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Author Topic: [47] Ronin rpg in the spirit of Zatoichi/Sanjuro/Sword of doom  (Read 1056 times)
Kobayashi
Member

Posts: 22


« on: August 04, 2007, 03:09:56 AM »

b]Advantages

Blade : will be used in combat situation. Choose a style name and you're done.

Cover : masseur, bodyguard, assassin... Used for all non-combat situation.

Handicaps

Weakness : blind, peasant's son, addicted, mute son in a cart...

Rival : who is your nemesis ?

Fates

Honor : starts at zero, you earn honor points during the game. At 20 points the ronin is strong enough to avenge his Lord and die with honor

Death : starts at zero, each time you're wounded you get death points. At 20 points you're dead, if your honor counter isn't full, the ronin die in dishonor.

SYSTEM

Advantages and Handicaps are noted from 1 to 6, 2 being the average. Ronins start at 3 and get 3 points for Advantages and 3 points for Handicaps.

When using an advantage, throw that many D6s, every die showing a 4 or more is a success. Average difficulty is 2 success, difficult 3, very difficult 4.

Handicaps are dice that can be used by the GM:
_Weakness allows him to improve his rolls. But if the PC succeeds, he gets that many Honor points.
_Rival give the GM the number of dice he gets when he introduces a ronin's rival.

COMBAT

Mooks : GM rolls one die per mook (no more than six at a time), if the ronin obtains more successes than the GM, the margin shows how many mooks he killed. If the GM wins the margin is the number of Death points a ronin gets.

Rival : GM use the Rival attribute. A rival has Death points as a ronin. These are one-on-one fights only.

CAMPAIGN

1st part: one scenario per ronin. The climax of each scenario being the combat against his rival. These scenario's allows the characters to know who has murdered their Lord and where he is.

2 part : vengeance, before finding the Enemy, the ronins must overcome obstacles (one for each ronin in the group), but this time the ronins must overcome the obstacle together.

Last stand: the ronin who has the highest honor level is allowed to fight the Enemy. The Enemy is way much stronger than the ronins (best ronin's advantage +3), but a ronins who dies or commits seppuku gives the remaining ronins an additionnal die. Once the Enemy is killed, surviving ronins commit seppuku.

Questions

1. Non combat actions are using the Cover Advantage : if the action is related to cover, the difficulty is average, if not it's difficult.

So for physical non combat actions I thought of introducing the Ronin's age :

Young: throw 5 dices
Adult: throw 4 dices
Old : throw 3 dices

Young get less points for Advantages AND Handicaps
Old gets more points  but he starts with 5 death points, an adult with 3

Is it enough ? Or does it seem irrelevant ?

2. Honor an Death

The "point system" is easy to grasp but I already feel that 20 points might not be enough.

One solution is that ronins can loose Honor points, but I don't want it to be like in most Japanese oriented rpgs. the main source for the game are movies where the main characters lie, cheat, kill without a second thought. I don't want a ronin to lose Honor points because he used peasants weapons, rode a donkey or got drunk.

For now, if a ronin loses a fight (get to 20 death points) the character loose 5 Honor points or the enemy's value in honor point whichever is higher.

Any thoughts about the whole Honor/Death system ?

3. Advantages

I thought about dividing Blade into combat styles : agressive, brutal, tactic... The main problem how do all these styles interact with each other, and is it in anyway necessary ?

Do I need to introduce castes in the rules ? The player distributing points among these categories, based on his ronin's cover : whores, peasants, merchants and nobles. A bodyguard gaining more points with Nobles and Merchants, a masseur with whores and peasants...

Thanks for reading !

Advantages[/b]

Blade : will be used in combat situation. Choose a style name and you're done.

Cover : masseur, bodyguard, assassin... Used for all non-combat situation.

Handicaps

Weakness : blind, peasant's son, addicted, mute son in a cart...

Rival : who is your nemesis ?

Fates

Honor : starts at zero, you earn honor points during the game. At 20 points the ronin is strong enough to avenge his Lord and die with honor

Death : starts at zero, each time you're wounded you get death points. At 20 points you're dead, if your honor counter isn't full, the ronin die in dishonor.

