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Harzerkatze

My house rules

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Hi there,

I have written a few house rules for my game group and would like to hear what you people think of them.
(I'll add commentary in cursive).

1) When using miniatures: Use rules from p. 266, with Diagram 6-1 being correct (Range 3 is 3 squares wide.) When you wield a readied weapon, its stated range (max. 2) around you are Difficult Squares, so leaving one costs an extra square of movement. A foe can ignore the limitation, but that gives you a free attack (1x/turn).
I have the feeling that the system is primarily designed without miniatures, and that the miniature rules leave out some of the finer details. For example, a lot of smart tactics by players can be build on weapon ranges: Like using a longer weapon and keeping opponents at reach (or fighting at range 0 where their weapons do not work). The miniature rules do not reflect those fine details, however, since a single free move can take you from range 3 to range 0 (or vice versa), as ranges 2, 1 and 0 are 1 square each and you move 3 squares with one free move. This would take you 3 free movements in the regular combat rules. So I devised this rule to make it more difficult to just move empty-handed into grappling range of a foe wielding a spear.

2) When someone takes a Severity 7 – 11 Critical Hit or has the Severly Wounded condition and receiving another Wounded condition, he gets both a Scar Disadvantage as well as gets/keeps the Severely Wounded condition.
Since most enemies have a ring they are best in, inflicting a Severely Wounded condition on that in combat is a game-changer, as TN+3 is fierce. Receiving a Scar disadvantage, by contrast, is much less problematic for foes. It is worse for PCs, sure, as those do not heal. But if the bear they fight receives memory loss? The ghost loses a finger? The boar can't lift heavy things? The skeleton receives a horrible scar on his face? Those don't matter. But a higher severity on a crit you deal should be better for you, not worse. That's why I give the scar in addition to Severly Wounded: It is an escalation. 

3) Upon becoming invisible, you make a Skulduggery (Air) check with Advantage (= you can reroll two dice) vs. the Vigilances of your opponents. If you reach their Vigilance as TN, they do no longer know your position, as long as you remain silent. Enemies have to choose a square to attack, but speaking, casting spells without the Silenced penalty, attacking in melee etc. reveals your square. Being invisible increases the TN of enemy attacks by 2 and gives your own attacks Advantage.
Sort of a special case, but as Cloak of Night is a rank 1 invocation, it can come up easily. The spell has one of the shortest duration of all Support spells, so I think it should do more than just give foes the Blinded disadvantage equivalent. Otherwise, the spell is not worth it, as it only last few rounds.

4) The shields from the Shadowlands sourcebook are not allowed. Wielding a shield instead has the following effect: As a Movement and Support action, if you have a shield readied, until the start of your next turn, you may increase the TN of Attack action checks targeting you by 1 and decrease the TN of your next attack by 1.
Giving every shieldcarrier Physical Resistance 5-6 seemed way excessive to me, Rokugani use few shields, so they should not be too good. Otherwise, every samurai and shugenja schlepps one around. So I used the rules from the Mantis Clan web enhancement instead.


5) A katana in its sheath can be used as a bokken, a katana sheath as a club.
Usagi Jojimbo is one of the listed inspirations for L5R, and he regularily does this when accosted by overconfident ronin: Hitting them with his sword still in its sheath. I think that is very cool, so I want my players to be able to do that too. The second is an adaption of the Rurouni Kenshin movie, which was cool, too: Dual-wielding your katana and its sheath.  

6) All Shinobi characters can learn all Ninjutzu techniques.
I consider this a design error on the developers side: Since there were only 4 ninjutzu techniques in the core rulebook, they handed them out individually in the school tables instead of just giving them shinobi ninjutzu as Techniques Available. But then, new ninjutzu techniques came out with Courts of Stone, but since they are not listed in their school lists, no core rulebook shinobi can learn them. The mercenary ninja school from Courts of Stone can learn all ninjutzu, however. Those ronin ninja should not be categorily better at ninjutzu than Scorpion Clan ninja.

7) Monsters and enemies without Honor can only unmask as Panicked Retreat.
This may be controversal, but I found it wrong that being honorable is actually a disadvantage, seeing that someone without honor can just unmask without any negative consequences (losinh honor they do not have costs them nothing). I feel like the catharsis effect of breaking your mask of honor should only work if you have one. Someone who curses all day should not feel all his stress evaporate for cursing once again. Neither should an Oni or a bear.
This way, using tactics that cause Strife instead of Fatigue (Maztu's Battlecry, Pelting Hail style kata, inflicting Burning, using Fire opportunities to cause strife) become more effective, widening the array of tactical options. And being honorable becomes a positive super-power the bad guys do not have, instead of a burden in battle.

