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Scrivener Spills

Sympathetic energies : potential brokeness

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So, I just picked up Sympathetic energies, a rank 2 invocation. Basically, make your check, and cause an existing persistent invocation effect on someone nearby to spread to your water ring worth of other people.  It states that the effect lasts on the new people as long as it effects the original.   With opportunity, you can instead spread a Condition.

One, if the invocation effect is ended early by another effect on character prime, does this end it for everyone? or does it mean, it would last as long on each person as it was originally intended to last? (And on that topic, what if the effect is ended by, say, the original character dying?)

Two, conditions?  okay, how about the dying condition?  boom. you 3 are now dying, next to the Bushi who just got disembowled.    Is this doable? Could they actually die from it?  If character prime dies, does the dying condition go away?

Also, this makes an excellent prepared invocation "suicide bomb"   Trigger, the dying condition is inflicted on me.  Share with the character who inflicted it and anyone else nearby who is attacking me. 

Or even not a suicide bomb.   Put the ward on another person, and have them go into a fight against a foe sure to kill them.  Hmmm.  

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8 hours ago, Scrivener Spills said:

One, if the invocation effect is ended early by another effect on character prime, does this end it for everyone? or does it mean, it would last as long on each person as it was originally intended to last? (And on that topic, what if the effect is ended by, say, the original character dying?)

That feels like it's pretty much covered by the basic rules:

"If you succeed, you augment the spiritual power of one persistent invocation effect that is already affecting one target. Each other target counts as being affected by it as well. This effect persists as long as the original effect persists on the original target."

If the original effect ceases on the original target - for whatever reason - it no longer 'persists on the original target' and hence they no longer are affected either. If the target dies, they are no longer being affected by any persistent effects.

8 hours ago, Scrivener Spills said:

Two, conditions?  okay, how about the dying condition?  boom. you 3 are now dying, next to the Bushi who just got disembowled.    Is this doable? Could they actually die from it?  If character prime dies, does the dying condition go away?

The condition replaces the persistent effect in the invocation effect. So any condition works, and Dying (X) is a condition. Note that as soon as the original target is no longer affected, the condition will go away. This means you can use a combination of Sympathetic Energies and Seppuku to kill everyone nearby in theory, but you have to play initiative-order games - As soon as you die, anyone else will no longer be suffering Dying (X), so you'd need to make sure they 'count out' before you do.

And yes, you could create a ward with the condition "the person to whom this is affixed is fatally wounded" to create a 'suicide bomb'. I'm pretty sure the Kami might take a dim view of it - so honour penalties galore and potentially a TN increase depending on the circumstances - but it's certainly mechanically viable. Certainly I could see a suitably nasty-minded Yogo trying something like this.

 

Wards are funny things. In theory - it'd take some preparation - you could have pre-prepared an Earthquake ward to open a fatally deep chasm directly under the feet of the first person to swing a sword at you.

 

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Posted (edited)

Shugenja do not play by the same rules as others, they are much more powerful and no "combat encounter" will threatened them past the 2nd rank.

As a GM you will need to have a different mindset by then, your shugenja can one shot a bushi or oni, destroy a ship or breach a castle alone. Your random mundane "questing" won't cut it anymore. The power level of shugenja is over the top.

 

 

Edited by Avatar111

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11 minutes ago, Avatar111 said:

Shugenja do not play by the same rules as others, they are much more powerful and no "combat encounter" will threatened them past the 2nd rank.

As a GM you will need to have a different mindset by then, your shugenja can one shot a bushi or oni, destroy a ship or breach a castle alone. Your random mundane "questing" won't cut it anymore. The power level of shugenja is over the top.

 

 

Have you actually experienced this? Or are you playing armchair general ? I ask because I’m cooking up a rank 4 Shugy to play in my current campaign, and nothing on that character sheet screams “one shot Bushi” to me. Makes me wonder if I’ve missed something?

As for dying conditions and Sympathetic Energies... this appears to be RAW, but probably not RAI. 

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, AndyDay303 said:

Have you actually experienced this? Or are you playing armchair general ? I ask because I’m cooking up a rank 4 Shugy to play in my current campaign, and nothing on that character sheet screams “one shot Bushi” to me. Makes me wonder if I’ve missed something?

As for dying conditions and Sympathetic Energies... this appears to be RAW, but probably not RAI. 

A rank 4 shugenja will have no problem to kill a bushi (of any rank) in one action without the bushi able to do anything about it.

edit: not that it matters. this game is about choosing who to kill, not the challenge of killing them.

