VTES 20230319

March 24, 2023


Every four months or so, play a game I’ve been playing since 1996.

Because my Aberrant game was not happening, I was free in the afternoon of a Sunday.  Because it was Sunday, I had no issues with driving up, stopping at donut place to get a salami sandwich, finding … wait, no, I had trouble finding parking.  Eventually, I found parking nearby.

Having consumed the non-donuty salami sandwich, I was not disposed towards consuming food at the cafe.  Arriving 30 minutes early, I sat down and goldfished some.

We played two games.

Game 1

Mark (Akunanse combat) -> Ian (Brujarch) -> Alex (Dom/Obt) -> Rick (Striga)

I had built two new decks.  Because I forgot that I could shoot hoops when other exercise plans didn’t materialize, I had plenty of time to clean up a lot of debris and detritus in the computer room so that I could get at cards and sit on the floor and could sleeve cards, too.  Things still look so much better in there.

I haven’t played with a lot of new stuff as, somehow, only playing twice in 1.5 years doesn’t inspire me to build new decks, especially as I find deckbuilding for VTES rather oppressive.

Matata came out and Mark and I fought a bunch.  I brought out Salvador, Marguerite ADV, Ariane, and Jenna.  I ended one combat between Salvador and Matata by pressing to end twice with Bollix and once with Resist Earth’s Grasp.  Mark did get a vamp Hexed once, but, otherwise, had no pressure.  I bled for 2-4 a bunch as my deck was toolboxy, playing a bunch of threeways.  I also had three copies of Propaganda of the Deed in my deck.  With a few votes.

Rick got low without much ability to not death spiral.  I didn’t care about getting bounced or sitting up not doing anything as the Akunanse fought better than I did.  Rick got ousted, and I had no problem with Mark getting ousted to deprive me of the table win.  In the endgame, rather than a race between my few remaining cards and Alex’s stealth bleed, he brought out Abyssal Hunter, which did him no favors as it locked down his only vampire with blood such that I built back up and ousted the guy with a Cardinal and Bishop and with my zero titled minions with Eat the Rich for 4 off of my three Propaganda of the Deed.

I got to do stuff.  Combat.  Bleed.  Block Mylan with anarch intercept.  Rush.  Vote kill.  That’s like why play CCGs.

Game 2

Mark (Malgorzata & Friends) -> Ian (Ani/Tha) -> Rick (Lasombra Royalty) -> Alex (Unnamed)

I got ousted first and left an hour earlier than our end time.  Brought out Mimir, who bled for 2 once, then got Banished.  Brought out Aksinya.  Didn’t bounce bleed of 6 that ousted me because I had only drawn 1 of 24 master cards in first hour or so of play, though it could have just been bounced back.

Nor did I contest Lord Tremere with my predator.  Having one enjoyable game was fine.  Got home at quite reasonable time to eat, chill, wait for next episode of Tournament of Champions.

While two hours of driving to play for three hours is not particularly efficient, it was just really pleasant – the whole experience.  The deckbuilding, putting some cards away, getting food from place I would rate the place that gave me the most value of all of the places in that hood when I worked right around the corner.  Playing.  Hanging out.  Finding parking.  Getting home when light.

VTD 14

March 19, 2023

14 was better than 13.  It was just generally pleasant.

Friday 8:12PM

Our first run with usual players.  Epic.  We got ripped up in early fights.  I was playing a theme monk build, where the theme meant having a really low HP total that I was hoping would get mitigated by high AC, but I just constantly got hit, which meant I got dead (as well as turned to stone).  I got better.  Three others or so who died in rm6 also got better.  We wasted a huge amount of time in rm7 puzzle room and didn’t even realize how many steps there were on the puzzle.

Number of combat rounds:  3, 4, 6, 6.

Saturday 11:48AM

Team run again minus three players, plus one person well known to others, plus one person pretty much just known to me.  Epic.  I played poly elf because it sounds like wizards are going to not be polying starting next year.  Problem here was that I didn’t quite metagame well enough as I needed just two more HP to be able to take three hits in rm6.  I was the only one to die.  Without a cleric, someone had to waste a potion to rez me.  We went through rm7 puzzle, helped a lot by one of the tiles being flipped with respect to the others.

Number of combat rounds:  3, 3, 4, 4.

Saturday 6:36PM

Theme run.  Cursed.  There are seven cursed tokens for each of the deadly sins.  We had to equip all of them.  So, we had to sing love songs to the monsters on rd1, sit in our comfy chairs on rd2, couldn’t do missile attacks, lost an eye slot, had to look at ourselves in mirrors with melee offhand slot, couldn’t get synergy benefits besides treasure (yeah!!), could only use a candlestick in melee mainhand, had to use two potions for effect of one.  I ran angry barbarian who still hit for 50+ with a candlestick.  Dave’s build was 100hp wizard without any synergy HP bonuses and that used second eye slot from Cranston’s to run Eyepatch of Wealsight to ignore petrification.

Too many people – was a full run.  Organizer got to sing his love songs, but I didn’t bother due to single audio channel.  It was good.  A bit too narrow in how to do builds, though, for my tastes.

Because of the number of people and dependencies on murdering monsters with candlesticks, I don’t really care about the damage output numbers from this run, though my first attack of the entire run was a crit for 106 damage.

Sunday 10:12AM

Anti-Cabal run, only Nightmare, I dwarfed.  We did double monster HP in rm6 as … … …

I took zero damage on this run.  I almost got hit once, but I Shadowskinned that only successful attack against my AC of 48 away.  We wrecked the early combats and knew all of the puzzle solutions.  The irony of my metagaming was that I simultaneously metagamed to take no damage with immunity to Retribution damage, improved evasion, immunity to petrification, and AC48 while at the same time ran Butterfly Cloak to hope to get killed in rm6 and pop back into rm7 without caring that I’d only have 10hp.

