", it will rarely come off too badly, simply because it requires 3 strife on kept dice, therefore can only ever occur with the casting shujenga's agreement. 

It's not like early 40k RPG "Perils of the Warp" where your character can spontaneously explode into a hostile unbound daemonhost whilst trying to heal a minor flesh wound in another PC.

Which was, admittedly, quite funny for me as the GM, but didn't do the campaign any good.

 

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11 minutes ago, Magnus Grendel said:

In fairness, unlike most system "miscasts", it will rarely come off too badly, simply because it requires 3 strife on kept dice, therefore can only ever occur with the casting shujenga's agreement. 

 

Here is the whole issue, since it happens only if the Shugenja wants it to happen, and since the effect is known in advance. It is a trash mechanic that doesn't serve its intended purpose.

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35 minutes ago, Avatar111 said:

Here is the whole issue, since it happens only if the Shugenja wants it to happen, and since the effect is known in advance. It is a trash mechanic that doesn't serve its intended purpose.

I kind of doubt the intended purpose was to provide a significant drawback. If so, the other tech categories should probably also have one and they don't - even if they don't have a small boon like using offerings either. Backlash doesn't do much, but I don't think it was ever meant to.

 

54 minutes ago, Magnus Grendel said:

In fairness, unlike most system "miscasts", it will rarely come off too badly, simply because it requires 3 strife on kept dice, therefore can only ever occur with the casting shujenga's agreement. 

It's not like early 40k RPG "Perils of the Warp" where your character can spontaneously explode into a hostile unbound daemonhost whilst trying to heal a minor flesh wound in another PC.

Which was, admittedly, quite funny for me as the GM, but didn't do the campaign any good.

After a couple of sessions during which probably 4 out of every 5 player rolls resulted in a failure, I can't say I'm really enamored with the Warhammer system. ūüėõ¬† Beautiful rulebooks, shoddy mechanics. And warptastic side-effects didn't help, no.¬†

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1 minute ago, Avatar111 said:

hmmm, what does that reminds me of...

Honestly, by my reckoning 40K's mechanics are worse. I think they are fundamentally flawed. L5R 5th's are not essentially unsound, but they are in some instances badly executed and in more simply not developed and improved enough.

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1 hour ago, Avatar111 said:

hmmm, what does that reminds me of...

If you think L5R is mechanically unsound, I should show you my 40k Adeptus Mechanicus that could be ambushed by a genestealer and not only survive but use it to bash a second genestealer while shooting a third in the face by like the second adventure. This required no combo or build creativity on my part, mind you - I did this just following the talent tree that was right there in the class page. And Adeptus Mechanicus don't have the Psyker problem of "ooops, bad roll, your head blew up."

40k (and WHFRPG) suffer A LOT from the fact that characters can be ridiculously useless until they get a good amount of experience under their belt and the game being ridiculously lethal, meaning there's a good likelihood of them not living long enough to EARN that experience.

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1 hour ago, nameless ronin said:

Honestly, by my reckoning 40K's mechanics are worse. I think they are fundamentally flawed. L5R 5th's are not essentially unsound, but they are in some instances badly executed and in more simply not developed and improved enough.

L5R's problem is that the devs expect you to play the game as the setting expects you to, but don't go into enough detail of THAT in the Core book. Well, and Pelting Hail Style, I guess. D&D 3.5 suffered from a similar issue, where the devs expected your wizard to cast Fireball and not just CC all the encounters into oblivion.

40k/WHF's mechanics suffer from a basic mechanics issue, which is that you're rolling against your skill (mostly) without enemy ability coming into play, meaning that everyone sucks until you can level those things up and when you do you're basically playing rocket tag with the enemies, because it's possible to do like half a gazillion damage in one hit.

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l5r suffer from convoluted rules (honestly, they could cut a third of the crap in there and the game would still be fun if not better, and run smother)m awful editing, and not enough testing generally, mainly for their core system like opportunities, secondary stats, advantages...
sure there will always be the busted technique here and there, and the incomprehensible decisions (predit and center actions, duels)

its just unfinished. I don't mind an unbalanced thing here and there, but not the CORE system!
 

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2 hours ago, JBento said:

L5R's problem is that the devs expect you to play the game as the setting expects you to, but don't go into enough detail of THAT in the Core book. Well, and Pelting Hail Style, I guess. D&D 3.5 suffered from a similar issue, where the devs expected your wizard to cast Fireball and not just CC all the encounters into oblivion.

