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Victarion13

Topaz championship doubt and expirience

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Hello everyone,

I just started a new Topaz championship with totally newbie players (for that I choose to run at first this module). And it is my first time as a master (in L5R), so I would like to know your experience, and ask a couple of things.

My players made their own characters, and everyone is happy with it.

And then the tournament started...  after the first day only one character got some point (some is not the right word, he got 10 points already!), but the others: they are in the same situation as Hitoshi! (1 point). Anyone had some of this kind of experience? How did you handle this? I would love all my players to pass their gempukku, so I am thinking about low the TN in some other challenge, but not I am not sure yet. If someone had similar experience, and what have you done in that case? Also they manage to help Kitsu and she got point in Sumai, so Kitsu was trying to give them back some advice, but it was not useful (bad luck with dice of course).

Second question, also for know more about your experience and what have you done. My players would like to let Hitoshi or Kitsu win the tournament. The problem is Hitoshi: he will get a big injury (probably) because of Kakita, and all the scorpion plot. Do you think I can let them have some courtesy or other roll for make Toshimoko to think twice about "the show must go on"?

Thank you for all your replies. And sorry for my English.

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It might help to know what helped that 1 player get the 10 points and which contest.  that player may have just overspecialized and the other players might have the same issue in other challenges.

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With the pregenerated characters odds are decent they'll pass, and regular characters should be a bit stronger than those. Did those players with only one point just have poor rolls all the time? Dice are random, but I'd expect at least 3 points for everyone without some really bad luck. These are standard characters, created using the normal rules? Have they been using void points?

Regardless, it's a bit tricky. I don't like taking the chance of failure off the table, the players need to know things can go wrong, but for total newbies it would suck to experience defeat so quickly. Remember to keep in mind they'll get XP before the 2nd day of the competition. It's not a big deal, but it can help with one or two events - make sure they know what's planned on day two (their characters should certainly know that). Spending that xp on skills that will come up the next day might help them get a few more points. I think if I were you I wouldn't change the contest to make it easier to pass, but it's your table and your players. Regardless of what you do, you can always allow players to create a new character for the next adventure if they're a bit disappointed.

As for the second question: it'd be really weird for the PCs to want to help someone else win, unless maybe it's someone from the same clan. Wanting everyone to succeed is one thing (and Hitoshi will pass, unless a PC prevents it), but the victory? This is an extremely prestigious event. It's really not in keeping with bushido to want to tamper with the outcome, and I can't think of any argument convincing enough to make Toshimoko consider not having it proceed normally (or as normally as possible, given what's happened).

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2 hours ago, NeoSamurai said:

It might help to know what helped that 1 player get the 10 points and which contest.  that player may have just overspecialized and the other players might have the same issue in other challenges.

Very good luck, and also one time he also got the right approach.

So, he always made 3 or more success, always using Air (because he has 3 in it), and he always made from 3 to 5 success every time. So well, very good luck. Everyone is using the same dice set (mine), so I don't know.

51 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

With the pregenerated characters odds are decent they'll pass, and regular characters should be a bit stronger than those. Did those players with only one point just have poor rolls all the time? Dice are random, but I'd expect at least 3 points for everyone without some really bad luck. These are standard characters, created using the normal rules? Have they been using void points?

VERY BAD LUCK. Some of them used void points, but not all. They never got more than 1 success...

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29 minutes ago, Alisair Longreach said:

Even if a character loses too many tests he/she can still succeed by being part of the group that stops the modules bad guy and "pass" the Gempuku for having acted as a real Samurai.

This is true. The players might feel this is something of a cheap cop-out or be disappointed with the results of the events and think their character isn't good enough, but they shouldn't worry (explain this if necessary!). If Kakita Toshimoko pronounces you worthy, not a soul in the empire will question this - in fact, you'll be the envy of most other young samurai for having had the opportunity to show your mettle like that. As for the character not being strong enough, given how the tests are set up you'd have passed if you hadn't gotten unlucky. Pray for a better roll of the dice next time. 

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5 hours ago, nameless ronin said:

This is true. The players might feel this is something of a cheap cop-out or be disappointed with the results of the events and think their character isn't good enough, but they shouldn't worry (explain this if necessary!). If Kakita Toshimoko pronounces you worthy, not a soul in the empire will question this - in fact, you'll be the envy of most other young samurai for having had the opportunity to show your mettle like that. As for the character not being strong enough, given how the tests are set up you'd have passed if you hadn't gotten unlucky. Pray for a better roll of the dice next time. 

On the other hand, it's a good opportunity for roleplay. How DOES your character feel about having passed via, shall we say, non-standard methods? If they feel unworthy, do they wallow in pessimism, or do they continuous take the most dangerous route in an effort to prove their worth to themselves, if no-one else? Conversely, does that twist of fate make them believe they are lucky, and regardless of everything things will work out for them in the end at any situation?

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22 hours ago, Victarion13 said:

Very good luck, and also one time he also got the right approach.

So, he always made 3 or more success, always using Air (because he has 3 in it), and he always made from 3 to 5 success every time. So well, very good luck. Everyone is using the same dice set (mine), so I don't know.

VERY BAD LUCK. Some of them used void points, but not all. They never got more than 1 success...

How did the other players match up in their character's stats and approaches?  Additionally, how were the rolls in comparison outside of those for the tournament?

also, how much Strife is being garnered per player per roll and scene. with that many successes there's an awful strong possibility for Unmaskings.

and because the possibility is there for not interpreting the dice accurately...how are dice rolled and how long are they kept on the table for you to verify?

the pics on the dice can be a bit confusing for new players and they should sit in open view until everyone gets used to them.