Edited by Avatar111

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5 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

 This means you can use a combination of Sympathetic Energies and Seppuku to kill everyone nearby in theory, but you have to play initiative-order games - As soon as you die, anyone else will no longer be suffering Dying (X), so you'd need to make sure they 'count out' before you do.

I'm not sure you can, actually. Invocations cannot be handled in a purely mechanistic way, because what they actually are is you asking the Kami to do a favour for you, and Kami are sticklers for the Celestial Order and therefore procedure (yes, even the air ones). Pretty sure the moment you try a Sympathetic Seppuku whatever Kami you asked is going to tell you "Nah, bro, and also enjoy Jigoku." If Seppuku is the ultimate way to regain your lost honour, then trying to pervert the spirit of it is the ultimate way to be permanently dishonoured.

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, JBento said:

I'm not sure you can, actually. Invocations cannot be handled in a purely mechanistic way, because what they actually are is you asking the Kami to do a favour for you, and Kami are sticklers for the Celestial Order and therefore procedure (yes, even the air ones). Pretty sure the moment you try a Sympathetic Seppuku whatever Kami you asked is going to tell you "Nah, bro, and also enjoy Jigoku." If Seppuku is the ultimate way to regain your lost honour, then trying to pervert the spirit of it is the ultimate way to be permanently dishonoured.

Best way to handle shugenja that seeks too much power. Obviously, needs to be done tactfully.

Otherwise why send a shinobi to kill Toturi when the scorpion could have sent a shugenja with a shikigami and a prepared fury of osano-wo.

Edited by Avatar111

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Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, JBento said:

what they actually are is you asking the Kami to do a favour for you, and Kami are sticklers for the Celestial Order and therefore procedure (yes, even the air ones). Pretty sure the moment you try a Sympathetic Seppuku whatever Kami you asked is going to tell you "Nah, bro, and also enjoy Jigoku." If Seppuku is the ultimate way to regain your lost honour, then trying to pervert the spirit of it is the ultimate way to be permanently dishonoured.

Completely agree. And doubly so where you're talking about wards, since they're prepared as a downtime action rather than in the (slightly) more rules-focused conflict scenes.

I'm not sure how I would resolve it if someone did it in a game I ran - I certainly wouldn't allow them to use it as a regular plan, but potentially they might get away with it if it was narratively cool at a key moment. Perverting seppuku isn't something the Kami would be okay with, but at the same time, sacrificing your own life and taking the otherwise invulnerable 'Bloodyhellwerealldead no Oni' into death with you feels rather samurai.

34 minutes ago, Avatar111 said:

Best way to handle shugenja that seeks too much power.

Honestly, magic in most systems is open to abuse. The fact that 'magic', in this case, has a conscience and opinions of its own goes a long way to helping balance things out.

Ultimately, it's the GM who has to take primary responsibility for stepping on any particularly egregious manipulation of the rules (or for creating exemptions where they get in the way of a narratively sound good idea). In looser systems like this more than most, but the principle exists in any RPG.

34 minutes ago, Avatar111 said:

Otherwise why send a shinobi to kill Toturi when the scorpion could have sent a shugenja with a shikigami and a prepared fury of osano-wo.

To be honest; that side is something we know must exist but haven't seen yet in the rules aside from the relatively slow, close ranged and imprecise Commune With The Spirits.

We know wide-area magical detection and counterspells are 'a thing' because that's basically the Hidden Guard's job, but as yet no effective  techniques exist that I can think of to do them.

In practice, someone trying to use Fury of Osano-Wo within the perimeter of the living walls of the palace is likely to set off all sorts of alarm bells if it works at all. It's like the description of Conflagration of Doom in WHFRP - "every wizard within twenty miles will know you've done it and is likely to want to know why you've done it..."

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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On a related note - I now have a mental image of an assassin with a shujenga ally using an origami shuriken that's a shikigami - watching the throwing star buzz past you through the air, land on the floorboards, unfold into a little paper centipede, throw itself at you and then explode would be disturbing to say the least....

My PCs are about to play the second half of the Scroll and The Blade and it's quite probable if things go the way I expect that the mercenary shinobi are going to have been hired by the Phoenix. That might be a suitably impressive 'calling card'!

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4 hours ago, JBento said:

I'm not sure you can, actually. Invocations cannot be handled in a purely mechanistic way, because what they actually are is you asking the Kami to do a favour for you, and Kami are sticklers for the Celestial Order and therefore procedure (yes, even the air ones). Pretty sure the moment you try a Sympathetic Seppuku whatever Kami you asked is going to tell you "Nah, bro, and also enjoy Jigoku." If Seppuku is the ultimate way to regain your lost honour, then trying to pervert the spirit of it is the ultimate way to be permanently dishonoured.