I still have never triggered Butterfly Cloak.  When I should have run it was on second run.  That would have been perfect – let the flying alligators kill me as I get mazed into pocket dimension and wave my air elemental fists in the air like I just don’t care.

But, no.  I failed to take the risk of being immune to petrification on blind first run, which would have gotten me more dungeon cred than any dungeon ganglife could possibly bestow upon someone.  I ran Butterfly when it was basically impossible to kill me rather than when I knew I was expected to die.

This was the only run where the DM made us change weapons when our weapons got stoned.  While I was pro petrification for players as there are easy ways to ignore that, messing with weapons is really annoying.  I did get amusement, though, from switching between four legendary weapons in this combat without bothering to change any of my stats (first three had same average damage and fourth round was when we killed monster without deducting 2 damage for my inferior damage wheel using such a loser weapon as Thor’s +5 Returning Hammer of Smiting.

Number of combat rounds:  4, 4, 4, 8 (doubled monster HP for the challenge).


Rm7 puzzle didn’t bother me.  Way better than VTD12 rm7 puzzle as it had multiple steps.  Though, I wonder what would have happened if people had just flipped a tile on first run and realized that they could ignore the runes and just spell words with the letters.  We never did that.

Combats felt kind of stale even though flying alligators was hilarious and I was hoping for some petrification to be immune to.  First monster just made no sense to me, feeling like a monster made for particular mechanics rather than having a coherent identity.

I never did anything in first puzzle room.  I solved second on our blind run, but it didn’t feel like that room was much about the puzzle.  It was really more about NPC interaction.  Something I don’t actually like anywhere near as much as a lot of other people do.

I actually had to look at my notes to remember much of VTD12 – clear sign it was not good.  VTD13 had the 50% miss chance cluster that made playing annoying until you realized what was going on and did your due diligence to ignore incorporeal penalty.

I was way less stressed, as well, as I didn’t have to nag people about buying tickets for VTD15 the day VTD13 started or worry about what was going on with treasure enhancers.

I didn’t much like 2022 VTD, though the B runs were generally better to me as I could focus on what was new and metagaming and ignore how inferior 2022 was to 2021.  2023 is not great, but 14 is a step up from 12 and 13.

I kind of wanted to do a solo run so that I could get killed in rm6 and Butterfly myself to ultimate victory.  But, that:  A) wasn’t possible; B) would have cost more money.  I’m trying to be disciplined about not just doing runs to do runs when they aren’t remotely as good as VTD2, VTD3, and VTD5 (and maybe VTD6A where had two real distinct paths to choose from).  The lack of being able to choose rooms (or like VTD5, paths) just makes it a much less interesting experience.

Still, I will end up with more treasure than from 12/13 due to doing the Cursed run.  Would just be nice to be able to do more theme runs, like one of our two team runs as theme run like we’ve done before.

Some damage data from the three runs where I cared about damage output (reminder that I was doing monk on first run, elf on second run, dwarf on last run to explain the low damage output on first two runs for my classes):

Raw damage dealt, ignoring Double Strike, Reavers, and offscreen spell stuff (like AoE in rm6):
Barb 1460, avg 81
Bard 656, avg 39
Cleric 357, avg 26
Druid 642, avg 54
Dwarf 736, avg 49
Monk 733(!), avg 41
Ranger 507, avg 34
Rogue 657, avg 60

Not sure why my ranger builds were missing so often. Of course, Retribution caused some people to use ranged attacks.

Barb 1514, avg 108
Bard 504, avg 39
Druid 716, avg 51
Dwarf 829, avg 59
Elf 452, avg 38
Monk 1334, avg 95
Ranger 845, avg 60

Gap between monk and ranger should not be that high, even if I’m making multiple builds. I missed a lot on this run, still would have only gone up to around druid level.

Barb 1108, avg 55
Dwarf 1050, avg 53
Fighter 809, avg 40
Monk 1568, avg 78
Rogue 713, avg 36

Of course, rogues lose damage output when start to Flank. Barb lost a bunch of damage in rm4 on this run. Can see the collection difference between dwarf and fighter on this run. Monk is pretty low damage monk, only does like 80/rd, but critted a number of times.

Fairly Unjust

March 15, 2023

So, I generally like to read theangrygm.com, which may not be shocking given my style of writing.  That it has a bias around D&D style play means that sometimes it isn’t as relevant, and, yet, the internet is rife with GMs and players complaining about the same things I find in my play.

Recent article was on dice.  Not having seen card based systems (along the lines of choosing cards not just flipping cards) in campaign play, not sure what it would be like, but I can imagine enjoying campaign play without dice.  What I do agree on is that narrative dice are crap.  There’s no reason that a game needs to have “yes, but”, “no, but”, opportunity or whatever.  Here’s a secret about RPG play, at least tabletop RPG play – it’s all made up.  The GM is free to add complications or not, adjust success levels or not.

But, that wasn’t the topic I wanted to get to.  That’s just a pet peeve of mine as “100% storytellers” don’t need to be forced by dice to tell a story.  What I did want to get to is something he says about dice being fair but unjust.

So, I ruminated about that for a bit.  Then, days past, and my thoughts are likely less focused.  But, anyway, the idea is that dice aren’t biased – if you have a 31% chance of success and play some horrible percentile system, then you have a 31% chance of success.  However, a “just” result is something that fits our ideas of a coherent narrative.

