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Scorpions and Shujenga: Tabletop Games Folded 1000 Times

JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp.I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
edited November 23 in Singularity Engine++
The new FFG 5th edition of Legend of the Five Rings is a super great game I'm not sure I'll ever get to run or play but I'm buying all the oboks anyway because the rules are great and the books and products are fucking gorgeous.

l5r02_box_right.png

l5c01_anc_preview.jpg

Legend of the Five Rings (L5R) has been around for like 30 years as an RPG and card game. Set in Rokugan, a fantasy pastiche of medieval Japan where various clans struggle for supremacy and where magic, spirits, and demons are real, it puts the players in the role of samurai trying to solve problems, advance their clan's goals, gain status and honor, or pursue personal objectives, all while maintaining propriety and upholding social expectations.

I haven't played the original four editions; each has its partisans, although I don't know many who stick up for 2nd edition, which was apparently a mess. Generally speaking it sounds like the system was fiddly in a way very common to 1990s RPGs, when dozens of new games like Shadowrun and Vampire were trying to break out of the D&D mold but people hadn't quite gotten how to do that yet. Like a lot of 90s games, L5R also had a metaplot told in tie-in books and games, and which could be influenced by players through tournaments of the card game. As you can imagine, letting players decide major events in the setting led to weird places. Also, like a lot of settings with metaplot, it developed that weird problem where things were the same for 1000 years and then suddenly 20 different world-shaking events happen within the span of 10 years.

So, after buying the property, Fantasy Flight's 5th edition essentially reboots the setting back to something like its original conception, but in a way that's more appropriate to 2019. The "historical" sexism of the original setting has been chopped out; women are now fully playable without any weird stigma or penalties and major characters have been gender-bent or are called out as genderfluid and there are canonical queer romances.

The system has been overhauled and now focuses on trying to deliver the main theme of the game, the conflict between a samurai's personal desires and their duty and social obligations. On every roll, you can push harder to succeed but at the risk of gaining Strife, or emotional turmoil. When your Strife reaches a certain level, it begins to compromise your ability to function and you begin to take penalties. To regain their composure, your samurai must either find an outlet for their conflict - such as the creation of art, poetry, or calligraphy - or they can Unmask, dropping the stoic facade and letting the world see a (perhaps embarrassing) glimpse of the real person as they confess a forbidden love, or curse out the idiocy of a superior, or let an enemy goad them into attacking.

Samurai also do more than fight; they make art, they attend court and perform politics and intrigue, and the game now supports that stuff as robustly as it supports sword duels and ninjitsu. Characters can specialize in discerning falsehoods (or spinning them), calming others through ritual and prayer, or even performing the tea ceremony.

The system is slick and elegant (especially for FFG) and the presentation is :chef kiss: . I don't feel competent to run it because I don't feel like I've marinated myself in enough samurai cinema and anime to have a full command of the vibe, and the game's thousand sourcebooks of increasingly fractal detail about village life, clan politics, and so forth are intimidating, but I have bought each of the system's new releases since it launched last year just to read and admire them. It's really cool!

Jacobkosh on
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Posts

  • WearingglassesWearingglasses Of the friendly neighborhood variety Registered User regular
    Are the plural of shugenja 'shugenjas' or just 'shugenja'?

  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    I think it's the latter but I'm a level 0 weeaboo so take anything I say with a pitcher of salt

    I do know that Japan is somewhere near Chile and their biggest export is cuckoo clocks

    chrishallett83
  • GiantGeek2020GiantGeek2020 Registered User regular
    I always loved this game system. Brilliant depth. Intrigue, culture, investigation, mystery, mysticism. Just marvelous matchless depth.

    Is the swordplay still as dangerous as it always was?

    It was one of the things I loved about the system. A Katana is essentially a 3 foot razor blade. If you are in heavy armor that is one thing. If you are in say a silk kimono and having a duel in court, well that is another. And fucking up your iaijistsu roll was going to result in a very bad day for you.

    Biscuits 3:16 "food Jesus is dead and you killed him"
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    I always loved this game system. Brilliant depth. Intrigue, culture, investigation, mystery, mysticism. Just marvelous matchless depth.

    Is the swordplay still as dangerous as it always was?

