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2 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

I would have preferred the ancestries to be all about being a roleplaying hook or point of interest and not have too much overt mechanical benefits. In fact, it feels kind of odd they're such an uneven bunch given how much advantages and disadvantages have been streamlined and made to be formulaic. I like they're now a non-optional part of character creation, but it would have been a much stronger step in the process if the flavor aspect was pushed more. Now it's another way for players to wrangle some extra power from the system in many cases.

Shadowlands has more... and the hooks are a little stronger. I expect each other regional sourcebook will likewise have more.

The two strongest are, IMO: Glorious Sacrifice, for the heirloom, Which need not actually be a nemurani - tho if it is, it's the GM's call on it, and Stolen Knowledge... but all the options seem to be 2 to 6 XP worth (since the skills don't allow violating the level 3 starting limit).

The corebook ones are intentionally a bit vague, I suspect. This is a standard design pattern for FFG (and the industry as a whole). Still, they are interesting enough to work from. At least, if one bothers to make note of column 2.

I would have liked each to have a corresponding disad, too... pick between one embracing it and one rejecting it... but my players don't mind at all playing it. Like the Kuni with Skullduggery...

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9 minutes ago, AK_Aramis said:

The two strongest are, IMO: Glorious Sacrifice, for the heirloom, Which need not actually be a nemurani - tho if it is, it's the GM's call on it, and Stolen Knowledge... but all the options seem to be 2 to 6 XP worth (since the skills don't allow violating the level 3 starting limit).

The corebook ones are intentionally a bit vague, I suspect. This is a standard design pattern for FFG (and the industry as a whole). Still, they are interesting enough to work from. At least, if one bothers to make note of column 2.

Famous Deed is the one where you actually get the heirloom - Glorious Sacrifice is the one where you might recover it later on, or not.

I don't think "vague" is the right word here. They're actually very specific. It's because of that that the roleplaying value gets drowned out a bit. Changeling - the Lost 2nd ed has tons of this type of thing going on during character creation, but the non-mechanical possibilities of each choice get underlined each step of the way. Capharnaüm has tons of tables that essentially consist of [you did this or that; get a +1 to whatever], but at least before each set of such tables there's a paragraph or two outlining this is really your background you're creating. FFG's Star Wars and the Free League's Coriolis go into character concepts, and even a super crunchy system like Shadowrun throws a bone towards fluffiness here and there. The twenty questions, for a narrative RPG seem so very regimented, even if several questions are "come up with something about your character relating to X". Maybe it's just me.

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1 hour ago, AK_Aramis said:

Elevated for service means expectations will either be higher (Following the footsteps) or lower (You always fail to live up to your ancestors).

Or maybe a bit of stigma from higher-status samurai within the Family who still see your bit of the family as jumped-up peasants who shouldn't have be treated as equals by real members of the Buke.

 

1 hour ago, AK_Aramis said:

The 2nd collumn of the table isn't surplus material. It is RP Hooks and backstory inspiration. Every bit as important as the 3rd and 4th columns.

Agreed. The group I'm running at home has a Glorious Sacrifice - which was recent enough that people within living memory knew her, so it will come up - a Ruthless Victor who (now they're outside the immediate environs of the family they were raised in) they're going to discover was basically a "send in the next wave" soviet type rather than the hero they were painted as within said family, and a Dynasty Builder where the character pointedly wants absolutely nothing to do with the traditional career that his family.

 

1 hour ago, AK_Aramis said:

If anything, Imperial Lineage is the LEAST interesting of the bunch. And the least powerful. It prevents outright attempts to kill you by anyone who isn't higher status.

Actually, it's the other way around - higher status characters (50+) won't want to kill you because it looks bad in the courts (not that they might not try to get someone of lower status to do it on their behalf to keep their hands clean). Lower status ones either don't understand or don't care. 

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4 hours ago, AK_Aramis said:

If you find them boring, it's because you're not working the background into play.

Someone who picks "Ruthless Victor" as an ancestor should be reacting to it - either embracing it, or explicitly rejecting it, or possibly in-play struggling over it. NPCs should, if they know the lineage, make reference to it.

Elevated for service means expectations will either be higher (Following the footsteps) or lower (You always fail to live up to your ancestors).

Each of them has RP potential. If anything, Imperial Lineage is the LEAST interesting of the bunch. And the least powerful. It prevents outright attempts to kill you by anyone who isn't higher status. Killing PC's is itself a boring option, so it's usually irrelevant. Unless the party is, like one of my groups, pursuing a course of autocracide to clean out the Kolat... (Following on from the BB and the DLC follow-on... they realized the Ruby Champion was Kolat, and publicly accuser her, with testimony against her in writing, causing her to publicly flee... and they cut her down as she did. They're now negotiating with Winter Court to not be terminated themselves... They also ended the BB Adventure with a capture of the bad-guy, and the Bayushi PC becoming the Topaz Champion. When the corebook came out, they regenerated the folio characters as full corebook characters. Funny, but an adventure you claim was boring and unmemmorable has been for 2 different groups, very different and rather memorable... as was the 1E version the once I've run it. Totally different every time.)

