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OSSR: L5R 3rd Edition
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The monolithic evil was bad for the card game because it trivialized all the actual conflicts in the card game, which were 95% not about the giant good vs. Evil story that eventually got told. It was bad for the RPG because it trivialized 95% of the setting your characters might interact with.

The anthropomorphism of the clans and their subsequent elevation to monolithic agents was bad for the game's storyline because it led to some severely shit stories. But it ws especially corrosive to the RPG because it made step zero (we all make characters and start the game) really difficult. That part of the game should be fucking mad libs that writes itself, and there are no shortage of games that manage to make that step trivially easy instead of treacherously difficult. For fuck's sake, even Vampire has an easier time putting coteries together.

I agree that L5R is basically a tear down. You wouldn't want to salvage anything from the mechanics because they are a dumpster fire. And you can't find any part of the setting that isn't loaded with lots of really really stupid baggage. What you want is a new setting and a new set of mechanics that happen to also let you play color coded animal themed samurai.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'm all for abandoning everything about L5R but the asthetics (i know little about it anyways). I just rather like the basic idea of the shadowlands as a monster inhabited sort of wilderness in contrast (but not hard-coded conflict) with human civilization. Not EEEEEVIL but different.
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

dumping the factions of L5R and replacing it with a Touhou fanfiction is a strong step up in clarity and authenticity
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Wiseman wrote:
I'm all for abandoning everything about L5R but the asthetics (i know little about it anyways). I just rather like the basic idea of the shadowlands as a monster inhabited sort of wilderness in contrast (but not hard-coded conflict) with human civilization. Not EEEEEVIL but different.


You definitely want there to be evil things in Yomi. But the majority of the inhabitants have to be basically OK people who happen to live in a monster infested wilderness. If the minor oni and tengu aren't somewhat sympathetic it isn't a bad thing for the big bad guys to be eating them and shit. There have to be folks worth saving in Yomi for there to be villains worth fighting. You have to feel sorry for the oppressed Goblins for the fight against the oppressors of the Goblins to be villains you want to overthrow.

That being said, Touhou's Yomi is pretty bad for RPGs because surrealism makes for hard cooperative storytelling.

-Frank
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DrPraetor
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Right when it came out, L5R had a sino/japanese "jealous worlds" conceit that I liked.

The idea was, when the Gods came down to earth this was a big risk on their part, because the world was "jealous" and would trap them here, or try to lure them to stay with wordly appetites, or something. The more beautiful, virtuous and awesome you were, the more the world wanted to keep you.

The shadowlands were a step down on the spiritual hierarchy so regular people (or, especially, heroes and great artists and such) would experience a similar phenomenon. So corruption and the shadowlands were both "less fortunate", maybe less enlightened or something, but not in any sense evil.

I quite liked the above conceit but, well, you saw what happened.
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Longes
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

DrPraetor wrote:
Right when it came out, L5R had a sino/japanese "jealous worlds" conceit that I liked.

The idea was, when the Gods came down to earth this was a big risk on their part, because the world was "jealous" and would trap them here, or try to lure them to stay with wordly appetites, or something. The more beautiful, virtuous and awesome you were, the more the world wanted to keep you.

The shadowlands were a step down on the spiritual hierarchy so regular people (or, especially, heroes and great artists and such) would experience a similar phenomenon. So corruption and the shadowlands were both "less fortunate", maybe less enlightened or something, but not in any sense evil.

I quite liked the above conceit but, well, you saw what happened.


Are you sure? By the time of L5R 1e RPG the backstory was that Lord Moon went full Chronos on his children, the Kami, and ate all of them except for Zeus Hantei. Hantei cut open Lord Moon and everyone fell to Earth. Fu Leng for some reason fell super hard and fell through the earth into hell and became evil and created Shadowlands.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
Orion wrote:
Is there any reason to go with NO central Clan authority?


Yes. There is an advantage to having more than 12 daimyos. If you put a clan head above that, then the daimyos will recede into the background and you'll end up with just the clan heads as the main leaders.

It's just pointlessly reductionist to have a big boss of all Wolf Clan lords. Putting in a clan head reduces the number of high lords that people care about rather than increasing it.

Also, it's divisive of the party, because a Wolf Clan Head is the big boss of one of the players and not the big boss of any of the others. That creates automatic intraparty betrayal triggers that have no real advantages.