For instance, I Honor Rolled something in HoR3 with a 97% chance of success.  It annoyed me to fail.  First of all, I shouldn’t have failed the roll in the first place, so the real probability of the combination of failures was less than 1%.  Then, this was something I obviously cared about succeeding at or I wouldn’t have gotten annoyed and just found it amusing to fail at something like a Lore: Heraldry roll or other meaningless filler roll.  That failing an Honor Roll meant losing a rank of Honor, which matters for most characters because of things like, oh, Honor Rolls meant losing a resource that mattered.

Anyway, I was trying to think about how I felt about fairness and justice in RPG play.

As I like fitting stories and not just random results that reinforce that we are deciding what happens randomly and not fittingly, I would seem inclined to be a champion of justice.  I certainly prefer systems with rerolls or after roll modifiers or (less so) preroll modifiers like Void Points because small sample size means remembering those times when probability was un- … unfortunate.  I suppose I could post on his site what he thinks about systems that mitigate the fairness of dice, but I don’t really care what other people think.  Relying entirely on randomness to determine results on very specific rolls that I care a lot about, like winning shogi tournaments with my 4k2 dicepool (where I don’t think I rerolled in that tournament) just sucks out the fun, maybe not always after time passes but also often after time passes.

Again, I think there’s an illusion of challenge in RPG play.  The more rely on dice, the less illusion.  Some players definitely want to wargame their RPG experiences and enjoy things like rolling up new toons, but that just makes me stop caring about my characters and view the game as a boardgame.

Now, I do have more appreciation for failure than I used to.  I also tend to like botches … for things like social rolls.  In combat, fumbles need to get decapitated, immolated, and banished to the realm of unrealminess.  Now, it depends upon the GM (about botches).  But, then, can say that about failure in general.

What does it mean to fail a roll?  The challenge is increased?  One would think so, but I’m a relativist when it comes to challenge.  That you fail your immediate goals?  I suppose that works in my case, where my goals are often to make the world better and/or make my characters more popular/respected in their worlds.

That you get less treasure/power-ups?  Sure, this works.  I guess.  For some players, it’s a big deal.  (For some, too big of a deal and get mad when failure happens.)  I think this works for me as I don’t feel strongly about these things.  I do care about missing out on cool stuff, like having a ship named after your PC.  But, I both feel the loss of not maxing out in power while not feeling that strongly about it, so it makes for decent stories – “I could have become a god, but, instead, I just became destined to be an eternal flunky to the gods after I bit it.”

Regardless as to how gamist, simulationist, or storytellerist one might be, I think the best RPG play is when there’s an emergent story.  Just how you get there is different.  Dice results (or any probability results) create that unscripted result.  On the other hand, player decisions/actions also create that unscripted result.  The reason why I’m not just looking to play a character sheet is that my decisions and my actions are not going to be the same as anyone else’s.

I don’t think I care much about fairness in RPG play.  At least not in this context – I’m rather negative towards griefy play where fairness means something different.

And, yet, I want that illusion.  Pulling back the curtain and realizing that failure isn’t really an option makes success just hollow.

I guess that’s it.  Something in here got me to thinking about a different topic – dice use besides determining success/failure.

TD Class Rankings March 23

March 6, 2023

This should be utterly fascinating to all.

While shooting hoops Sunday morning, I spent a significant amount of time ranking True Dungeon classes.  For me.  For funhood.

I decided I had to exclude subclass impact entirely as it really messes with averages.


Sure, this class is saddled with healing spells so have to healbot sometimes, but it has saves, has big blast spells, can Neutralize Poison [no, seriously, this is a plus], and polymorphs.  Buildwise, I like chucking a Hammer and more typical for most folks poly.  Melee has never interested me.  I made a not-quite-max saves build that I’ve never played that doesn’t actually look useless, though it makes no sense on Epic.

While don’t need Iktomi’s to poly into elementals, polying into elementals is enjoy-able.  Dungeons are all about which elemental to poly into in each room so that get at least every elemental type in on every run.  Iktomi’s enables not wasting potions for doing Fruit Ninja Runs.  Poly into chocolate fruitcake is what TD is all about, eh?

Sometimes, having heal spells is okay, too.  It’s all about choices and variety.  Druid is simply the best, better than all the rest.


May seem like I’m attracted to nigh infinite power as druid is also power class.  But, where monk wins for me isn’t in the averaging over 100 damage a round or having a slew of abilities that allows ignoring (normal) poison and normal missiles.  Monk is all about taking most powerful class in game and crossbowing … or staffing … or shurikening.

Get to the reverse later, but this is my taking L5R 3r Mirumoto Bushi and having only two ranks in Kenjutsu at IR-2.

Sure, I do Death Star monk quite often on our themeless Epic runs to bolster survivoring.  It’s okay.  Below can see a very different case of how powergaming turns out.


Not afflicted with the insipid Alertness spell.  All about the burn- … -ing desire to be Angry!  Where once I wizzed all over the place to not have to slide and to pick planes of existence off a board, now the pinnacle of joy is smashing face with Drake’s.  Keep that class card clean by never casting.

But, Wizard offers more.  There’s poly in the most inefficient way possible, chucking a Hammer, and even *gasp* Fire Dart/Frost Dart.  Can go massive hit points and *not* ever use MEC effect (maybe not cast a spell at all).  Sometimes even enjoyable to AoE monsters.


Yes.  I.  Hater of demihumans and nonhumans in D&D and all of the D&D ripoffs and to some degree in Tolkien have been converted into the funlihood of playing a goblin archer.  Uh, I mean, dwarfing.

How did this mountain mining event occur?  Oh, how?!?  Playing the Anti-Cabal Run gave me only two options – worse-than-barbarian and taunting-worse-than-barbarian.  Because of the 3x crit on nat20 and how that works with missile attacks, I find dwarf archer pleasing.  Only got better when dungeons started polying me more than once into goblin.