    It was one of the things I loved about the system. A Katana is essentially a 3 foot razor blade. If you are in heavy armor that is one thing. If you are in say a silk kimono and having a duel in court, well that is another. And fucking up your iaijistsu roll was going to result in a very bad day for you.

    I need some face time with the system but from reading the rules it certainly seems like iajutsu duels can get very decisive very quickly. The Strife system plays into that, too. Keeping your composure is key. The guy whose facade cracks first is at a big disadvantage, and that feels pretty appropriate to samurai movies to me.

  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    @Jacobkosh are you sure you meant to post this in D&D?

    HefflingBahamutZEROJacobkosh
  • PolaritiePolaritie Sleepy Registered User regular
    Quid wrote: »
    Jacobkosh are you sure you meant to post this in D&D?

    I always wondered why there wasn't one in this subforum to be honest.

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  • admanbadmanb unionize your workplace Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    Jacobkosh are you sure you meant to post this in D&D?

    I always wondered why there wasn't one in this subforum to be honest.

    Because Critical Failures exists.

    Quid
  • HefflingHeffling No Pic EverRegistered User regular
    I think Quid is suggesting that Critical Failures may be more appropriate.

    If a movement doesn't have someone that can sit down opposite those in a position of power and strike a deal, how can that movement achieve success?
    Quid
  • admanbadmanb unionize your workplace Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Critical Failures has both an RPGs thread and a Board Games thread, which covers the topic of this thread. I invite everyone to join us there because they're good threads.

    SE++ just has to have its own weird versions of every topic because it's SE++.

    Elvenshae
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    Yes, this was meant to go in SE++ but I misclicked and didn't notice

    Heffling
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    you're not tricking me into going to d&d dangit

    COME IN, DEARIES

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  • MaddocMaddoc I'm Bobbin Threadbare, are you my mother? Registered User regular
    I've been meaning to check out FFGs L5R stuff

    I always enjoyed the card game and rpg in theory, in practice they always felt a bit fiddly

    97H9G7S.png PSN - Masked Unit | FFXIV - Laitarne Gilgamesh
  • webguy20webguy20 Spends too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    So we're getting ready to do Descent into Avernus, and I'm playing a wizard, but not just any wizard, a noble golden retriever, who has his papers of pedigree. Once a powerful wizard, due to some arcane error, Matritus' mind got swapped with his loyal golden retriever, Boomer. Now having to start over in the arcane arts with this new body, Matritus is on the hunt to find the magics to switch his mind back, before he grows too old and dies (like 6 years).

    He has a retinue of servants that help keep up the disguise. One is his old body now inhabited by Boomer, another is his groomer, Jalania, teenage daughter of the maid of his wizard tower. Third but not finally is his Man servant, Hiron, keeper of the gold, opener of the doors, and fluffer of the doggy bed.

    It's going to be a lot of fun I think.

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  • BahamutZEROBahamutZERO Registered User regular
    ha do you have to avoid spells with somatic components or just hand... paw-wave them away

    BahamutZERO.gif
  • webguy20webguy20 Spends too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    ha do you have to avoid spells with somatic components or just hand... paw-wave them away

    He's learned to use his ears instead. That's why he had to start back at the basics. It was quite the ordeal!

    Steam ID: Webguy20
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  • BrainleechBrainleech 機知に富んだコメントはここにあります Registered User regular

  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    Yes, this was meant to go in SE++ but I misclicked and didn't notice

    I thought you might be making a third tabletop games thread and was worried it might be time for an intervention.

  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    Quid wrote: »
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    Yes, this was meant to go in SE++ but I misclicked and didn't notice

    I thought you might be making a third tabletop games thread and was worried it might be time for an intervention.

    i mean

    i could post in a third thread

    QuidFencingsaxElvenshaeMagic Pink
  • Lord PalingtonLord Palington he.him.his Registered User regular
    webguy20 wrote: »
    ha do you have to avoid spells with somatic components or just hand... paw-wave them away

    He's learned to use his ears instead. That's why he had to start back at the basics. It was quite the ordeal!

    Quite the ... Ordear?

    SrUxdlb.jpg
    webguy20FencingsaxElvenshaeTofystedeth
  • Rhesus PositiveRhesus Positive GNU Terry Pratchett Registered User regular
    Eardeal

    Elvenshae
  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    I hope at some point an enemy throws a stick and you have to make a Wisdom saving throw.