SYSTEM

Advantages and Handicaps are noted from 1 to 6, 2 being the average. Ronins start at 3 and get 3 points for Advantages and 3 points for Handicaps.

When using an advantage, throw that many D6s, every die showing a 4 or more is a success. Average difficulty is 2 success, difficult 3, very difficult 4.

Handicaps are dice that can be used by the GM:
_Weakness allows him to improve his rolls. But if the PC succeeds, he gets that many Honor points.
_Rival give the GM the number of dice he gets when he introduces a ronin's rival.

COMBAT

Mooks : GM rolls one die per mook (no more than six at a time), if the ronin obtains more successes than the GM, the margin shows how many mooks he killed. If the GM wins the margin is the number of Death points a ronin gets.

Rival : GM use the Rival attribute. A rival has Death points as a ronin. These are one-on-one fights only.

CAMPAIGN

1st part: one scenario per ronin. The climax of each scenario being the combat against his rival. These scenario's allows the characters to know who has murdered their Lord and where he is.

2 part : vengeance, before finding the Enemy, the ronins must overcome obstacles (one for each ronin in the group), but this time the ronins must overcome the obstacle together.

Last stand: the ronin who has the highest honor level is allowed to fight the Enemy. The Enemy is way much stronger than the ronins (best ronin's advantage +3), but a ronins who dies or commits seppuku gives the remaining ronins an additionnal die. Once the Enemy is killed, surviving ronins commit seppuku.

Questions

1. Non combat actions are using the Cover Advantage : if the action is related to cover, the difficulty is average, if not it's difficult.

So for physical non combat actions I thought of introducing the Ronin's age :

Young: throw 5 dices
Adult: throw 4 dices
Old : throw 3 dices

Young get less points for Advantages AND Handicaps
Old gets more points  but he starts with 5 death points, an adult with 3

Is it enough ? Or does it seem irrelevant ?

2. Honor an Death

The "point system" is easy to grasp but I already feel that 20 points might not be enough.

One solution is that ronins can loose Honor points, but I don't want it to be like in most Japanese oriented rpgs. the main source for the game are movies where the main characters lie, cheat, kill without a second thought. I don't want a ronin to lose Honor points because he used peasants weapons, rode a donkey or got drunk.

For now, if a ronin loses a fight (get to 20 death points) the character loose 5 Honor points or the enemy's value in honor point whichever is higher.

Any thoughts about the whole Honor/Death system ?

3. Advantages

I thought about dividing Blade into combat styles : agressive, brutal, tactic... The main problem how do all these styles interact with each other, and is it in anyway necessary ?

Do I need to introduce castes in the rules ? The player distributing points among these categories, based on his ronin's cover : whores, peasants, merchants and nobles. A bodyguard gaining more points with Nobles and Merchants, a masseur with whores and peasants...

Thanks for reading !

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Chris_Chinn
Member

Posts: 67


« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2007, 07:10:08 AM »

Hi,

-  Am I correct in assuming that for any scene, a ronin will be using either Blade or Cover to deal with things?  Like, there's no way a Ronin will be stuck unable to use either Advantage, right?

-  Is there any benefit to killing a Rival other than getting them out of your way?

-  Is there any other ways to increase your Honor other than the GM using your Handicaps against you?  (If you can lose them from dishonorable choices, it should go the other way as well)

-  What happens if one Ronin avenges the Lord's death but the other Ronin don't have 20 Honor yet?  Are they still dishonored or are  they redeemed?  What if one of them truly has been dishonorable?

Chris
Logged
J. Scott Timmerman
Member

Posts: 164


« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2007, 12:56:35 PM »

1. Non combat actions are using the Cover Advantage : if the action is related to cover, the difficulty is average, if not it's difficult.

So for physical non combat actions I thought of introducing the Ronin's age :

Young: throw 5 dices
Adult: throw 4 dices
Old : throw 3 dices

Young get less points for Advantages AND Handicaps
Old gets more points  but he starts with 5 death points, an adult with 3

Is it enough ? Or does it seem irrelevant ?
I think that's a good idea.  It would allow for more choice in character concept, while still keeping things balanced (depending on how many more points Old gets).
Quote
2. Honor an Death

The "point system" is easy to grasp but I already feel that 20 points might not be enough.