Taunt isn’t actually all bad.  Sometimes, it gives RPing opportunity, well, no, not really, sometimes, it gives joke opportunity.  When get to Fighter will speak to the main benefit of this loser class.


Paladin was actually the class I had the hardest time ranking.  I had it much lower while I was mooting on the topic.  But, I couldn’t escape that I choose to play Paladin a lot, far more than other classes I could choose with my team or when on PUG runs.

It has a bit of a healbot sensibility that sucks, but defense in and of itself isn’t uninteresting.  Guard is boring.  But, I like Sacrifice.  One of two classes that can play Figurine of Power Phoenix, which is my sort of effect.  I can go all out aggression with Averon’s +5 Deathcleaver, do the natural archer build, chuck a Hammer.  Maybe even attack with Ava’s in the Evil Outsider room of the dungeon.

Another thing I’ve come to embrace (no doubt because it gets so much hate from the community) is high AC.  While I can make any class AC40+ due to spending way too much money on this game, I can get into the 46+ range with the heavy armor classes without straining credulity.

What sucks about fighters, uh, I mean heavy armor classes is lack of damage output.  I don’t hate dealing damage.  That’s how you win, so I can’t avoid it, though dungeons should work on combat victory conditions besides monstermurder.  It does make me sad just how anemic this class is both in isolation and as part of team monstermurderers.


I almost had this higher.  Why is the most irrelevant class in the game so appealing?

Uh, duh, who is writing this post?  I’m a powerlessgamer, a buttki- … … powerlessgamer.  Same reason I play Miya Herald or played a ton of !Salubri or Human Military.  Take something that sucks and try to make it suck less.  This is the reverse of the take something broken and make it funny, I mean, fair.

The whole idea with components in games that suck is that it doesn’t really matter what you do when you have no good options.  So, sure, Averon’s, Io’s, chuck a Hammer, Goblin Maul, shuriken, who cares?!?

Then, some runs require sucking.  I view Nightmare as the difficulty to try to solo.  To fit in on low difficulty runs, just armor up and do pathetic 25-30 damage a round (less on Hardcore).

Elf Wizard

Afflicted with inhumanity.  Afflicted with Alertness.  Invisibility does nothing.  Does have poly ability.  Does have ability to Quicken/Conserve Bull’s Strength on self for Anger!

Except, that means losing HP when Wizard can just not cast any spells and be Angry!  Does chuck a Hammer slightly more accurately.

I pretty much always would rather wiz the other way, but this ranks this high because the classes after this just suck to play.


So many options.  Can play Coward Bard, made funny because you always fail to be sufficiently cowardly when DMs just ignore that you are wearing Cloak of Blending.  Can chuck a Hammer.  Can now run Berserker Boarding Axe!!  Something I didn’t realize got screwed up with 2023 tokens.

Bardsong, though, is just oppressive … except when it isn’t.  I can enjoy being on runs where the party is grossly overpowered and just tell DM I’m bardsonging while I wander around the room, sit, go into the kitchen to look for drink/snack, or whatever involves waiting for team monstermurderers to finish murdering.

I thought I would enjoy Blaster Bard, but it is so, so boring.  I’d rather Flute.  Doing Monster Lore isn’t terribly interesting even if I like getting more monster info.

I can find fun, but it’s effort.  Various Discordites like to complain about not having more individual awesomeness – others get their cool moments, bard just provides nigh-infinite power to the party.  (I rate monk strongest, like Might Guy, but bard shares its chakra.)


This class is just so boring.  I smash.  I smash some more.  This round, I smash.  Sure, you can Fury with Io’s, which might be entertaining, except I rarely do in person runs where this actually works as website app wouldn’t even allow running Bog’s without a 2h melee weapon.

Can’t really lean into Damage Reduction as there’s no barb support for it.  Can do AC build with 1h melee weapon and still be better than fighters, which is a bit entertaining.

Just not as interesting to play against type.  If I’m running barb, something I rarely do as all of my usual runs have a devoted barb, party likely needs smash smash.


I found my joy in Templar.  Regular Healbot is mindnumbing.  I Bless.  I Prayer.  Do you need any healing?  Are you almost dead?  Good, good, much more efficient to let you die so that I can rez you for free.  More healing?  Let me take this round to heal.  Where bard can just fire and forget, Healbot has to pay attention to what’s going on to make sure the party can win rm7, then proceed to decline survivor pins.

DEX Healbot only works in some runs.  No, really only reason to run Healbot is to run Angry! Healbot off of Eldritch tokens couple times a year.


Tsuruchi Archer is the most boring school in L5R to me.  Ranger can double fist Hammers or chuck a Hammer or even use some sort of crossbow for entertainment.  Sure, 5th Ranger has a heal spell, so you can pretend to Healbot, which is the only fun way to Healbot.

Am I biased by lack of success on runs with ranger?  I don’t think so.  I think I finally realized that it’s just the most boring class in the game even if it has multiple real options.  Everything is just efficiency focused.  Even Warden sucks as you should never be missing when blowing ammo on attacks.

I make ranger builds all of the time to get that 99 points of damage a round in for Epic runs.  But, I try to pawn off these builds on others.


Rogue’s problem is party expectations.  “Rogue” can be entirely fun, though I rate this class as the worst mechanically in the game even if it can do massive damage as it’s the glassiest cannon of them all with the worst saves, awful HP, challenging time getting AC up.

I want to “rogue” in in person play just to promote my guild, The Right Honourable Guild of Chest Fearers.  Got to do one run of shurikening while fleeing from the inevitable Mimic in abject terror.  That was, to my knowledge, the only time someone confused me with a rogue.