The 2nd collumn of the table isn't surplus material. It is RP Hooks and backstory inspiration. Every bit as important as the 3rd and 4th columns.

They are good lore/rp wise. I mentioned so.

But if you let your players choose, they will probably pick these;

The item, the knowledge, the imperial lineage.

Because they are much more mechanically inspiring than "+1 trade skill"

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2 hours ago, Avatar111 said:

They are good lore/rp wise. I mentioned so.

But if you let your players choose, they will probably pick these;

The item, the knowledge, the imperial lineage.

Because they are much more mechanically inspiring than "+1 trade skill"

I let one of my player chose, and he took the "Discovery"... for +1 Theology.

I thought this was very flavorful and reasonable, then I realized he played a Shugenja who already had two ranks in the skill up to that point 😛 Theology 3 on a starting character who relies on Invocations is quite the power move. Basically worth 2 techniques in terms of XP (admittedly, 2 techniques you are authorized to buy, but as someone mentioned, you can always circle back around that point with Titles).

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16 minutes ago, Franwax said:

I let one of my player chose, and he took the "Discovery"... for +1 Theology.

I thought this was very flavorful and reasonable, then I realized he played a Shugenja who already had two ranks in the skill up to that point 😛 Theology 3 on a starting character who relies on Invocations is quite the power move. Basically worth 2 techniques in terms of XP (admittedly, 2 techniques you are authorized to buy, but as someone mentioned, you can always circle back around that point with Titles).

That is raw power gaming!! Even worst :D

I said " mechanically inspiring "
 

=/= !

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12 minutes ago, Avatar111 said:

That is raw power gaming!! Even worst :D

I said " mechanically inspiring "
 

=/= !

To be fair, the character is well played and does not abuse his tremendous theological advantage, so it’s all cool :)

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, Franwax said:

To be fair, the character is well played and does not abuse his tremendous theological advantage, so it’s all cool :)

hard not to abuse it when all your invocations require it!

but yeah, who cares. my Kaito player started with 3 also.

Shugenja are the strongest in this edition, they have no drawbacks aside that they can't take the Kata. But Kata are, at least up until now, not as good as Invocations I think.

OR maybe it is because my bushi player is a kakita, and my shugenja players are iuchi and kaito, but their power level is way above the kakita. now rank 2.

edit: kaito not a fullblown shugenja.. but still powerful because hes got kata/invocation/shuji.

Edited by Avatar111

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30 minutes ago, Franwax said:

I let one of my player chose, and he took the "Discovery"... for +1 Theology.

I thought this was very flavorful and reasonable, then I realized he played a Shugenja who already had two ranks in the skill up to that point 😛 Theology 3 on a starting character who relies on Invocations is quite the power move. Basically worth 2 techniques in terms of XP (admittedly, 2 techniques you are authorized to buy, but as someone mentioned, you can always circle back around that point with Titles).

Yup, Theology is a big one. Wondrous Work and Elevated For Service are a bit iffy, but the other [+1 skill from X group] options all have at least one skill that will potentially see a whole lot of use from certain character concepts. Not up there with the two hotshot ancestries, but definitely not lacking on average either. 

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

Yup, Theology is a big one. Wondrous Work and Elevated For Service are a bit iffy, but the other [+1 skill from X group] options all have at least one skill that will potentially see a whole lot of use from certain character concepts. Not up there with the two hotshot ancestries, but definitely not lacking on average either. 

maybe I personally just prefer options other than a, stale, skill increase.
but sure, they can be legit in term of "power".
anyway, the whole samurai heritage thing is allright, a good idea, but not like wow wow. I don't see how you cannot create something on the fly and asign whatever you feel like assigning. a Mantis could have a boat, imo. Whatever the "RP says", you can tweak that.

edit: I see them more as ideas rather than set in stone rules.

Edited by Avatar111

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28 minutes ago, Avatar111 said:

maybe I personally just prefer options other than a, stale, skill increase.
but sure, they can be legit in term of "power".
anyway, the whole samurai heritage thing is allright, a good idea, but not like wow wow. I don't see how you cannot create something on the fly and asign whatever you feel like assigning. a Mantis could have a boat, imo. Whatever the "RP says", you can tweak that.

edit: I see them more as ideas rather than set in stone rules.