-Frank


Daimyos and clan heads seem like they'd work best if they were parallel, rather than heirarchal with each other. Being Daimyo would make it easier to become clan head, because it means that you have territory you control and an army you can send out against the current clan head. However, the current clan head is probably also a Daimyo and overtly moving against him is going to get him calling in his allies for assistance. So it matters if you have enough support to counter his support.


Basically, more like Crusader Kings. Having a guy who is officially in charge does not in any way stop you from chopping his head off and declaring that you're in charge. What stops that is the expected reaction of everyone else, and how many soldiers those guys have.
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DrPraetor
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Longes wrote:

Are you sure? By the time of L5R 1e RPG the backstory was that Lord Moon went full Chronos on his children, the Kami, and ate all of them except for Zeus Hantei. Hantei cut open Lord Moon and everyone fell to Earth. Fu Leng for some reason fell super hard and fell through the earth into hell and became evil and created Shadowlands.


Hmm. I remember this bit of text pretty well. But then people remember Sinbad being in a genie movie, so that proves nothing. Weren't Hantei's siblings trapped in Rokugan by world jealousy? No?

Anyway, the editorial discipline, what with the semi-official fan fiction and stuff, was weak. There was a lot of cool stuff from various sources but it didn't penetrate the main story line or the choice of cards for the expansion content, even when it obviously should have. Like, there was a bunch of cool Unicorn stuff that people wrote when Unicorn was winning the tournaments, which was somehow both semi-canon and never used (or anyway never went anywhere). I'd already stopped paying attention but L5R editorial oversight was a disaster when it existed at all.

So it is possible that "world jealousy" bit was never primary cannon, or anyway had been superseded by something much less cool already by '97. Or I may have assumed that the shadowlands were also a world jealousy thing, but I'm mind-caulking that bit in? Dunno.

EDIT: What Frank said (below). And - assuming the fan wiki is as authoritative as such things can be - spirit realms still get World Jealousy, but the material world doesn't, which totally bollocksz the whole celestial beings have to make a big sacrifice to come down and save us because they might get trapped here THING - which was, like, the coolest part of Buddhism from a superhero origin story perspective.

http://l5r.wikia.com/wiki/Jealousy_of_the_Spirit_Realms
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Longes wrote:
DrPraetor wrote:
Right when it came out, L5R had a sino/japanese "jealous worlds" conceit that I liked.

The idea was, when the Gods came down to earth this was a big risk on their part, because the world was "jealous" and would trap them here, or try to lure them to stay with wordly appetites, or something. The more beautiful, virtuous and awesome you were, the more the world wanted to keep you.

The shadowlands were a step down on the spiritual hierarchy so regular people (or, especially, heroes and great artists and such) would experience a similar phenomenon. So corruption and the shadowlands were both "less fortunate", maybe less enlightened or something, but not in any sense evil.

I quite liked the above conceit but, well, you saw what happened.


Are you sure? By the time of L5R 1e RPG the backstory was that Lord Moon went full Chronos on his children, the Kami, and ate all of them except for Zeus Hantei. Hantei cut open Lord Moon and everyone fell to Earth. Fu Leng for some reason fell super hard and fell through the earth into hell and became evil and created Shadowlands.


DrP is right. The L5R RPG came out like 2 years after the card game started, and the setting had already filled up with some pretty stupid shit. The RPG became a thing roughly the time the card game was going through Time of the Void and the stupid was being baked into the cake. All that Lord Moon shit was extremely absent from the first couple of sets. In fact, the first edition of the RPG came right about the exact time when the setting was really filling in the cosmology and expanded universe and shit. And it is historical fact that they filled it up with equal measures of crazy and bullshit. Presumably at some point between 1995 and 1997 John Wick found out about Amaterasu and decided to do a grimderp version for Rokugan.

Now personally I think it's self evident that Yomi residents should want to go to the empire and take its stuff because it's a nice place and it has good stuff. It creates barbarian invasion stories and Skeletor-type villains. Further, I find it equally self evident that the player characters should go to Yomi whenever there are adventure seeds there, which in turn means that having Yomi be in any particular way "corrupting" is probably right the fuck out.

Anyway, one of the core problems with Rokugan as a campaign setting is that demon invasions are extremely real and extremely important, and the game suggested that doing honorable stuff like calligraphy and falconry was something you did instead of fighting slug monsters and spine vampires and shit. The Crane clan garden cultivation really didn't help fight the Shadow in any meaningful way. That meant that player characters pretty much all ended up being Lobo types who distained tea ceremonies. That's totally bullshit. The player characters should be James Bond motherfuckers who are totally bad ass and have excellent taste in music, clothes, alcohol, and tea.