Oh, the ironic ironihood of ironicness.  I’m sure I mentioned before what I’m alluding to.

Well, that’s all 12 classes as ranked by the being who understands fun on a level incomprehensible to mere monstermurderers.

Calk This Way

March 2, 2023

Working on a new game.  Not a CCG, yet there are plenty of similar issues to address.

After Traveller, have way more respect for simplicity as expandable game components make games plenty complicated without help.

So, we had to deal with timing.  Specifically, sequencing as opposed to response timing.

One of the things I like about Ultimate Combat! is that it has specific times for playing Advantage cards.  One of the problems with the rules is that timing is fluffy with Action cards.  There has to be response timing or Psychic Delay wouldn’t work, but is it a true LIFO?  We can project Magic timing on all sorts of games, I tend to do it with Shadowfist all of the time even though SF has a pretty good rulebook.  Well, doesn’t matter a lot with UC!.


You have two effects that happen during same phase/subphase.  How do you resolve order?  It’s pretty typical that active player has “priority” but does priority pass back to active player after any effect generated by an opponent or do you go around clockwise (or by some initiative system).

We are trying to avoid having initiative in the game as a mechanic, but this sort of how to resolve multiple players trying to do effects comes up.  There are also cases where multiple effects are “simultaneous” and how to resolve those.

For instance, two soldiers are resurrected by same effect.  They have come into play effects or trigger other components’ triggered effects.  How do you resolve?  Let’s say that they inflict 1 damage on every other soldier when they come into play.  Does one damage the other?  Do they not see each other?  Both see each other?

Could you interrupt the resolution of simultaneous effects?  What plays can interrupt?  Just triggered effects or player-generated effects?

Damage assignment, in particular, seems to create a lot of timing considerations.  After all, the sort of games I work on have responses, things like giving damage reduction to a game component in response rather than fire and forget damage reduction.  Damage redirection is a complicated aspect of Shadowfist.  I’m happy to not try to create rules akin to it or other older CCGs where people were much less sophisticated about timing and the implications of effects.

How to resolve multiple ongoing effects interacting with each other?  Is there even sequencing?  Like effects could add or subtract, but what about tangential relationships?  I have an ongoing gain 1 health effect while another component is in the hood.  Other component has a “other components in the hood have half health” [because we screwed up coming up with good mechanics].  Do you halve first then add or add first then halve?  Okay, maybe have mathematical operations rules.  Maybe have some horrible mechanics like “all components in the hood may make exactly two attacks instead of one” on one component and “all components in the hood may make up to three attacks instead of one” on another component.  Which gets priority?  Is there a sequencing question as to which effect was put into play first?

So, we got into sequencing and will need to develop fuller timing rules when get further along.  Doesn’t always feel like games pay attention to how meaningful these considerations are, so we are trying to do solid design and development.

I do wish I could remember better the numerous other topics that come up just trying to create one game component.  I don’t actually have a ton to impart today, but I think another “design and development vignette” could be on syncing up game component mechanics.  Not just keywording abilities and templating language but having costs and effects be consistent across components.  If interested in this sort of shorter form, give a Hell, Okay, Sure, Whatever.

VTD 13

February 27, 2023

VTD weekend was President’s Weekend.  What took me so long to post about it?

Not having President’s Day off for the first time ever had something to do with it.

Various True Dungeon activity also distracted.

Right now, Safehold program is being finalized for March 1st kickoff.  2024 token development is happening.

But, let’s go back to the long, long ago.  When monsters were incorporeal and Io’s were equipped.

Friday 736PM

We have six.  We do Epic, as usual.  DM warns us that people are getting a lot of 1’s on rolls and something may be wrong with one of the programs.

We struggle getting lots of 1’s.  This DM, not being sure if something was broken or not, let us reroll at times when it got absurd how many 1’s were appearing.  We got all of the puzzles, though we didn’t know why the answer to rm1 was what it was.  We died in rm7, not surprisingly.

But, struggling with six on Epic with an unfamiliar dungeon is fine.  If we can just stroll into Epic and just win without struggling, then it’s just too easy.  Well, maybe not.  I suggested a higher difficulty level, and there is one on the horizon related in some way to the Safehold program.

Saturday 1212PM

We have eight.  Epic again.  Where the first run was okay, this was awful.  We were constantly getting 1’s still and didn’t know why.  After this run, I found out what was going on – two rooms had incorporeal monsters and last room had displaced monster.  Except, this just made it worse.  On both of our first two runs, one of my builds had Lenses of the Fae equipped, while other builds had things like Figurine of Power Moon Dog.  One of the programs for playing VTD required that you activate a buff to ignore incorporeal even when the token was always on.  The programmer changed that later.  But, neither DM made it clear at all what was going on.

I have grown to hate token development.  But, I realized a year or two ago that tokens aren’t really what affects my enjoyment of playing.  What affects my enjoyment of playing is the dice roller, is Eldritch damage, is not knowing what’s going on in rooms even after played through them.  I don’t need to know puzzle solutions after a first run.  In fact, it was interesting for me to know the right answer on this run and have a justification for it that made sense to me but have my justification have nothing to do with how to solve the puzzle.  But, I do multiple runs of the same dungeon to metagame against them after the first run.  What I want is to know everything mechanically about the combat rooms after first run so that I can make informed decisions on builds.

Instead, we had no idea why we were getting wrecked in these combats.  That the DM on first run didn’t seem to realize we had Prayer up in rm3 meant I didn’t think to cast it on second run to stop from being “horrified” as I just figured it was BS like Eldritch Fear that ignored anything to do with defending against fear.