    So I’ve got no time to run it but I want to run a game set at the end of a fantasy Golden Age, with the players as beautiful elven warriors who get to decide the fate of the new people before they die out. They can either turn into the balrogs of the new era, the Gandalfs, or piss off to the East.

    What would you do if you knew your civilisation was dying out?

    Play to find out!... some day.

    webguy20
  • Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Bad Opinion Haver Registered User regular
    I hope at some point an enemy throws a stick and you have to make a Wisdom saving throw.

    So I’ve got no time to run it but I want to run a game set at the end of a fantasy Golden Age, with the players as beautiful elven warriors who get to decide the fate of the new people before they die out. They can either turn into the balrogs of the new era, the Gandalfs, or piss off to the East.

    What would you do if you knew your civilisation was dying out?

    Play to find out!... some day.

    It's not the perspective the material's written from but the Iron Pact Elves in Symbaroum are very close to this.

  • never dienever die Registered User regular
    So after watching the Mandalorian yesterday, that got me thinking about Star Wars again, and then specifically how to make a lightsaber in Mage: The Awakening 2nd edition. This lead to me pitching it to my Mage group as a hypothetical, fun thought exorcise in a chat group.

    Fast forward 20 minutes and they turned that into musings of how they could use Tul-Val’s control over Matter to enfuse the properties of a taser or Tesla coil into a sub machine gun to make an smg that shoots lightning bolts. Also that if they got a helicopter they could strap speakers to it to play Ride of the Valkyries, Ember could them amplify the sound of the helicopter blades to ear bleeding levels, and then cast another version of the same spell to turn the song into waves of fire as it hit things.

    I love Mage.

    Elvenshae
  • DepressperadoDepressperado I just wanted to see you laughing in the pizza rainRegistered User regular
    Mage is fun when you just go balls out

    "how much crazy can we magic up before Consequences?"

    never dieElvenshaeHefflingTofystedeth
  • never dienever die Registered User regular
    And then when consequences do happen, it's often glorious.

    ...that was essentially half of my last session. It involved Page being lectured by Edel, his Guardians of the Veil mentor, about how much he fucked up by not ensuring that the rest of the party had adequately protected the stupid powerful magical artifact they had in their possession (they put it in a magically sealed safe, and then did nothing to protect the safe). At the same time, the rest of the party got lectured by Cimon, the council member for the Adamantaine Arrow, about how dissapointed they were with the party, and that they obviously didn't have the magical wisdom yet to be trusted with stuff like this.

    This spurred the party to double their effort to find the Banishers. On top of getting six people killed.

    DepressperadoJacobkoshSolarGrogElvenshaePolaritieTofystedeth
  • DepressperadoDepressperado I just wanted to see you laughing in the pizza rainRegistered User regular
    I definitely mentioned this before, but I was in a Mage game at this LAN party venue/gaming store

    We kept it very much on the DL and did a lot of mundane investigating, but decided to go loud when we found our target

    Our first major spell flubs and backfired and one of our group fell apart into living yarn, so we abandoned the quest to travel to see another group member's witch grandmother, who we task with knitting him into a person again.

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  • expendableexpendable Silly Goose Registered User regular
    Mage seems like such an interesting game I wish I could play.

    Djiem wrote: »
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    So the servers suddenly decide to cramp up during the last six percent.
    Man, the Director will really go out of his way to be a dick to L4D players.
    Steam
  • UrielUriel Registered User regular
    Mage seems like an awesome game that I wouldn't have the imagination to play.

    Beef AvengerFencingsax
  • never dienever die Registered User regular
    Uriel wrote: »
    Mage seems like an awesome game that I wouldn't have the imagination to play.

    It's okay, I am probably the least, or second least, creative person at the table and I'm running the game.

  • BrainleechBrainleech 機知に富んだコメントはここにあります Registered User regular
    Mage is one of those games I would like to know more about. It's not my lack of imagination {mine is both vast and chaotic.} just how others would react to it is one of the problems
    I know the basic gist it from the various WoD books I have {the VtR era ones}


  • MsAnthropyMsAnthropy Our Lady of Perpetual Mazes The CageRegistered User regular
    Mage is fun when you just go balls out

    "how much crazy can we magic up before Consequences?"