Which really comes down to the idea that the Carp Clan poetry competitions should be taken seriously by the players. They should do real things. The Empire should be culturally imperializing Yomi, and the Goblins want to listen to your haiku.

-Frank
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Wiseman
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
Wiseman wrote:
I'm all for abandoning everything about L5R but the asthetics (i know little about it anyways). I just rather like the basic idea of the shadowlands as a monster inhabited sort of wilderness in contrast (but not hard-coded conflict) with human civilization. Not EEEEEVIL but different.


You definitely want there to be evil things in Yomi. But the majority of the inhabitants have to be basically OK people who happen to live in a monster infested wilderness. If the minor oni and tengu aren't somewhat sympathetic it isn't a bad thing for the big bad guys to be eating them and shit. There have to be folks worth saving in Yomi for there to be villains worth fighting. You have to feel sorry for the oppressed Goblins for the fight against the oppressors of the Goblins to be villains you want to overthrow.

That being said, Touhou's Yomi is pretty bad for RPGs because surrealism makes for hard cooperative storytelling.

-Frank


Yeah, I was referring more towards the ability set (choice of basic skills with magic on top) and the wilderness area dominated by youkai more than the specific story and character types. It was the most prominant example that came to mind.

That said, there are several universe compendiums that describe the world in more detail and could be used as sources of ideas.

https://en.touhouwiki.net/wiki/Perfect_Memento_in_Strict_Sense
https://en.touhouwiki.net/wiki/Symposium_of_Post-mysticism
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Hyzmarca wrote:
Daimyos and clan heads seem like they'd work best if they were parallel, rather than heirarchal with each other.

Basically, more like Crusader Kings.


Having there be non-linear leadership hierarchies certainly makes intrigue plots easier. If there's a sangharaja, a grandmother of the tiger clan, and a local daimyo who all have various claims on the allegiance of your Tiger Clan Monk, that's a good place to start intrigue plotlines. It's a delicate line to walk though, because it's also a source of party strife. One of the other players is a Wolf Clan Ninja, which means that while they have the same local daimyo they are unconcerned with the grandmother of the tiger clan and with the sangharaja, and instead have some amount of allegiance to the jonin and wolf clan alpha.

I think such things could be a net positive for an RPG if the local daimyo explicitly had the greatest hold on the allegiance of the player characters, with the class and clan affiliations being distant secondary concerns that were used primarily like contacts in Shadowrun. Having each player character have extra story elements they can pull into the story is good, and having every character have a solid reason why they can't work with the other player characters is bad. It seems doable to set up the fealty structure so you have the first and not the second.

DrP wrote:
I'd already stopped paying attention but L5R editorial oversight was a disaster when it existed at all.


Absolutely. The way it worked for the first couple of years is that they'd host unedited fanfiction from fans, and those would be essentially canon and sometimes referenced in official product lines unless and until they were contradicted by the paid authors. Like how Star Wars canon has movies superceding novels except the lowest accepted level was the period equivalent of slash fiction by fans.

And when the story editors did come in to elevate or denigrate specific fanfiction pieces, it was basically totally random and had everything to do with how they were feeling that day.

-Frank
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Count Arioch the 28th
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
...and the Goblins want to listen to your haiku.

-Frank


That image is hilarious and I want to donate to the kickstarter.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

DrPraetor wrote:

Hmm. I remember this bit of text pretty well. But then people remember Sinbad being in a genie movie, so that proves nothing. Weren't Hantei's siblings trapped in Rokugan by world jealousy? No?


IIRC world jealousy was a thing; the Kami lost their divinity because they landed on Ningen-do, and Fu-Leng kept it because he crashed into Jigoku, which was a spirit realm like Tengoku.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Wiseman wrote:
That said, there are several universe compendiums that describe the world in more detail and could be used as sources of ideas.


Sure. But it's not like in the era of Crunchyroll and Wikipedia that it's particularly hard to find lists of Yokai. Indeed, there are so many Yokai available to choose from that you honestly are going to need to make some cuts or have the world of Yokai be a kitchen sink parade of Steves. So you'd kind of like to have Goblin villages, Tengu villages, Kappa villages, Nezumi villages, Mujina villages, Bakeneko villages, Tanuki villages, Hibagon villages, Jorogumo villages, Kodama villages, Yosei villages, Kitsune villages, Samebito villages, Naga villages, and Vanara villages. And that's before we get in to the fact that we probably want there to be Ogres that actually are a parade of Steves or delve very deeply into Chinese, Korean, or Southeast Asian literature. That's probably too many types of dudes for them to all get villages and spots on the map. So you're already going to be announcing that Mujina, Bakeneko, Tanuki, and Kitsune are all collectively Obake. Kodama and Yosei are both stuff you meet in the same spirit forests. The Hibagon are just a flavor of Ogre. The Samebito can be just one creature of many in the Sea Dragon's forces. And so on.