Rm5 being really hard wasn’t the problem.  Rm5 being really hard to do things and having effects that took you out of combat and did a bunch of damage and gave push damage is not how I would challenge people at our level.  I don’t have to win every room, don’t have to beat every dungeon.  But, the variance in difficulty is way too high with rooms like this.  This would be fine if Epic was more generally difficult so that people would be prepared, but this is much like 9B from last year where being able to beat the final room meant other rooms were way too easy.

Saturday 612PM

I found out what was going on with the various rooms by the time this run happened.  I poltergeisted this run.  I played, someone else owned the ticket.

As this was with a regular group of Hardcore players, I just tried to fit in with a 16 token paladin build.  16?  Well, was supposed to be 15, but I used Figurine of Power Phoenix to keep someone who was at 2hp from dying.  The party won after some dabbling in Nightmare combats during the run.

Someone got a survivor pin.

Sunday 1012AM

Anti-Cabal run.  We decided on Nightmare as we knew this was still going to be rough.  Until rm5, it was a cakewalk.  We knew the puzzles, we knew how to manage the combats.  I took like 42 damage in rm5 as I forgot that shock mitigation would matter and how long this combat was likely to go with our damage output.

Speaking of damage output, 60% of our party used Io’s +4 Ultra Keen Slayer Bow.  Just your typical barbarian missile build along with the two fighters.

I died three times in rm7.  No one else died.  Everyone else could have gotten survivor pins, but a lot of declining occurred.

Overall, my first run was okay, though the volunteers should have known what was going on as it just required talking to the app builder for the website app.  Second sucked.  Third was pleasant.  Fourth was solid.  Because of recency bias, made me feel better about the dungeon.

However, on Discord, the complaining never ended, and I kept getting wound up about not being informed as to what’s going on and wondering why DMs didn’t have more information on why things worked the way they did.

Because I’m irritated about other TD things at the moment, it’s easy for me to be negative.  However, I understand trying to make dungeons more difficult as they are too easy for people like us who have > than Epic builds.  Epic Double Down or solo Nightmare is what I consider the right challenge level.  But, it should be incremental and not feel like a gotcha as people don’t know what difficulty to choose when dungeons vary too much in difficulty.  Also, displaced monster in rm7 is BS.  There is only one token in the game that counters displacement, and it was only printed 12 years ago.  I’m all for that token being useful, but, then, either reprint it or give people alternatives.

I could rant about token development or the Safehold program or whatever, but I did some self-examination.  I don’t own these games.  I can choose not to play them or not put money into them or whatever much like I can choose to not watch a movie.  My attempts to help are tinged with my cynicism and how negative I can easily be, so they probably don’t help as much as I thought.  I want to talk about games I play.  I want to do analysis.  But, I don’t have to.

I’m not a believer in “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything” – I’m very much the opposite in belief as the point of analysts and analysis is to point out what is wrong with things.  However, there’s a line where criticism just isn’t helpful and is just self-serving.  I have a blog to gripe about things.  If people want to read it, great.  But, I find lots of posts about games I play to be worthless, and I’m trying to be more cognizant of when I’m just whining.

Fisticuffs 20230203

February 9, 2023

Sign of the times.  I played Shadowfist last Friday and didn’t post immediately here about it.  Instead, I posted these comments to the Discord server:

We had four games.  I went first in four player with Merlin to left, Daniel opposite, Paul to right.  I was playing Abominations.  Merlin Good Ol’ Boys.  Daniel Dragon Guns with Gunslinger for Bite.  Paul Unstoppable Four Mountains Fist.  Daniel burned for victory a bunch of times, then got locked out (unless he could Bite a second time) with zero power and four in his BfV due to Potlatch.  I could have delayed this game a bit longer, but a Good Ol’ Boys got through after hours on my never used Valley of Ashes even with ITAYG and Golden Comeback played while it was in play (both played to stop bids for victory).

I played threesie with Paul to left, Drew to right.  I had resource issues, but managed to play a third Great Wall and an Urban Monk on same turn to look threatening.  Paul had Architects/Hand for some obvious reason.  Drew won off of Underworld Gateway in a game that didn’t last forever.  I played a total of two Railroad Workers (both of which got Toasted after being in smoked pile), Urban Monk, and Red Ally.

I finished my patty melt while Daniel won off of the broken power of CAT Tactics in a fourway.  Paul to his left, Drew across, Merlin right.  Merlin did vampire stuff.  Paul Dragon/Purists.  Drew Syndicate.

We did five player where only three players play on any given turn.  On a player’s turn, only two opposite players exist.  Daniel first with Petal stuff.  I skipped a turn, eventually played some Ascended stuff that didn’t rein in Merlin at all.  Paul to my left was Dragon.  Drew was Hand Faceoff.  Merlin Fiery with some Ice sleaze.  Put out bunch of pingy foundations, then three Flambards, and a Fire Serpent.  With Paul’s site hit for 5 from Daniel, it was 3 Body with a horde coming in from Merlin.  Paul’s game was rough as Merlin and Daniel were the only two actually making any progress.  Drew kept giving me power through Chinese Connection, but I had no defensive tricks and could never generate enough attack to actually do anything to Merlin.

In three games, I never once made a bid for victory.  Occurred to me that the last deck I played probably should only be played in foursies.  I’ll try to build decks that actually do something even if that’s against my oeuvre as it makes for better games when actually have things like Killdeer in Ascended deck or whatever.

Takeaways?  I continue to not get around to lots of deck ideas.  I continue to not be able to threaten to win in games, part of which is being able to stop others from winning or achieving dominant positions.  I have an idea for building decks differently than I usually do.  I mostly get attracted to designators.  I should build around edges and other engine cards that generate power or fighting without having to spend power I don’t have (either because I can’t take sites or because I’m tired of burning for power).

