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Simplified Opportunity Table

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We all know Opportunities are a very versatile and deep thing in this game.
There are probably hundred of "examples" to choose from, from the simple "remove 1 strife" to the ultra niche "you get an extra 10% discount on your next purchase".

My players and I found that using so many Opportunity tables, on top of all the options that Techniques or Equipments will grant you, is simply too overwhelming and sometimes, gameable. Nobody is having fun looking through multiple tables to figure out how to use their opportunities on each of their rolls.

Sure, some checks might have "special" opportunity usage set by the adventure/gm and that is perfectly fine!
Also, all the thematic/narrative usage are also perfectly fine (ie: using Air opportunities to be more "graceful").

So, here is what we came up with:
Disregard all the opportunity tables in the books(including sourcebooks) aside the General one on p.328(corebook), and the one for Invocations on p.191(corebook). Then, we adjusted the General opportunity table to include a few more options.
This leave a very simple, yet deep enough, "reference sheet" for us to spend opportunity on, while keeping the game at a good pace.

Here is the only opportunity table we use in our game alongside the one for invocations on p.191
If anybody wants to raise a flag about something that seems "unbalanced" it would be very welcome.
The idea is to have all elements fun and balanced and different. While keeping the opportunity usage broad enough to be usable relatively regularly.

 

ANY:
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343: If you failed, determine the easiest way... (same as corebook)
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343+: Removed 1 strife you gained from this check... (same as corebook)
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf413431211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343: Provide assistance... (same as corebook)

AIR:
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343: Learn demeanor and strife... (same as corebook)
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343+: Act subtly... (same as corebook)
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf413431211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343: Establish a new detail on an NPC... (same as corebook)
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343: Add a kept Ring Dice set to an 1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343 result to your next check before the end of your next turn.
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343: Increase the TN of the next Martial Arts [Ranged] check targeting you before the end of your next turn by 1.

EARTH:
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343: Reassure another character... remove 2 strife... (same as corebook)
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343+: Act carefully... (same as corebook)
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf413431211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343: Establish a small preparatory action... (same as corebook)
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343: During a support, scheme, or movement action check, Increase your physical resistance by 1 until the start of your next turn.
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343: Ignore the Entangling or Dangerous terrain qualities for that check.

FIRE:
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343: Inflame another character... they receive 2 strife... (same as corebook)
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343+: Perform the task in a flashy way... (same as corebook)
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf413431211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343: Establish an absence... (same as corebook)
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343: Choose another character in the scene; increase the TN of the next check they make before the end of their next turn by 1 if it doesn't include you as a target.
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343: Other characters must receive 1 strife to choose you as the target of their Attack and Scheme actions until the start of your next turn.

WATER:
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343: Remove 2 strife from yourself... (same as corebook)
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343+: Perform the task efficiently... (same as corebook)
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf413431211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343: Establish a piece of terrain... (same as corebook)
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343: Remove 1 fatigue from yourself, to a minimum of half your endurance.
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343: During an attack action check, Ignore 1 point of the target's physical resistance.

VOID:
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343: Choose a ring other than Void. reduce the TN of your next check by 1 if it uses that ring. (same as corebook)
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343+: Sense supernatural... (same as corebook)
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf413431211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343: Establish a fact about your character... (same as corebook)
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343: During a support, movement, scheme or attack check, Increase your Initiative value by 1.
1211841275_OpportunitySmall.png.acf41343: Ignore the Obscuring terrain quality for that check.


 

Edited by Avatar111

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7 minutes ago, Scrivener Spills said:

not sure which tables you're meaning to cut.  do you mean all the opps that are specific to techniques?

p.329 of corebook, the tables in the Sourcebooks too (shadowland and courts of stone).

otherwise, you definitely keep all techniques, narrative options, invocations, and the above general options as your printed ref sheet for players.

I will eventually upload my reference sheets in my houserule section. you can print it, and it makes everybody happy.

if your players feel like going take a look at Courts of Stone opportunity tables for a check... by all mean, let them. Its just that we do not like having too many options and rather keep it streamlined. We do not like to "game the opportunities" as much as we like putting our brain juice on narrative and descriptions. personal preference.

there is already so much to keep in check that is more interesting that looking thru extra opportunity tables (advantages/disadvantages/technique/abilities/equipment) that we found that a simple 1 page reference sheet really does the trick for us.

Edited by Avatar111

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I agree that the vast swaths of tables are a problem. I feel like they REDUCE creativity, since people spend all their brain power sorting through tables. I actually proposed a similar option-reduction to my players, and they said “no thanks.”

that might be because my idea was more drastic though. I reduced opportunity options to about a half dozen. The idea being to encourage them to be used narratively. 