Yeah, but the kansen would be down.  My GM is already positive that after seriously considering binding the spirit of the Emerald champion into a meishodo talisman, and talking about using tattoo ink and sewn up inscisions to turn peasants into walking wards and talismans that my character is destined for evil anyway. (I am joking, i would not actually do these things. well... okay, it was a coin flip on binding Doji Satsume into a meishodo talisman made from his own tea set.   )

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3 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

On a related note - I now have a mental image of an assassin with a shujenga ally using an origami shuriken that's a shikigami - watching the throwing star buzz past you through the air, land on the floorboards, unfold into a little paper centipede, throw itself at you and then explode would be disturbing to say the least....

My PCs are about to play the second half of the Scroll and The Blade and it's quite probable if things go the way I expect that the mercenary shinobi are going to have been hired by the Phoenix. That might be a suitably impressive 'calling card'!

...    oh ****, that's evil. lots of things to do with an origami shikigami  mask of wind to look like an oni.  tag the target with it, their own guards turn on them and cut them down.  hmm, lots of other things to do with that too.  and since the activation can be as simple as, touch this thing, or rip this corner, ...  hmm.   

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6 hours ago, Avatar111 said:

A rank 4 shugenja will have no problem to kill a bushi (of any rank) in one action without the bushi able to do anything about it.

edit: not that it matters. this game is about choosing who to kill, not the challenge of killing them.

You’ve successfully reiterated your point. I’m asking you to provide some specific examples. 

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5 hours ago, Scrivener Spills said:

Yeah, but the kansen would be down.  My GM is already positive that after seriously considering binding the spirit of the Emerald champion into a meishodo talisman, and talking about using tattoo ink and sewn up inscisions to turn peasants into walking wards and talismans that my character is destined for evil anyway. (I am joking, i would not actually do these things. well... okay, it was a coin flip on binding Doji Satsume into a meishodo talisman made from his own tea set.   )

Kansen aren't really found within the Empire reliably enough for this to work. And, of course, if you're hanging around with kansen you have bigger problems, like having everyone in the Empire hunting you down.

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9 hours ago, AndyDay303 said:

You’ve successfully reiterated your point. I’m asking you to provide some specific examples. 

Isawa with fury of osano-wo.

You can also prepare an invocation, that might come in handy.

Or a shikigami with fury of osano-wo or something else.

Or grasp of the air dragon can be good too, depending on the place you fight in.

Thats a few options. Probably there is more.

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11 hours ago, Avatar111 said:

Isawa with fury of osano-wo.

You can also prepare an invocation, that might come in handy.

Or a shikigami with fury of osano-wo or something else.

Or grasp of the air dragon can be good too, depending on the place you fight in.

Thats a few options. Probably there is more.

Ah yes. O-wo is a badass. 

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Yeah, but you're not one shotting most bushi with that without some good rolling.   finishing a combat quickly after some blows are already exchanged, maybe. 

Thats one where the, when does strife take place in regards to prepared invocations, matters, too. If one were to judge that overload happens when the prepared invocation is unleashed, then that would be a great trap.  prepare osano wo, keep a bunch of strife.  Let the scroll get its way to the enemy.  "MWAHAAHAA, I shall use the enemy's own plea to the kami against them!" Use the scroll, spiritual backlash happens, and the scroll user and all the bushi around them go down looking like flashing blue skeletons. 

 

https://tenor.com/OoPg.gif

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Scrivener Spills said:

Yeah, but you're not one shotting most bushi with that without some good rolling.   finishing a combat quickly after some blows are already exchanged, maybe. 

Thats one where the, when does strife take place in regards to prepared invocations, matters, too. If one were to judge that overload happens when the prepared invocation is unleashed, then that would be a great trap.  prepare osano wo, keep a bunch of strife.  Let the scroll get its way to the enemy.  "MWAHAAHAA, I shall use the enemy's own plea to the kami against them!" Use the scroll, spiritual backlash happens, and the scroll user and all the bushi around them go down looking like flashing blue skeletons. 

 

https://tenor.com/OoPg.gif

Fire ring 4, 4 bonus successes ? Isawa or Shikigami do that with eyes closed.
Goodbye most bushi. That is 16dmg supernatural.