We played at St. John’s.  I used to go there for cheap non-fast food burgers as they used to do half price burgers Wednesdays and Saturdays.  Then, went to 1/3 off.  Now, I don’t know if they have any promotional pricing.  It was much quieter, especially for a Friday, for probably the obvious reasons.  I got a patty melt, which I had never gotten there before.  Comparing to my own.  I like my own better.  I want my bread crunchy (but not dry).  This was too soft.  I’ve always found their burgers too meaty, which is why I used to typically get chili burger.  I don’t think Daniel and Merlin understood what I meant by that.  I don’t mean too thick.  I mean the patty is underseasoned and tastes too much like cooked ground beef rather than actually being a good burger taste.  I dipped the patty melt in various condiments as it was neither greasy enough nor onions carried enough flavor juxtaposition.  I noted that my preference in the area (by area I mean a huge area as not close to my house) is Texas Roadhouse for burger.  Their bacon cheeseburger is just right, except I prefer good bread over hamburger bun style bread, and it can fall apart a bit.

Posting this deck because it should be reworked and because of its own name.  Cheng Hu Bai makes little sense unless you realize this is a “Red” theme deck.  The healing is probably over done.  It’s fine to not run 5x Dockyard when expecting to never make a bid for victory, but this doesn’t reliably do anything.  Red Ally really needs some combo so that it can survive giving Superleap.  I find that folks murder my Blood Eagles if they have enough time to do so.  Maybe more Festival of Giants and less other things.  Can easily take out the Rice Paddies, which I have never gotten to generate power.  Maybe they could if running better characters.

Red Deck Loses
Guiding Hand (60)

Hand Cards (49)
Characters (21)
1x Cheng Hu Bai
2x Master Yuen
4x Railroad Workers
3x Red Ally
3x Red Master
5x Shaolin Student
3x Urban Monk

Edges (3)
1x Fire in the Lake
1x Superior Mastery
1x Undisturbed Meditation

Events (11)
1x Blessings of the Fall
1x Confucian Stability
1x Corners of the Mouth
1x Festival of Giants
1x Into the Light
1x Iron and Silk
1x Journey’s Reward
1x Rigorous Discipline
1x Secrets of Shaolin
2x The Willow Bends

Sites (7)
-Feng Shui Sites (1)
1x Temple of Boundless Meditation
-Non-Feng Shui Sites (6)
1x Red Senshi Chamber
5x Rice Paddies

States (7)
1x Crane Stance
2x Essence-Absorbing Stance
2x Mastery of the Red Principle
1x Simple Paper Fan
1x Yanyuedao Blade

Factionless (11)
Feng Shui Sites (11)
1x Sacred Heart Hospital
10x The Great Wall


February 7, 2023

Two weeks in a row, no supers game.  No Iron Empire recently as player’s wife just had child.

And, yet, I’ve been talking to folks about RPG play.  In particular, I’ve been talking to someone about a game I’m not involved in.

It gives me an opportunity to do something I don’t do while playing or running a game.  Well, more than usual.  Many times, I might comment about a direction a game can go in to advance a plot or involve a character or whatever.  In this case, it’s far more extensive for such things.

As a GM, I don’t think like a player.  This is suboptimal.  But [insert same comment again].  As a consultant, I can point out how players would react to something.

Players will try to follow up on something in front of them.

Trying to delay payoff on some plot/subplot/mystery/surprise runs into this problem.  If you give something the players can investigate, they will investigate right now.  Unless there’s something so much more important that they are forced to deal with it later.  Or … they will ignore it completely forever.  Players are fickle.

So, how do you put off something?  Seems like best way is don’t make it clear that something can be investigated but have it matter at some later session.  For instance, players loot the treasure room and snag the high value jewelry.  In and of itself, the jewelry is just worth beaucoup florins.  But, when the party goes to sell it, someone reacts.  Could be a screwjob on the party or could be a good thing that they recovered it or whatever.  Symbolic value.

Now, there are other possibilities.  Players want to investigate something, but they get attacked or their allies get attacked.  They have a time sensitive issue and the deadline is approaching.  Maybe their ally is on trial and will be executed and this interesting thing isn’t related to the trial.

One thing GMs need to remember is that they may think they provide something interesting, but, if it’s not actionable, then the players aren’t likely to think it’s all that cool.  Players want their PCs doing things (I hope, I guess a lot of players want their PCs to get more powerful without caring if they do anything, but whatever).  Always have to think about what is actionable about what is being conveyed or it’s likely to get ignored.

Players hate enemies surviving.

Individuals may find recurring villains interesting.  Groups want to murder everything.  While everyone should know this, the implications of that for setting up situations are important.  Have to be prepared for a villain to get murdered in any encounter.  If the villain survives a murder attempt, is the method of survival going to feel like cheating the party of a win?  Is there some way to cause the villain to survive that won’t feel like cheating the party of a win?

Of course, players not thinking in terms of winning and losing through murder/survival but through impact upon the world helps.  But, have to just plan on murder.

So, I got into thinking about what value comes from villain murder.  If it’s not interesting, then it’s just like PC deaths that aren’t interesting – why bother?  So, if can’t save villain, have to figure out how to make the death interesting.  Release a greater threat.  Make players feel bad about murder.  Give players new info.  Give players new plot direction with like lead on loot.  Aftermath of villain death is interesting.  “Oh, you murdered Evilgod?  Well, then, you should marry my child and take control of my vast empire of breweries.”

There’s always “You can murder me or you can save your precious gin joint and its one-of-a-kind still.  Bwah-ha-ha-ha.”  This assumes parties care about anything more than murder.  “You can murder me or I can give you a deed to the adamantine mine, which I totally have to sign in front of a notary.”