Any thoughts about the whole Honor/Death system ?
My first thought is to increase maximums on both Honor and Death.  That way, you can spend more time on the 1st part, even giving single characters 2 or 3 scenarios each, to flesh out their characters' personalities. To keep Death likely, you could set a threshold, so that, in a fight, whenever the Ronin gets zero successes, and the opponent gets a lot of successes (maybe 4+), the Ronin will die instantly. 

Have you playtested the game using only 20 as a maximum?  I suppose the best way is to try it out.  Write down what makes the current system go well, and what makes it problematic, and decide from there.
Quote
3. Advantages

I thought about dividing Blade into combat styles : agressive, brutal, tactic... The main problem how do all these styles interact with each other, and is it in anyway necessary ?
I like it!  I think it adds another interesting twist on the game.  It could be as simple as Janken: Paper, Rock, Scissors.  Aggressive beats Crazy, Crazy beats Tactical, Tactical beats Aggressive.  Or something like that.
Quote
Do I need to introduce castes in the rules ? The player distributing points among these categories, based on his ronin's cover : whores, peasants, merchants and nobles. A bodyguard gaining more points with Nobles and Merchants, a masseur with whores and peasants...
It doesn't have to be a point-distribution, unless the character has multiple covers.  I think a flat bonus based on the type of cover would be good enough.  Maybe only +1/-1.  A Noble or Merchant is often willing to see a megura just to get some back work done.  There are also stories about Bushi seeking room with peasants, and the peasants are more than willing to give them a place to stay.  I suppose this also depends upon time period.

-Jason T.
Logged
Kobayashi
Member

Posts: 22


« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2007, 11:47:20 PM »

Thanks for the feedback !

-  Am I correct in assuming that for any scene, a ronin will be using either Blade or Cover to deal with things?  Like, there's no way a Ronin will be stuck unable to use either Advantage, right?

That's correct. If I introduce Age, this one will stand for physical non-combat actions.

-  Is there any benefit to killing a Rival other than getting them out of your way?

Rules wise : When you beat a rival you gain your Rival handicap value in Honor points
Story wise : defeating a Rival should give the character some piece of info regarding the identity and location of the main Enemy (maybe something about the obstacles too).
In the source material, even if fighting a rival was important, the main character wasn't that affected once he'd beaten him.
 
-  Is there any other ways to increase your Honor other than the GM using your Handicaps against you?  (If you can lose them from dishonorable choices, it should go the other way as well)

_By beating your rival
_Maybe 1 point for every combat where you fight againts at least 5 mooks.
_By commiting seppuku in the Last Stand (see below).

-  What happens if one Ronin avenges the Lord's death but the other Ronin don't have 20 Honor yet?  Are they still dishonored or are  they redeemed?  What if one of them truly has been dishonorable?

_those who don't have 20 Honor yet are dishonored. But commiting seppuku to help another ronin to win the fight (see first post) should give you 5 to 10 Honor points. This is in line with the source material where even a despicable man can be redeemed by one truly honorful act.

Is this simply the character's fate?  Or will it always also be the focus of gameplay?
Quote from: VoidDragon on August 04, 2007, 12:56:35 PM
I think that's a good idea.  It would allow for more choice in character concept, while still keeping things balanced (depending on how many more points Old gets).
Quote from: VoidDragon on August 04, 2007, 12:56:35 PM
My first thought is to increase maximums on both Honor and Death.  That way, you can spend more time on the 1st part, even giving single characters 2 or 3 scenarios each, to flesh out their characters' personalities. To keep Death likely, you could set a threshold, so that, in a fight, whenever the Ronin gets zero successes, and the opponent gets a lot of successes (maybe 4+), the Ronin will die instantly. 

The "die with one strike" rule is really good and completly in line with the source material, I like it, thanks !