I'm not entirely sure about this, though it certainly goes in the right direction. I think they do expect the setting to guide gameplay, but that rarely works out in any system and - as you say - they definitely should have gone into more detail about the setting for that. Playing as the setting expects you might be taking it a little bit too far however, even if that depends on what you think setting expectations are. There are certainly incentives to play to the honorable samurai stereotype, but given the differences between the clans one samurai's "proper" behavior might be quite different from another's.

Regardless, playing to societal conventions doesn't fix how vague advantages and disadvantages are defined in terms of when/how often they come up, or that there are a few strife management exploits that direct actions/behaviour in purely mechanical ways, or that duels are barely functional, and so on. I definitely use honor and (even more so) glory penalties to keep the characters in line, but that doesn't help with mechanical issues. Honor penalties are also something more pragmatic characters don't really care about.

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10 hours ago, nameless ronin said:

Honor penalties are also something more pragmatic characters don't really care about.

But see, THIS is an issue. If you're playing a character that doesn't care about their HGS score, then you are fundamentally not playing a L5R Samurai. You're just using some of its rule system to play something else.

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14 minutes ago, JBento said:

But see, THIS is an issue. If you're playing a character that doesn't care about their HGS score, then you are fundamentally not playing a L5R Samurai. You're just using some of its rule system to play something else.

I think you can definitely play some characters that avoids, or are less into, honor. These characters are also the high earth and water ring ones.

 

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16 minutes ago, Avatar111 said:

I think you can definitely play some characters that avoids, or are less into, honor. These characters are also the high earth and water ring ones.

 

If you mean the Honour TENET, then yes - that's the entire Scorpion shtick. If you mean the Honour score, then no. Or rather, yes, but you're no longer playing a L5R proper Samurai.

The thing about L5R is that societal norms are very much mandatory. In other settings, when a noble says they're much better than the peasantry they're (almost always) full of crap. In L5R? That's true and no one would dispute it - they have more divine blood in them. In the same vein, a Samurai with a low Honour score is never a loveable rake - they're a dishonourable cur universally shunned.

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8 minutes ago, JBento said:

If you mean the Honour TENET, then yes - that's the entire Scorpion shtick. If you mean the Honour score, then no. Or rather, yes, but you're no longer playing a L5R proper Samurai.

The thing about L5R is that societal norms are very much mandatory. In other settings, when a noble says they're much better than the peasantry they're (almost always) full of crap. In L5R? That's true and no one would dispute it - they have more divine blood in them. In the same vein, a Samurai with a low Honour score is never a loveable rake - they're a dishonourable cur universally shunned.

I think that part is mostly straightforward.

The difficulty arises if you have an Iuchi Shugenja with a bisento in your game.

Can he be called to a challenge (in skirmish?)

Above is just one of the thousands of relatively unclear interaction that both the core book and EE don't explain. And I understand they never can explain everything, but some general guideline would be welcome.

Aside from not having kata a shugenja can do whatever a bushi does? But with spells on top?

Yeah some people are saying "well you are a shugenja, you shouldn't wear armor and a polearm"

Well you know what? Why not?

Anyway, aside those random rambling, definitely the backlash from invocations should be slightly more randomized. I think my houserule makes it more interesting and is also more easily understandable.

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Because that's not the way things are done, and Kami are REAAAALLLLY fond of the way things are done. The Celestial Order isn't just some nebulous stuff your local spiritual leader talks about, it's there and it's strictly enforced by both people and spirits.

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2 hours ago, JBento said:

But see, THIS is an issue. If you're playing a character that doesn't care about their HGS score, then you are fundamentally not playing a L5R Samurai. You're just using some of its rule system to play something else.

There is one thing in the entire system that penalizes a low Honor score, and that's getting hit with extra flaws. And of course, that same section in the rules shows it's technically possible to have your honor drop to zero. You can play a shinobi if you want, which is pretty darn dishonorable.

That said, I've looked through the NPCs in Emerald Empire and a few have made me question the designers' choices. Example :"Chinoko, Deceitful Geisha" is described as Kolat assassin, spy and crime boss who loathes the Celestial Order. Her honor is at 28. Her status is at 30.