 

Edited by NeoSamurai

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36 minutes ago, NeoSamurai said:

How did the other players match up in their character's stats and approaches?  Additionally, how were the rolls in comparison outside of those for the tournament?

also, how much Strife is being garnered per player per roll and scene. with that many successes there's an awful strong possibility for Unmaskings.

and because the possibility is there for not interpreting the dice accurately...how are dice rolled and how long are they kept on the table for you to verify?

the pics on the dice can be a bit confusing for new players and they should sit in open view until everyone gets used to them.

At the start they tried to use the sensei's favorite approach, but after 2 times they stop and just use more dice. Also everyone have one or two ring with 3 dice.

Outside the tournament the dice roll were normal, I suppose. 

With a very high composture, the player with so many success had no unmask, until the night with the bandit (and lose honor and glory doing so).

They roll in front of me, and let me explain them the symbol, and they always ask me how many dice they can keep or not. Also against strife they often use opportunities, especially during the tournament. 

So yeah, just very good luck from one part and very bad luck on the other...

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16 hours ago, JBento said:

On the other hand, it's a good opportunity for roleplay. How DOES your character feel about having passed via, shall we say, non-standard methods? If they feel unworthy, do they wallow in pessimism, or do they continuous take the most dangerous route in an effort to prove their worth to themselves, if no-one else? Conversely, does that twist of fate make them believe they are lucky, and regardless of everything things will work out for them in the end at any situation?

Indeed. It's a good opportunity for a future intrigue to have a rival courtier wanting to provoke them insult them about being given an undeserved 'pity gempukku' by the crane out of compassion and courtesy..... one should always keep a few in-character raw nerves to poke. 

 

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9 hours ago, Victarion13 said:

At the start they tried to use the sensei's favorite approach, but after 2 times they stop and just use more dice. Also everyone have one or two ring with 3 dice.

Outside the tournament the dice roll were normal, I suppose. 

With a very high composture, the player with so many success had no unmask, until the night with the bandit (and lose honor and glory doing so).

They roll in front of me, and let me explain them the symbol, and they always ask me how many dice they can keep or not. Also against strife they often use opportunities, especially during the tournament. 

So yeah, just very good luck from one part and very bad luck on the other...

yeah, it looks like going for more dice was the best route and luck held really well.
 

if the tournament issue wasn't at stake, I'd go with a general lowering of the TNs--but that doesn't really level anything out and just eases the successes for the lucky player.

what might be an option is decreasing and lowering the TN based off the RP/description of the individual PC actions.  other than that, it's probably best to go with what was suggested earlier about the story resolution--if they should succeed against Sugai. 

If you want to try to take the sting out of that consolation (probably a bad term) gempuku you could add some encounters in the chase calling back to the tests that the other PCs didn't accomplish.  That would require some going back out of game and adding details (i.e. you failed the heraldry test because you couldn't identify X-Mon which has X-feature...and look! one of Sugai's dudes has forged mon that only has 1 of those features--or something like that). sort of a lessons learned thing.

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10 hours ago, NeoSamurai said:

If you want to try to take the sting out of that consolation (probably a bad term) gempuku you could add some encounters in the chase calling back to the tests that the other PCs didn't accomplish.  That would require some going back out of game and adding details (i.e. you failed the heraldry test because you couldn't identify X-Mon which has X-feature...and look! one of Sugai's dudes has forged mon that only has 1 of those features--or something like that). sort of a lessons learned thing.

I really love this idea! Thanks!

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A little update: they manage to pass their gempukku. Mostly with 9 points (good approach and be the best in the LAW exam, for example), only one with 8 points.

The Kakita goes wild again and got 16 points in total in the end.

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I am really surprised they are scraping by like that. I just started running this game last week and so far two out of four players have already passed after day one - and the others are very much in the safe zone to make it as well.

One of the highlights for me: A unicorn winning the 'etiquette' event.... eat your heart out Crane etc ;)

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11 hours ago, Derk_g said:

I am really surprised they are scraping by like that. I just started running this game last week and so far two out of four players have already passed after day one - and the others are very much in the safe zone to make it as well.

One of the highlights for me: A unicorn winning the 'etiquette' event.... eat your heart out Crane etc ;)

A Moto? ;D

Anyway, when the dices are against you... nothing much you can do.

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18 hours ago, Derk_g said:

One of the highlights for me: A unicorn winning the 'etiquette' event.... eat your heart out Crane etc

Reminds me of the quote from "Flying Chariot, Standing"  - ironically also a Unicorn story - "I said I wasn't interested in it. It doesn't mean I'm not good at it."

 

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My sister did language studies at uni (same as our parents). There were, naturally, students from all over the country in her faculty - all with their own dialect from their home region. The ones from regions with the heaviest, most pronounced dialects were always the ones learning to speak according to the official norms the fastest and best; the ones with less noticeable dialects always took longer shaking those smaller deviations from the norm. 

Unicorns know they're still considered near-outsiders, and they're surely not above using their reputation for foreign and exotic customs to their advantage when it suits them. But they also know Rokugan is a highly formal society and that they have to work harder than anyone to conform. Being able to adjust and present themselves the very best way comes naturally to Unicorn diplomats. It's the dice rolls shaking out how they did, I know, but to me it's kind of fitting in its own way as well.

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