Basically you have no problem at all filling up a monster manual, and your primary difficulty with the non-human peoples is getting their number down far enough that the players have the luxury to care what the differences between Tengu and Kappa are.

Count Arioch wrote:
That image is hilarious


Yes, but it also derives logically from the constraints of the medium. If we want the characters to care about the cultural trappings and honor and such, then we have to get the players to care about it because in an RPG the players control all the protagonists. For the players to care about the cultural trappings, they have to be beneficial towards advancing character goals (note that this is emphatically not the ridiculous PL claim that they all have to give combat bonuses, because not all challenges are combat challenges).

Now it is of course an open question of what it is that practicing calligraphy and embroidery and such actually does. I think most games that try to reward that kind of behavior give you XP or something equivalent for grinding away at craft skills, and I can't say that I like that solution very much. If grinding away at falconry or poetry is just a means towards generic character progression then it's just going to be better or worse than goblin stabbing and in either case it's the game explicitly wasting your time. To be satisfying, using your teamaking and songwriting has to not only contribute to your overall progression, it has to contribute directly to completing actual in-game and in-world challenges.

Now you could do it the completely ridiculous way where some characters just paint in the middle of combat and a certain number of enemy spider demons explode for "no reason." But that's extremely stupid, and in any case the desired outcome is for characters to actually be sword swinging samurai who also have good taste in women, wine, and song. So the ability to support a party that has a swordsman, a wizard, and a flower arranger is not actually sufficient. Instead, the samurai has to be presented with genuine flower arranging challenges.

And further, since the characters are going to spend long periods (potentially entire campaigns) in barbarian lands, it is absolutely essential that there still be flower arrangment challenges while you are deep in Yomi. Which outside a video game means that there has to be in character reasons why you'd want to compose poetry or make a rock garden while in a Goblin village in the middle of Yomi.

There are lots of ways you could possibly go about this, but the obvious solution to this problem is simply that the Goblins want to consume your culture because it is awesome. Nezumi, Tengu, Kappa, and even Oni want to wear imperial clothes, hang imperial paintings on their walls, and listen to imperial poetry after eating imperial food for dinner off of imperial porcelain. Your ability to be respectable makes nonhumans and even monsters respect you.

It's a totally different esthetic than the Conan-inspired one that murder hobos cultivate - where respectability and dressing nicely and eating non-expired food is merely a distraction from amassing essential tools of murder stabbing. This is a more imperialistic perspective in which being civilized is actually good and people want the trappings of your civilization and you can gain their trust and admiration by bringing it to them. But if you want to sell the players as being part of the empire, you should in fact do that. Otherwise everyone is just going to turn against the capitol and join the Mockingjay at the first opportunity.

And yes, this means that you need to have a robust tea party game, because it is entirely possible that you will use it frequently.

-Frank
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DrPraetor
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
(note that this is emphatically not the ridiculous PL claim that they all have to give combat bonuses, because not all challenges are combat challenges).

...

And yes, this means that you need to have a robust tea party game, because it is entirely possible that you will use it frequently.



http://ranma.wikia.com/wiki/Martial_Arts_Tea_Ceremony
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Wiseman
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So how are we going to do this? A fixed skill challenge system? Skill combat?
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Wiseman wrote:
So how are we going to do this? A fixed skill challenge system? Skill combat?


Well that depends on your overall system. Obviously if you go sufficiently abstract, then missions are simply going to require a certain amount of Beauty in addition to a certain amount of Valor in order to complete, and none of the missions are going to actually go to zero on either axis.

If you're going for a really granular action resolution system then obviously any act of flower arrangement is going to be a grannular action and have its resolution. And then Beauty moves are going to increase Respect, which in turn would lower surrender thresholds and improve diplomatic relations and shit.

