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AndyDay303

Ephemeral Damage on ephemeral characters

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Hi, 

I am finding many types of “damage” to be awesome when used against PCs and meaningless when used against NPCs. The list includes most critical strikes and most damage to social stats (glory, honor). 

How do you handle these in your game? Do you track NPC honor? Does inflicting a glory hit have substantial story repercussions ? 

Andy 

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13 minutes ago, AndyDay303 said:

Hi, 

I am finding many types of “damage” to be awesome when used against PCs and meaningless when used against NPCs. The list includes most critical strikes and most damage to social stats (glory, honor). 

How do you handle these in your game? Do you track NPC honor? Does inflicting a glory hit have substantial story repercussions ? 

Andy 

Yeah, they are a bit meaningless. "oh your NPC loses 5 glory!!".
I think you need to handle it narratively; the NPC gets really mad, for example.
Just come up with how you want to deal with it depending on who the NPC is, the rules won't tell you.
but be prepared to be flexible, you cannot design L5R in a linear way, you need to do a sandbox of NPC and locations and "triggers" and you need to come up with stories on the fly. Extremely difficult game to GM, but can be rewarding.

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This is a GM problem. If you play the NPC as JUST an adversary whose only reason for existing is to oppose the PCs, then, yes, hitting them on the HGS stats is meaningless. If you play them as actual characters who will, presumably, have to keep living their own lives in Rokugan (where the HGS are of utmost importance) after their encounter with the PCs, things shift considerably.

I mean, not ALL NPCs, of course. Anything from the Shadowlands doesn't give a crap, for instance, and neither do the Kolat (mostly).

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Agreed. Loss of Glory will matter most if the players are likely to meet the character again at some point. If they only exist for the duration of one adventure it's kind of irrelevant.

And yes, 'off-camera' stuff will matter too. Few NPCs will have a glory score where a minor hit due to something in an intrigue scene will shift stuff dramatically. But if they are off-camera involved in the Battle of Toshi Ranbo and pick up many glory, then the next time you see them it's quite likely they're going to be toting a bunch of Fame advantages.

 

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lowering the glory or honor of important npcs, or raising it, definitely informs opinions of you, and can gain allies or enemies.  I would see it as a good reason to elevate npcs as well. Oh, you caused that ronin who was working really hard to gain respectability to lose some of his hard won glory?  You now have an enemy hounding your steps and sending his own allies against you at the worst of times. 

Ohh, you embarrassed a Daiymo and caused him to lose honor in front of his own political rival?  He's after you.  But at the same time, his rival?  They start sending gifts to you and invite you to their court. 

 

(also, autocorrect wants to change Daiymo to dairymaid.  LOL!)

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8 minutes ago, Void Crane said:

Its a sad sad day for a samurai when his or her worst enemy is a rival dairymaid .....

😝

Probably shouldn't have gotten a tour of the barn with her sister...

*ahem*

I tend to have a lot of my early game NPCs recur later one, so those are things I track. My current game is going from Topaz Championship to rural adventure, where one of the other competitors will be showing up with opposing goals, to a Winter Court where several of the competitors will be present as junior members or yojimbo of the clan delegations, so those stats do really matter for my games. I've got a "dramatis personae" document saved on my computer with the name of every NPC they've met and any unique stats I've given them to distinguish from the generic NPCs.

And notably, I'm not using the competitors from the module. I've got 3 PCs, so I made 13 NPC competitors and 8 new judges (one for each clan plus the Mistress of Ceremonies). Makes a handy 'Top 16' cut. At this point, at least two competitors are failing unless the PCs intervene.

So in short, their actions have the potential to really change things up. This is a Dawn of the Empire game and the Shining Prince is directly overseeing the Championship. Akodo is one of the judges. Glory and Honor hits have fairly immediate impact.

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12 hours ago, Hida Jitenno said:

This is a Dawn of the Empire game and the Shining Prince is directly overseeing the Championship. Akodo is one of the judges. Glory and Honor hits have fairly immediate impact.

Great idea! I've always wanted to run a Legacy type campaign with lasting consequences that started during the dawn of an early empire, and picked several times many generations later with PCs somehow related to the recurring theme. I can definitely see honor, glory, and status changes being paramount in such a campaign!

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11 hours ago, T_Kageyasu said:

Great idea! I've always wanted to run a Legacy type campaign with lasting consequences that started during the dawn of an early empire, and picked several times many generations later with PCs somehow related to the recurring theme. I can definitely see honor, glory, and status changes being paramount in such a campaign!

I'm going to let my players vote on being alternate Thunders. I had a different climax planned, but one of them was like "oh man, this is great. Can't wait until we fight Fu Leng!!" They're each from a different clan so it's an option.

Have to make Matsu and Isawa sit-out, but eh. I think the latter would have more interesting long-term repercussions than the former.

At the present, other than those judges being present, they haven't rubbed elbows with the movers and shakers. But once the Winter Court hits, they'll either be around the Kami at the Emperor's Court (if a PC or their close ally wins the Topaz) or one hosted by Hantei Yamato, with one family founder of each clan. The former will be very good for the PCs' status and glory, and the other will be able to have more widespread, if more subtle, impact, though it would take longer to manifest.

As noted above, if the only NPC interaction the players have is "Bandits and Goblins and Cultists, oh my" then no, affecting their HGS scores is not particularly meaningful.

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