Have you playtested the game using only 20 as a maximum?  I suppose the best way is to try it out.  Write down what makes the current system go well, and what makes it problematic, and decide from there.

Yes,, once again, playtest is the key here.

I like it!  I think it adds another interesting twist on the game.  It could be as simple as Janken: Paper, Rock, Scissors.  Aggressive beats Crazy, Crazy beats Tactical, Tactical beats Aggressive.  Or something like that.

I will try with something like that (maybe using Mahjong tiles). Thanks.

It doesn't have to be a point-distribution, unless the character has multiple covers.  I think a flat bonus based on the type of cover would be good enough.  Maybe only +1/-1.  A Noble or Merchant is often willing to see a megura just to get some back work done.  There are also stories about Bushi seeking room with peasants, and the peasants are more than willing to give them a place to stay.  I suppose this also depends upon time period.

That's a very good idea, I think the Ronin age might have some influence there too.

Something else I thought about : Ronins should be able to use their weakness to their advantage sometimes ("Help me I'm blind", "won't you save my little boy who's drowning in the river ? I'll keep an eye on your stuff, don't worry").

Obviously this should cost Honor points.

Concerning the Campaign I'd like to make something in the lines of Dogs in the Vineyard : a do-it-yourself village, city.
I want the setting to be somewhat generic and not attached to any particular time period in Japanese history (you could even set the action in Rokugan or Kara-Tur). Does it seems useful ?

My intention is to make this available as free PDF once it's done.
Logged
J. Scott Timmerman
Member

Posts: 164


« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2007, 03:59:07 AM »

Quote
Concerning the Campaign I'd like to make something in the lines of Dogs in the Vineyard : a do-it-yourself village, city.
I want the setting to be somewhat generic and not attached to any particular time period in Japanese history (you could even set the action in Rokugan or Kara-Tur). Does it seems useful ?

I haven't read much about DitV, but a town creation system would be cool.  Include a list of Japanese names (personal and place names) to pull from.  There are a few things a town must have, like a socioeconomic power structure and a plot twist.  The tables or whatever you use to create this plot twist should be rich enough to offer infinite possibilities, building upon a general problem with various possible complications.  For instance, if the problem is "The peasants want to hire you as an assassin to kill their abusive lord,"  then a complication could be "but the lord is a frail, old man who is really being controlled by his brother."  Or, if you choose not to accept the job as an assassin, there should be a complication to that as well.

-Jason T.
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Kobayashi
Member

Posts: 22


« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2007, 12:17:51 PM »


So, there are basically 3 Advantages, and 4 points to spend between them:

Blade: Rolled often (Combat), range 3-6
Cover: Rolled often (Social), range 3-6
Youth: Rolled rarely (Physical), range 3-5  (But the higher Youth is, the fewer Death Points and fewer Disadvantages at start)

You don't spend points on Youth, it's either 3 (old), 4 (adult) or 5 (young).

What limitations, for instance, do you have on the GM using Weakness against the character?  Is it a pool that the GM could pull from at any time? 

The Weakness pool can be added by the GM to an already existing pool if it is relevant to the situation : your character has the Weakness : blind, the GM tells you you must fight ninjas who are very silent and your hearing can't help you, he adds your weakness pool to the Ninjas pool. But if you beat the ninjas you gain Honor points equal to your weakness value. I think I'll allow the GM to use less dice than the Weakness value if he wishes so. (If you're Blind : 4, the GM may use 1 to 4 dice when he wants to use the weakness against you).

I haven't read much about DitV, but a town creation system would be cool.  Include a list of Japanese names (personal and place names) to pull from.  There are a few things a town must have, like a socioeconomic power structure and a plot twist.  The tables or whatever you use to create this plot twist should be rich enough to offer infinite possibilities, building upon a general problem with various possible complications.  For instance, if the problem is "The peasants want to hire you as an assassin to kill their abusive lord,"  then a complication could be "but the lord is a frail, old man who is really being controlled by his brother."  Or, if you choose not to accept the job as an assassin, there should be a complication to that as well.

Yes adding some basic plots/twist would ease the GM's work.

I think I have enough material to make a playtest now. Thanks for the feedback !
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