8) Non-minion enemies and NPCs have Void Points equal to half their Void Ring.
Just a clarification, since the number is not listed.

So, what do you think of those?

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2) Obviously yes. But be careful of your wording. Many interactions with this.

4) yeah, but honor??? Wearing a shield is not honorific!! Joke aside, the design of the game is not that good, nor that balanced. If you start to nerf this or that, you will not finish. So you probably shouldn't.

8 ) perfect.

Edited by Avatar111

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Generally I like what you’re going for. 

1. Have you played with minis yet? 

The RAW itself states that the game will play different on hexes vs abstractly. Trying to make the two match is admirable, but is it worth the hassle and head-space? For my part, the differences between range 2 and range 0 weapons almost never come up. 

I’m planning to use maps in my next session Friday. Because the nuanced melee ranges are rarely an issue in actual play, I plan to use the RAW grid rules (except maybe with hexes, to avoid the diagonal issues). I think and then characters will find an advantage with their reach 2 weapons. And that is about my experience without grids so it should be fine. 

3. Avatar has a house rule which basically says “all wound effects for each ring are cumulative.” That pretty well covers the issue in my book, though there are some nuances that need to be addressed.

4. I too have thought shields are pretty powerful. However, keep in mind that you’re sacrificing a hand for that resistance. 2 handed weapons are better than 1 handlers by a decent margin. 

Also, shields are cumbersome. This will become especially relevant when using maps, I suspect. Though it may be irrelevant if you don’t make cluttered maps. 

Long story short, are shields really better than having heavy armor? 

I probably wouldn’t allow prayers while carrying a shield. 

5. I love that you love Usagi Yojimbo. The guy I think of that thrashes people with his scabbard is Haohmaru from Samurai Showdown. Though that is actually how sword pommel isn’t it???

6. I agree. This is a serious peeve of mine. Though with such a large number of ninjitsu now, should the Shosuro Infiltrator pose rituals or Shuji? 

7. If you are the GM and you control unmasking, isn’t this rule... pointless? 

8. I have issues with NPC Void points. Give them and NPCs feel “fair.” But be sure to describe their use. If all you do is spend Void for boosts, the PCs will never know the difference and this rule becomes invisible. And generally speaking, invisible rules are useless rules. 

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On 9/18/2019 at 12:15 AM, AndyDay303 said:

4. I too have thought shields are pretty powerful. However, keep in mind that you’re sacrificing a hand for that resistance. 2 handed weapons are better than 1 handlers by a decent margin. 

Also, shields are cumbersome. This will become especially relevant when using maps, I suspect. Though it may be irrelevant if you don’t make cluttered maps. 

Long story short, are shields really better than having heavy armor? 

I probably wouldn’t allow prayers while carrying a shield.

If you are in Water stance, you can freely activate the ability of shields and thus increase all attack TNs vs. you by 2, putting Air Stance to shame.

I agree that the shields resistance isn't much higher than that of armor, but you cannot take armor off as easily. I enforce the Wargear quality in displayed items, which in our game usually means a TN+2 to social checks. Because you walk around with gear meant for war. In the shadowlands or on a battlefield, that is expected, but not in a normal town. I imagine it like when you are in a supermarket in the US in one of the open carry law states and at the babyfood aisle, a guy with a AR15 strapped to his buttetproof vest asks you whether you've seen some kids loitering about. You probably wouldn't tell him even if you had and keep that conversation as short as possible (I guess, I'm not from the US). Same with wargear.

Which is why my PCs wear travelling clothes in everyday situations and only break out the laquered armor when leaving town or the, know they are going into a fight.

A shield, on the other hand, you can just put against a wall when questioning people for rumors. Much easier to then walk around with resistance 6, which means a katane hit of 4 successes deals no damage.

That would only force me as the GM to escalate, and make my group look like WoW refugees.

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I added three new ones:

9) An invocations or mahos extra opportunity options can only be used on a successful check.

10) In mass battles, Cut Off the Head is only successful if the target suffered attrition >0.

11) Mounted Combat (p. 326) requires a successful Maneuver check, not just Movement check.

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