To be honest, that's probably the biggest problem to me with this edition. The mechanics are so boring. The cool stuff that could make your character feel unique and impactful is generally all hidden in Rank 6, with Rank 1 school abilities mostly being fiddly dice tricks. The game might tell you that you are a cool Seppun Astrologer manipulating the future to your advantage, but what that factually means is that you have one success squirreled away for one roll. Being an exotic Meishodo amounts to having a bit more favorable odds on your favorite spell. And so on. Kolat Infiltrator is probably the single best ability in the entire game because it has some narrative weight to it, even if mechanically it's just a dice fiddler.

The game would benefit from more abilities like Rank 6 Kolat and Seppun Astrologer, and from the coming online much sooner.

Legacy suffers from this the most, because what all "skill" lines amount to is a +1 rolled die, and I struggle to imagine anything more boring than that. Techniques you can use proactively, items are unique and fancy, especially if it's an estate, and Blessed Lineage you can swing around for un-rolled narrative benefits.

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1 hour ago, Longes said:

To be honest, that's probably the biggest problem to me with this edition. The mechanics are so boring. The cool stuff that could make your character feel unique and impactful is generally all hidden in Rank 6, with Rank 1 school abilities mostly being fiddly dice tricks. The game might tell you that you are a cool Seppun Astrologer manipulating the future to your advantage, but what that factually means is that you have one success squirreled away for one roll. Being an exotic Meishodo amounts to having a bit more favorable odds on your favorite spell. And so on. Kolat Infiltrator is probably the single best ability in the entire game because it has some narrative weight to it, even if mechanically it's just a dice fiddler.

The game would benefit from more abilities like Rank 6 Kolat and Seppun Astrologer, and from the coming online much sooner.

Legacy suffers from this the most, because what all "skill" lines amount to is a +1 rolled die, and I struggle to imagine anything more boring than that. Techniques you can use proactively, items are unique and fancy, especially if it's an estate, and Blessed Lineage you can swing around for un-rolled narrative benefits.

Things have the narrative weight you want to give them. Sure, you can use the Seppun ability and say "I'm going to use that saved success now", or you can use the Seppun ability "Friend-san, according to the charts that put the Monkey in ascendance over the Hare in house of Ebisun, you should perform that action with this slight tweak for greater effect."

The "Striking as X" katas are not, granted, particularly inspiring, but starting at rank 2 you can get your hands on very narrative-spinnable kata.

Except the legacy skill ranks. Those are just yawn.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Franwax said:

To be fair, the character is well played and does not abuse his tremendous theological advantage, so it’s all cool :)

Skill 3 isn't abusive in the least - and it's doable for almost any school skill without the heritage. 

As for "lack of flavor" (re @Longes)- I'm happy the super-specific mechanics are way down the line. It was a nightmare for me to keep track under 2E/3E of who had what  without keeping a copy of the schools to hand.

I'm quite happy the bespoke abilities each rank are gone.

D&D 5E also suffers badly IMO from bespoke abilities most levels.

Edited by AK_Aramis

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48 minutes ago, AK_Aramis said:

As for "lack of flavor" (re @Longes)- I'm happy the super-specific mechanics are way down the line. It was a nightmare for me to keep track under 2E/3E of who had what  without keeping a copy of the schools to hand.

That's literally what character sheets are for.

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1 hour ago, AK_Aramis said:

Skill 3 isn't abusive in the least - and it's doable for almost any school skill without the heritage. 

I find it takes a lot of work. It’s easier for Theology, but nigh impossible for martial arts (without the right heritage table roll) - which is another thing that sucks for bushi. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Franwax said:

I find it takes a lot of work. It’s easier for Theology, but nigh impossible for martial arts (without the right heritage table roll) - which is another thing that sucks for bushi. 

Exact.

Any skill that a clan/family gives is easier.

No clan/family gives melee.

Only one question allows you to take a disadvantage to get +1 martial skill. Thats it.

And for the rank 3, you would need heritage..

Edited by Avatar111

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, UnitOmega said:

A pearl of wisdom

You can always take a skill

From your mentor pick

Which pretty much everybody seems to do, since the right kind of disadvantage is more of a boon than a downside and hey, free skill point. Ads and disads are the part of character creation I have the most misgivings about by far.

Regardless, that's exactly what @Avatar111 pointed out: there is precisely one way to get 3 ranks in a martial art through character creation and that's school + mentor + heritage.

Edited by nameless ronin

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6 hours ago, Avatar111 said:

Exact.

Any skill that a clan/family gives is easier.

No clan/family gives melee.

Only one question allows you to take a disadvantage to get +1 martial skill. Thats it.

And for the rank 3, you would need heritage..

Or another skill being pushed to 4. 

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