söndag 3 januari 2016

Rokugan Basara

Spelling Rokugan with the kanji 六癌 (six cancers) is optional
Since game balance is mostly irrelevant or even undesirable for L5R, I suggest using schools roughly like Apocalypse World Playbooks. Each player picks a school and they're (currently) the only person in the world with that school. Clan is irrelevant, even being a ronin is irrelevant. Pick a school.

This counters one of my biggest gripes with the system - the underpoweredness of ronin in a game that claims inspiration from a list littered with ronin heroes. But it also allows your clan to feel less uniform, and for strange genius to appear in unexpected places.

Kurosawa's classic "seven homeless guys with no school techniques"

While NPCs don't have schools, they may have techniques, often taken from the schools in question (because it saves time), but not limited to them. Most NPCs won't have any techniques, but when they do, it's not necessarily something the players can learn.

I would personally eliminate the courtier schools entirely. They represent a strange divide which has little support in the fiction (how is Hoturi such a master of court if he's a kakita duelist?) and seem to be playing a completely different game from the other schools. Better to remove them and even the courtier playing field.

Artisans stay. While circumstantial, they do not step on the other schools' feet as much, and they come in many interesting flavours.

Another thing I'd change is the jade. If we're gonna have something that rpg-resourcey for dealing with taint, I'd prefer if it was something more thematically appropriate. Maybe trees. They're alive, it lends an extra meta-holiness to sacred groves (and torii gates), it makes the twisted death of trees in the shadowlands more potent, and wood is an easily carved, renewable resource. The vast amounts of jade that's being consumed while venturing into the shadowlands feels excessive, and the tree theme allows for subplots of deforestation down the line.
the older the better
Shintao I have mixed feelings about. I dislike the name, but that could easily be replaced with terminology from Tenra Basho Zero (or another game of your choice): Bharata instead of Shintao, major sects including Hou-oh, Bokusen, and Myouren.
I would also prefer if it was more complex and littered with factions, but its graspability (as a vaguely defined mindfulness religion where players can insert pretty much anything) is a good thing and its primary strength. A few of their factions should have serious tensions with Fortunism, and I'd probably consider Ancestor-worship a separate religious tradition (using Heraldry as its primary skill).

Adding Sengoku Basara-style Xavism in the latter parts of history, coming hand in hand with rifles and nanban armour.
bullet-proof vest, samurai edition

Also everyone has ninja. They're basically there already. Let's just come out of the ninja closet and throw some Path of the Assassin politics into the mix.

And I am implementing a shogunate. Because the uncontroversial ancient dynasty of the Hantei holding absolute power with little or no opposition just fails to suspend my disbelief.

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