    As a player you also have to remember that you can whiff a roll no matter how large the pool. My Guardian of the Veil character tried to rend the pattern of a vampire’s ghoul once and got no successes with 17 dice going into the roll...

    "The only real politics I knew was that if a guy liked Hitler, I’d beat the stuffing out of him and that would be it." -- Jack Kirby
    never dieJacobkoshFencingsaxElvenshae
  • never dienever die Registered User regular
    Totally. I’ve done it as a GM (“oh this Mage is gonna fuck you up!” 20 dice, zero successes) and seen the players do it (“we have to counterspell this” 16 dice later, with rote, zero successes).

  • MsAnthropyMsAnthropy Our Lady of Perpetual Mazes The CageRegistered User regular
    edited November 24
    The probability of no successes on a 17 dice pool is something like 0.2%.

    Uh, not that I was trying to make sure that the die bot didn’t just hate me or anything.

    >.>

    <.<

    MsAnthropy on
    "The only real politics I knew was that if a guy liked Hitler, I’d beat the stuffing out of him and that would be it." -- Jack Kirby
    never dieJacobkoshElvenshae
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    Uriel wrote: »
    Mage seems like an awesome game that I wouldn't have the imagination to play.

    Bear in mind that like any other World/Chronicles of Darkness game, a lot of the game (or even most of it) is, by design, just hanging out and talking. You're meant to spend a lot of time interacting with your party members, with NPCs, exploring the world, etc. The times you need to think fast on your feet are rare and mages, vampires, etc (but especially mages!) would, in universe, prefer not to have to deal with the unexpected whenever possible, and if you know you tend to freeze when trying to come up with good ideas in the moment, you can cook up stratagems during slow moments or between sessions.

    Also, it's important to know that the game supports a lot of different gears. People like recounting stories of the gonzo stuff their characters did, but if you just want to chuck fireballs or heal damage or sneak around invisibly, you can do those things and you won't be gimped by your choice.

    never dieBrainleechToxSolarTofystedeth
  • never dienever die Registered User regular
    I concur. Especially the part about the memorable parts being the ones we bring up. Like the majority of combat situations for my players are: Ember punch, Tul-Val smash with hammer, and Page wither counter-spelling or buffing. But that’s not a fun thing to recount, so I don’t tell those parts on here. Just the bonkers/cool parts.

  • MsAnthropyMsAnthropy Our Lady of Perpetual Mazes The CageRegistered User regular
    Yeah, my Mage’s deal was that he could basically give himself any skill in the game at a high level for a given scene, while using Life to look like anyone.

    "The only real politics I knew was that if a guy liked Hitler, I’d beat the stuffing out of him and that would be it." -- Jack Kirby
    Jacobkoshnever dieElvenshae
  • PowerpuppiesPowerpuppies Registered User regular
    My mage was constantly frustrated that everyone else didn't see things the way she did

    trying to find a way to manipulate people to see reason

    she had proper combat things but almost always fought via "animate object"

    hey door close on those guys walking through you

    hey car drive forward and hit those people

    hey gun fire again and again until you're out of bullets

    sig.gif
    never dieShadowenRhesus PositiveMsAnthropyElvenshaePolaritie
  • ToxTox I kill threads Punch DimensionRegistered User regular
    My mage was constantly frustrated that everyone else didn't see things the way she did

    trying to find a way to manipulate people to see reason

    she had proper combat things but almost always fought via "animate object"

    hey door close on those guys walking through you

    hey car drive forward and hit those people

    hey gun fire again and again until you're out of bullets

    To be fair a lot of folks use that last one

    Wishlists! General | Gaming | Comics | Twitter! | Dilige, et quod vis fac
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  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    I am excited for this week's game. I get to introduce Gideon Yaboi who is totally just a rogue and not at all a warlock with a rapier possessed by a demon please stop asking questions.

    Elvenshaenever diewebguy20DepressperadoFencingsaxToxchrishallett83HefflingsarukunTofystedeth
  • Indie WinterIndie Winter die Krähe Rudi Hurzlmeier (German, b. 1952)Registered User regular
    hey, got a question about beamsaber - is there, like, a built-in mechanic for manufacturer bonuses? or a hack of one? basically a sort of equivalent to the faction bonuses you get during downtime, but for use during a mech engagement

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