My gut instinct for an RPG would be to create a phase at the beginning of confrontations which allows characters to boast, show off, or make diplomatic entreatments. During this phase, you could do things to inspire Respect or Fear if you wanted, which would have various advantages if it worked.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So, basically, shonen-style monologues before the beatdown commences (but in a variety of guises and as discreet, specific actions)? I like it. Feels kinda genre appropriate, especially considering the general target audience these days.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Would this work with D20 in any way (presuming a fixed skill system obviously)?

If so, I had several ideas about how to do something like that. I wanted to design a system that made skills tactical and have a variety of options you can take, like combat does.

For example diplomacy might have options like: "Stall" "Incite the Crowd" "Ridicule the Opposition" "Diffuse the Tension" "Seduce Somebody" "Rally"

Stealth (for ninjas or whatever) would have things like "Make a Distraction" "Pickpocket" "Reduce Suspicion"

There would probably be some overlap between skills and so forth. Each option would have different outcomes and utility so there would be tactical decision in skill challenges (or whatever we call them since that name is tainted).
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Lokey
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Right, there's 3 or 4 different mechanical system besides the Alderac pubbed shitshow. If it's mostly dnd with the serials filed off, probably going to be clunky/easily broken without an extensive overhaul, just way too many problems throughout the different editions.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Wiseman wrote:
Would this work with D20 in any way (presuming a fixed skill system obviously)?


To be honest, all RPGs are essentially D&D hacks, so it's pretty much impossible for any game written to not work in any way like D20. The question is how much D&D genetics is going to be recognizable, not whether it's going to be there.

That being said, D20 battles work pretty well and they especially work pretty well for small groups of player characters doing skirmish combat with deep tactical choices and a reasonable resolution speed. So it's probable that having the D20 DNA be pretty obvious in the melee combat rules is desirable. On the flip side, D20's skill system is very bad in pretty much every way it's possible to be bad - so you wouldn't want the skill system to look very much like D20's system. I'm perfectly willing to have a discussion about all the ways D20's skill system is bad, but it's a little off topic here. Suffice to say you'd want a skill system that gave people a decent subject mastery as starting characters, had room for growth, didn't become completely deterministic, organically produced a range of success outcomes but was easy to calculate the most likely outcome. To my mind that implies dice pools - which is a thing that L5R 3rd edition tried to do but fucked up horribly beyond belief. So none of this roll and keep nonsense just for starters.

-Frank
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Going to be honest. I've never used games with dice pools, and am actually very unclear on how they work. Can anyone explain them to me?
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deaddmwalking
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

A dicepool involves rolling a relatively large number of dice and counting 'hits'.

Let's say your pool is based on d6, and you can have 3, 4, 5, or 6 dice in your pool. If you roll 3d6 you have a pretty good chance of rolling a single 5 or 6 (1 hit), but you might get up to 3 (or none).

If you have 6d6, you're almost certain to get at least 1 hit, but you might get up to 6.

Generally, the more hits you get, the better your action. For easy tasks you might only need 1 hit, for harder tasks you might need 2, 3 or more hits.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Ignore DDMW because he is talking abouit a specific case and he is going to confuse you.

A dicepool is a system where you roll some number of dice that each output a number and ten add those outputs together to find your total. Now for obvious reasons, the best dicepool games roll dice that output either zero or one and your final result is just counting the number of dice that output 1. But there's nothing other than a modicrum of good taste stopping you from having dicepools where each die could output 3 or 7 and then have shit go to carry places when adding all this shit together.

Very importantly for the purpose of this conversation, L5R 3rd edition is a game where the output of a d10 that rolls a 6 is a 6 and then that is added to the outputs of all the other kept dice in the pool. But games that have their heads less firmly stuck up their asses like NWoD roll a pile of d10s but then count all the dice that roll over a specific number as "1" and all the dice that roll under as "0." And oh my fucking god, I just used NWoD as an example of superior game system because L5R's system is such a fucking train wreck that that is where we are.

Anyway, the advantage from a math standpoint is that a sanely designed dicepool system has built-in exponentials. Getting 9 heads in a row happens one time in five hundred, getting 10 heads in a row happens one in a thousand, and so on. This means that it's very easy to hit the "sweet spot" that is almost impossible to manage with a flat RNG - where an event is technically possible without becoming oppressively likely and yet a character could also become sufficiently skilled that an impossible action becomes routine without breaking the RNG of the game.

The cost of this is that calculating the specific chance of a specific roll result is Nintendo Hard. You can easily say what the average result of a die roll is going to be, but if you want the percentage chance of beating that result by 2 (or whatever), the math becomes very difficult.

-Frank
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