Or grasp of the Air dragon, throw the bushi like 5+ range bands away.


edit: 4 bonus successes :D

Edited by Avatar111

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thats 13 dam.   and on a tn 5, lets say theology 3 fire 4 , you're only succeeding to begin with with at least one exploder and all successes on your other dice. and a ranged incap with a crit 8 could be heavily soaked, and they are back up from incap next turn.  Yes, a massive hit, but not a one shot. 

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4 minutes ago, Scrivener Spills said:

thats 13 dam.   and on a tn 5, lets say theology 3 fire 4 , you're only succeeding to begin with with at least one exploder and all successes on your other dice. and a ranged incap with a crit 8 could be heavily soaked, and they are back up from incap next turn.  Yes, a massive hit, but not a one shot. 

the example mentions an Isawa shugenja.
an other shugenja probably have another trick (probably with Shikigami...).
but yeah, one shot was a bit exagerated! lets just keep it as: shugenja are more powerful than the others.

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2 hours ago, Scrivener Spills said:

Thats one where the, when does strife take place in regards to prepared invocations, matters, too. If one were to judge that overload happens when the prepared invocation is unleashed, then that would be a great trap.  prepare osano wo, keep a bunch of strife.  Let the scroll get its way to the enemy.  "MWAHAAHAA, I shall use the enemy's own plea to the kami against them!" Use the scroll, spiritual backlash happens, and the scroll user and all the bushi around them go down looking like flashing blue skeletons. 

Spiritual Backlash is unambiguously tied to the check, not the invocation itself - which is important since with wards or sacred arrows the two can be distinct in time and space. You offend the kami, you explode right then and there, the explosion doesn't get stored in the ward.

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, Magnus Grendel said:

Spiritual Backlash is unambiguously tied to the check, not the invocation itself - which is important since with wards or sacred arrows the two can be distinct in time and space. You offend the kami, you explode right then and there, the explosion doesn't get stored in the ward.

you decide if you offend them or not. it is basically only a limitation on dice keeping, or in the worst cases, a straight up abuse you can willingly do (like in the case of a shikigami with fury of osano-wo, which is basically a nuke...
...but that is mostly because shikigami is one of the most busted thing in this whole game to start with, and that backlashes being only one predictable effect that can even be beneficial, is also bad design).

but all in all it doesn't change much. if you do not want to explode you simply don't explode. this isn't a threat as much as something you have total control over.
I can see your point makes sense for wards though, if you could also control the trigger to the backlash, it would be pretty much ever "more" stupid :D...




 

Edited by Avatar111

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2 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

Spiritual Backlash is unambiguously tied to the check, not the invocation itself - which is important since with wards or sacred arrows the two can be distinct in time and space. You offend the kami, you explode right then and there, the explosion doesn't get stored in the ward.

Agreed, thats the way i'd run it as well, but i recall a previous thread where it was in question.  

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A rank 4 Isawa Elementalist can only do a Fury of Osano-wo once per scene with any reliability.  If the bushi spends a Void point not to defend, then she's only dealing with maybe a 6 deadliness crit, since it's Ring plus kept strife.  If the shugenja kept any more strife, he'd end up nuking himself and everyone around him from the spiritual backlash.

Even if the bushi is severely wounded from flubbing the Fitness check while voluntarily using her katana as a lightning rod, she's probably more than capable of taking out the shugenja, unless he hightails it out of there.

Not that shugenja aren't capable of powerful Alpha strikes, but the "choose not to defend" option severely mitigates their efficacy.

Edited by Moribund

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Interesting that this got revived, I'm actually about to have some fun with this as an Emerald Magistrate. A couple is looking to be married, they have to spend a day with a prepared invocation of this, set to share conditions, wrapped around their wrists.  First one to get compromised, their potential spouse is going to become compromised as well, and feel their partner. 


Trying to figure out how to do it for a duel as well.  Incapacitate one, both go down. 

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On 9/16/2019 at 3:00 PM, Moribund said:

Even if the bushi is severely wounded from flubbing the Fitness check while voluntarily using her katana as a lightning rod, she's probably more than capable of taking out the shugenja, unless he hightails it out of there.

   Screwing up a Fitness check that badly would probably only happen if the bushi rolled a lot of Opportunity.  If you just used your sword as a lightning rod, I would absolutely allow the player to spend those opportunity to have the spirit get stuck in his sword for a short time, essentially giving him a lightning katana that gets released when he rolls his next Critical Strike.  I'm thinking his blade sparks and crackles, causing him Fatigue every round - maybe 1 per Strife kept on each roll.  When he rolls a Critical Strike (presumably against said shugenja or his yojimbo), maybe increase the Deadliness by the Strife kept on that roll.

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