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On 3/7/2019 at 2:05 AM, nameless ronin said:

There are certainly incentives to play to the honorable samurai stereotype, but given the differences between the clans one samurai's "proper" behavior might be quite different from another's.ÔĽŅ

Very much so. i recall discussing this at one point with @AK_Aramis and figuring out that in the right circumstances, a scorpion clan samurai could be ordered to murder a higher-status noble in cold blood and actually come out with an honour increase, for example. 

On 3/7/2019 at 2:05 AM, nameless ronin said:

I definitely use honor and (even more so) glory penalties to keep the characters in line, but that doesn't help with mechanical issues. Honor penalties are also something more pragmatic characters don't really care about.

It depends how readily you bring in flaw disadvantages in game, I guess. If players start struggling to talk other characters into doing things because they're trying to fight their way past Disdain For and Whispers Of negative rerolls, they should get the picture....of course, by that time, it's arguably too late to do much about it. 

18 hours ago, Avatar111 said:

Can he be called to a challenge (in skirmish?)

It very much dependson situation and challenger. If you're a combatant, then you're a legitimate target to attack, which means you're a legitimate target to challenge.

Some shujenga would claim "I'm a non-combatant, my champion will handle it" but the moment you step on the battlefield and are swinging a polearm around, I would say you forfeit your right to be considered a non-combatant.

18 hours ago, Avatar111 said:

Aside from not having kata a shugenja can do whatever a bushi does? But with spells on top?

Yeah some people are saying "well you are a shugenja, you shouldn't wear armor and a polearm"

Well you know what? Why not?ÔĽŅ

I've not seen anyone claim that - I certainly wouldn't. A lot of RPG systems have a starting assumption that wizards don't wear armour because of [handwave] rules that means it interferes with spellcasting. 

Invocations aren't magic. They're essentially a prayer to grab the attention of a nearby Kami, point at an enemy and say "Get 'Im, Kevin!"* - taking shortcuts, or having steel in your hands and trying to fend off an opponent whilst invoking the kami, or being in blood- and mud-spattered ashigaru armour rather than purified robes may make you less appealing, which might, in theory, lead to an invocation being a touch harder, but that's a GM call depending on circumstances and there's certainly no reason that a Shujenga can't wear full plate with a polearm. It may not be in their starting gear but if they're about their lord's business then it's just a courtesy check or two away.

16 hours ago, nameless ronin said:

That said, I've looked through the NPCs in Emerald Empire and a few have made me question the designers' choices. Example :"Chinoko, Deceitful Geisha" is described as Kolat assassin, spy and crime boss who loathes the Celestial Order. Her honor is at 28. Her status is at 30.

Yeah, there are some really questionable rankings in NPCs. A similar one jumps out in Wedding at Kyotei Castle, where a local Daimyo's bodyguard has a higher status than his boss.

Higher honour and glory, fine - dude is a famous warrior and the relative impact of fighting with or against a Fire 4, Earth 4, Void 4, Martial 4 nutjob in plated armour, who can shop out his Ring and Skill ranks to allies in the vicinity is one of the main reasons to seriously consider supporting a particular faction in the adventure. But status is a seperate value and there's no way a retainer should ever have a higher status than the person they're a retainer to. 

 

 

 

 

* Kami may not actually be called Kevin.

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56 minutes ago, Magnus Grendel said:

I've not seen anyone claim that - I certainly wouldn't. A lot of RPG systems have a starting assumption that wizards don't wear armour because of [handwave] rules that means it interferes with spellcasting. 

Invocations aren't magic. They're essentially a prayer to grab the attention of a nearby Kami, point at an enemy and say "Get 'Im, Kevin!"* - taking shortcuts, or having steel in your hands and trying to fend off an opponent whilst invoking the kami, or being in blood- and mud-spattered ashigaru armour rather than purified robes may make you less appealing, which might, in theory, lead to an invocation being a touch harder, but that's a GM call depending on circumstances and there's certainly no reason that a Shujenga can't wear full plate with a polearm. It may not be in their starting gear but if they're about their lord's business then it's just a courtesy check or two away.

In the previous timeline there were at least a couple of shugenja that were somewhat martial - Isawa Tsuke was the Master of Fire and also one of the best duellists in Phoenix Lands.  He carried his katana around with him, and seemed more Gandalf than D&D mage.  Then there was that Unicorn much later who was the general of one of their armies (I forget their name and even gender, alas).

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