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51 minutes ago, AndyDay303 said:

I agree that the vast swaths of tables are a problem. I feel like they REDUCE creativity, since people spend all their brain power sorting through tables. I actually proposed a similar option-reduction to my players, and they said “no thanks.”

that might be because my idea was more drastic though. I reduced opportunity options to about a half dozen. The idea being to encourage them to be used narratively. 

It is about how you bring it to them.

I just said; here is a reference sheet, you can go look in the books and sourcebooks if you want, I still allow everything. But I'm not doing it for you.

And in time, they just used what was on the reference sheet, because honestly, with all to keep track in that game, who wants to, or even enjoy, to go see the opportunity tables in sourcebook X ?

Nobody at my table that's for sure.

But if you have such players, let them be! Dont nerf it. But imo they are ruining their own fun... But all is relative. If that is what they enjoy. Sure.

Otherwise, yeah, I kept 5 options per ring, plus the 3 general options, plus, for shugenja all their options (but I would probably like to "clean it" too eventually. Especially since shugenja already have more that others to keep track of and more generally more complicated techniques.

I'd still like to come up with the cleanest, most versatile, balanced, and all around generally useful opportunity ref sheet. I guess that was the point of this post.

Edited by Avatar111

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I liked your reference sheets so much, I’m inclined to tweak them for use with my group. I’ll probably put some more detail into the actions section. I particularly appreciate you putting all the uses for Void points in 1 spot. Also, I’ll modify your opportunity page to match my own preference..

 

To that point, I’d like to discuss some of your choices on the opportunities, and of course let you know what I’m planning to do.

 

GENERAL OPPORTUNITY

 

  *   My group has NEVER used the opportunity to find an easier path when attempting a check. I don’t think I’d include this option, it’s not really our style.

  *   Providing assistance is similar, we’ve never used it. However, I think that might be because players tend to focus on Ring-specific options. So I might leave this. Alternately, I might make it a ring-specific benefit. Earth opportunity seems to be all about giving help to others (for some bizarre reason) so it might be appropriate.

  *   Every ring has the ability to spend two ** in order to modify the narrative somehow. We call this a “declaration,” which is a term from the FATE and BURNING WHEEL RPGs. At my table, we allow ** to be spent to make a declaration about anything reasonable, and we don’t limit it by the ring you’re using. There’s nothing thematic or evocative about Fire declarations being limited to ‘missing stuff’ and Air declarations being about ‘noticing stuff about others.’ So we just simplified it and said: spend ** to declare something. This hinges partially on our lack of creativity on this front, so YMMV.

 

AIR

The RPG Gumshoe (and it’s derivative, Night’s Black Agents, which I’ve read) is a game about investigation. However, it handles investigation differently than other RPGs, and for this, it is lauded online. See, Gumshoe assumes that games are fun when you find clues, and boring when you don’t.. So Gumshoe automatically gives you clues and information you need to move the story forward. The question is then: what do you do with the information? You can make rolls and spend resources to get MORE information: more details, info that’ll be advantageous during your next step, etc. So there’s still room for character skill.

 

With that in mind, I believe that information in L5R should be easier to obtain, Especially Giri, which should be blatantly obvious. I shouldn’t need to go to school for special training to figure out somebody’s job. Ergo, when I boiled Air opportunity down to it’s core, I decided that one of its main tenets should be getting information. To that end, I made the main Air opportunity do the following:

*Learn any 1 piece of information from your opponent’s sheet. It can be any number (ring value, social stat, amount of Strife), any (dis)advantage, or the target’s Giri. The one exception is the target’s Ninjo, which is deeply personal and thus harder to divine using your instincts and wits.

 

So, I’d use this opportunity to replace the option to learn demeanor/current strife. It’d make Air a lot more useful, in both social and conflict situations. It will certainly negate the value of some Shuji, but I’m not concerned about this.

 

Acting Subtly is, generally speaking, throwing away opportunity when used at my table. Not always, sometimes its pretty nifty. Anyhoo, to beef it up and streamline the system, I made it so acting subtly will increase or decrease a TN by 1. The TN modified depends on what you’re doing.

 

Saving a * for opportunity is fine, as is dodging arrows. Why’d you reduce it to * and 1 TN, instead of ** for 2 TN?

 

EARTH

I like the teamwork aspects of Earth… until I roll it, and have no way to benefit myself meaningfully. This is a beef I have with the Earth ring.

 

As with acting Subtly, I made acting carefully give +/- 1 TN.

 

Interesting that you made a limited increase of resistance. Why did you do that instead of reducing critical strikes?

 

I feel like terrain and terrain qualities are already very difficult to apply. Making them easily negated by using an opportunity really diminishes tactics, IMO. Ergo, I removed this option.

 

FIRE

This is almost exclusively used to dole out strife at my table.

 

As with acting subtly, performing in a flashy way might modify the TN. This’d cover the TN modification opportunity that you have.

 

What’s the narrative behind giving somebody strife when they attack you? Seems like splitting hairs: you give strife, or they get strife when they attack you… it’d be simpler to just do 1 of those options.

 

WATER

This is almost exclusively used to remove strife. It also adds to your Composure. I feel like this double-dip of water into the strife sub-system is a design flaw. I’d be interested in moving this option to another ring, perhaps Earth or Void.

 

Efficient = +/- TN, IMO.

 

Removing strife AND removing fatigue = Water is an Uber ring. I’d say give it one or the other. Granted, this is deviating a bit from RAW. Do you think RAW water is OP?

 

Since ignoring resistance is already covered by Striking as Water, making this a core option of the ring seems redundant. True, striking as water is better, but in a way that’s nuanced. My water-ring player never uses this option nor does he use Striking as Water.

 

VOID

Void is all over the place RAW, it doesn’t really have a core theme of how its opportunity works. Fire is about giving strife, water is about recovering from bad stuff, earth is about resisting bad stuff, Air is about observation (sort of…) but Void? It does a little bit of everything. Your list reflects this, giving lots of random benefits. Thematically, I find this dissatisfying. I’d rather see some sort of unifying, universal application..

 

So, were I to rewrite and simply Void, I’d make it basically about sensing supernatural and applying enlightenment.

 

*Sense the supernatural, with a +/- TN as appropriate.

*Meditate on yourself or give advice to others, +/- TN as appropriate.

 

As I mentioned before, ignoring terrain features is bad, IMO.

 

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2 minutes ago, AndyDay303 said:

I liked your reference sheets so much, I’m inclined to tweak them for use with my group. I’ll probably put some more detail into the actions section. I particularly appreciate you putting all the uses for Void points in 1 spot. Also, I’ll modify your opportunity page to match my own preference..

I need to revise the action sheet. probably will add conditions on that as I do not want to detail the actions, only reference them.

To that point, I’d like to discuss some of your choices on the opportunities, and of course let you know what I’m planning to do.

 

GENERAL OPPORTUNITY

 

  *   My group has NEVER used the opportunity to find an easier path when attempting a check. I don’t think I’d include this option, it’s not really our style. Agreed, not something most people use...

  *   Providing assistance is similar, we’ve never used it. However, I think that might be because players tend to focus on Ring-specific options. So I might leave this. Alternately, I might make it a ring-specific benefit. Earth opportunity seems to be all about giving help to others (for some bizarre reason) so it might be appropriate.
This sees a lot of play at my table and is almost "too strong". Will keep it.

  *   Every ring has the ability to spend two ** in order to modify the narrative somehow. We call this a “declaration,” which is a term from the FATE and BURNING WHEEL RPGs. At my table, we allow ** to be spent to make a declaration about anything reasonable, and we don’t limit it by the ring you’re using. There’s nothing thematic or evocative about Fire declarations being limited to ‘missing stuff’ and Air declarations being about ‘noticing stuff about others.’ So we just simplified it and said: spend ** to declare something. This hinges partially on our lack of creativity on this front, so YMMV.
I'd rather keep it by Ring as it defines the playstyle a bit. ie: an Air focused character will be more incline to put details on NPC, A water character defines terrains etc. It could be expended upon though, but I like that it is different for each rings.

 

AIR

The RPG Gumshoe (and it’s derivative, Night’s Black Agents, which I’ve read) is a game about investigation. However, it handles investigation differently than other RPGs, and for this, it is lauded online. See, Gumshoe assumes that games are fun when you find clues, and boring when you don’t.. So Gumshoe automatically gives you clues and information you need to move the story forward. The question is then: what do you do with the information? You can make rolls and spend resources to get MORE information: more details, info that’ll be advantageous during your next step, etc. So there’s still room for character skill.

 

With that in mind, I believe that information in L5R should be easier to obtain, Especially Giri, which should be blatantly obvious. I shouldn’t need to go to school for special training to figure out somebody’s job. Ergo, when I boiled Air opportunity down to it’s core, I decided that one of its main tenets should be getting information. To that end, I made the main Air opportunity do the following:

*Learn any 1 piece of information from your opponent’s sheet. It can be any number (ring value, social stat, amount of Strife), any (dis)advantage, or the target’s Giri. The one exception is the target’s Ninjo, which is deeply personal and thus harder to divine using your instincts and wits.

 

So, I’d use this opportunity to replace the option to learn demeanor/current strife. It’d make Air a lot more useful, in both social and conflict situations. It will certainly negate the value of some Shuji, but I’m not concerned about this.

Some people will lie about their true Giri though... this is Rokugan. If Courter X giri is to marry the daugther of her daimyo to the crown prince... She will probably not tell you that to your face!
Also, shionobi and co, all have "hidden" giri.
ring, stats and all that could be added, yes. but not giri/ninjo.
social stats (honor especially) it is debatable...


 

Acting Subtly is, generally speaking, throwing away opportunity when used at my table. Not always, sometimes its pretty nifty. Anyhoo, to beef it up and streamline the system, I made it so acting subtly will increase or decrease a TN by 1. The TN modified depends on what you’re doing.
yes, mechanically it needs to give a little edge. your call.

 

Saving a * for opportunity is fine, as is dodging arrows. Why’d you reduce it to * and 1 TN, instead of ** for 2 TN?
streamline. why 2opp for 2 and not 1opp for 1?
1opp will see play more often.
small peference, nothing crazy.

 

EARTH

I like the teamwork aspects of Earth… until I roll it, and have no way to benefit myself meaningfully. This is a beef I have with the Earth ring.

 

As with acting Subtly, I made acting carefully give +/- 1 TN.
sure thing. it is dependant on the situation.

 

Interesting that you made a limited increase of resistance. Why did you do that instead of reducing critical strikes?
when you are in earth stance you do not take many critical strikes... I found that opportunity use barely saw play.
you might take crits when incapacitated, but then you probably can't make the checks to get the opps anyway!
the one I have now is more generally useful and see much more play, and doesn't step on the toe of striking as earth.

 

I feel like terrain and terrain qualities are already very difficult to apply. Making them easily negated by using an opportunity really diminishes tactics, IMO. Ergo, I removed this option.
only when using earth, and cost 1opp... to basically avoid dmg from strife (dangerous terrain) or a +2tn to Move action.
at the cost of one opp. I find it fair.

 

FIRE

This is almost exclusively used to dole out strife at my table.

 

As with acting subtly, performing in a flashy way might modify the TN. This’d cover the TN modification opportunity that you have. again, yeah, it would make sense. depending on situations.

What’s the narrative behind giving somebody strife when they attack you? Seems like splitting hairs: you give strife, or they get strife when they attack you… it’d be simpler to just do 1 of those options.
you can Stack it.
give 2 strife, then 1 more strife when they attack you.
its basically a strife pumping mechanic, which becomes necessary sooner than later when strife is a non-issue for most characters.
also it is thematic with Fire and combos nicely with the other fire opportunities.

 

WATER

This is almost exclusively used to remove strife. It also adds to your Composure. I feel like this double-dip of water into the strife sub-system is a design flaw. I’d be interested in moving this option to another ring, perhaps Earth or Void.
the only thing I'd consider here is that it cannot put you below half your composure. or be only 1 strife instead of 2.
but yeah, this option is VERY good. a bit too good really (as it makes water heavy character basically immune to unmasking, and that is "boring".

 

Efficient = +/- TN, IMO.
yup.

Removing strife AND removing fatigue = Water is an Uber ring. I’d say give it one or the other. Granted, this is deviating a bit from RAW. Do you think RAW water is OP?
I added that you cannot go below half you endurance, this is fine as is.
water is not OP (aside at early rank 1).
Fire is probably the ring that I think is most OP. But even then, the balance is relatively "ok". Air maybe a bit weaker but not by much.

 

Since ignoring resistance is already covered by Striking as Water, making this a core option of the ring seems redundant. True, striking as water is better, but in a way that’s nuanced. My water-ring player never uses this option nor does he use Striking as Water.
the option I have cannot raise, it is 1 and only 1... (striking as water can be opp+. also, it helps others and yourself again next turn. much stronger!)

 

VOID

Void is all over the place RAW, it doesn’t really have a core theme of how its opportunity works. Fire is about giving strife, water is about recovering from bad stuff, earth is about resisting bad stuff, Air is about observation (sort of…) but Void? It does a little bit of everything. Your list reflects this, giving lots of random benefits. Thematically, I find this dissatisfying. I’d rather see some sort of unifying, universal application..
I tried to give void a theme: "sense and insight".
so, it allows you to sense supernatural, focus to improve a check with another ring, improve initiative, attack in the dark... you get the idea. I think it is quite all nicely fitting for "void" style.

 

So, were I to rewrite and simply Void, I’d make it basically about sensing supernatural and applying enlightenment.

 

*Sense the supernatural, with a +/- TN as appropriate.

*Meditate on yourself or give advice to others, +/- TN as appropriate.

 

As I mentioned before, ignoring terrain features is bad, IMO.
 I like a ring specific terrain avoidance. I don't think it is too strong and gives style to rings. but i understand your point.
 

 

 

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