Players don’t pay attention, don’t remember, and only care about a few things.

I read theangrygm.com.  You can get professional GM advice there.  You can read about how need to constantly repeat things there.

I take notes in most of my play.  When I play a game and not take notes, there’s something seriously wrong with the game or it has some really unusual structure to it.  Even so, I don’t record everything.  I often don’t record things my character wasn’t present for, though it depends upon the game being played.  I certainly care about some things and not others.  I care about spelling NPC names correctly.  I care about place names.  I don’t usually care how many rounds it takes to murder enemies.  I may record my combat actions in my notes and record my outlier rolls, but I don’t usually ever go back and look except in immediate aftermath of a session.  Meanwhile, I will go back and look up who someone is and where we left them.

Still, I don’t get quotes of characters perfectly right, usually don’t take down quotes at all unless I find them amusing.

For this particular campaign, an issue is changing the focus on who the greatest villain is.  There’s no particular reason the party would work with the lesser evil at this time because they have no reason to think that enemy is the lesser evil.  One of the things for the GM to introduce is a reason for the party to reassess who needs murdering the most.

To try to get players to remember things, create a personality document.  Can include the PCs in the document.  I was reading the workbook from The Princess Police and kind of forgot that we had a party creation sheet.  In that sheet, players put some of their own comments about their characters.  Players often don’t know important information about other PCs.  Maybe the group wants things that way, but I’m a storyteller, so metagaming to produce a more engaging story is better to me.  Any character feature that doesn’t matter doesn’t matter.

And, that can apply to NPCs.  I’m really bad about developing NPCs to a high degree, but the players never learning things about them that I found interesting.

There are other campaign documents that should exist.  Yes, a mission statement about the campaign.  But, how about players’ top 5 favorite sessions, bottom 5 sessions, top 5 favorite NPCs/Villains/both, bottom 5?  Things the players want to do written down?

One of my GMs sent out questionnaires about what our PCs were up to or thought about things to help him set up future events.  I think that makes sense for other groups.  Now, sure, lots of players eschew providing constructive feedback/input.  But, can ask them more limited questions.

Can even *gasp* ask the players about mechanical goals or what mechanics aren’t to their liking.  Some players care more about their characters doing particular mechanical things and get frustrated when those don’t happen.  Even though I’m not a powergamer or buttkicker, I like having character sheet features that are different from other PCs’ character sheets and having those matter.  One of the reasons to play a supers game is to lean in to power sets, and a lot of my powers/abilities don’t really matter, which indeed frustrates me.

Players waste real world time.

Actually, didn’t consult on this.  Guess save this for another time.

GM Analysis – Type

January 28, 2023


This is my source for some navel-gazing.

No quiz I can take that I’m aware of.  Of course, one reason to not have a quiz is in next paragraph.

So, I’m obviously a Creator.  Now, the article does go into how GMs are different types for different play, something some people keep ignoring.  Even so, I’m pretty much a Creator for anything that isn’t like running modules in living campaigns, where I don’t really care what type someone is for such things in that pretty much anyone is a Director/Manager when in that role.

For L5R, I’m a Fanatic.  Same with LBS.  Same with Elric/Stormbringer I imagine if I ever run those.  Same with a bunch of things if I ever ran them.  But, generic fantasy?  Even Solomon Kane or Conan (which I’ve run a bit) or even Feng Shui?  Not so much.

While I clearly fit Player in the concept, neither the pros nor cons fit me at all.  I don’t think like a player when GMing, which I’ve mentioned before and which constantly bemuses me.  I think the one to many relationship of GM to players makes the experiences vary for me.  As a GM, I’m busy trying to deal with a bunch of things.  As a player, I can tune out for a while, focus entirely on GM for a while, have a side conversation for a while, look up rules while other stuff is going on, look up setting info while other stuff is going on, eat.  While I may have NPCs that I care about (and the players don’t), I can’t think of any time where my NPCs led parties or interfered with party decisions.  My NPCs squarely fit under Creator for having their own backstories, secrets, special abilities, special weaknesses, or whatever … that the players often never find out about because they don’t care.

The reality is that I’m not terribly interested in running games.  I’m interested in creating settings, creating mechanics, and helping players with understanding systems better.  Probably a great role for me is GM’s creative/rules assistant.

It might be interesting if someone thought I was a Director, but I don’t see it.  I’m actually not that interested in the PCs and may want to keep things moving but allow players to waste massive amounts of time on stuff I don’t care about.  I may write up plots, more than the players may think.  Maybe they are “tighter” than I think, and I don’t give as much freedom as I think.  I’m very much a believer in sessions having a plot or some sort of defined activity, at least until I see a good sandbox game, so I don’t see going too far afield on what’s going on.  But, that’s the same as when I play.  I want there to be a clear objective in every session from the get go.  It can change, but the player agency is in how you deal with something not in ignoring it.

I can’t recall any Romantic GM I’ve had … with one exception.  Witch Doctors GM definitely Romantic.  I probably had one or more in convention games, just don’t remember.

Opponent is something I have had.  And, I find it weird.  But, then, I’m a storyteller, not a tactician.  I may be interested in what good decisions are, but I routinely don’t care about making them and/or the PCs as a group suck at making good decisions, so it’s wasted effort to focus on challenging the party.

What sort of GM do I prefer?

Creator/Director/Fanatic/Manager.  If going to cut one of those, cut Creator first.  Then, lose Fanatic.  “Here’s an adventure.  Here are the rules.  Let’s murderhobo, uh, I mean, let’s craft a tapestry of exquisite, heartrending drama.”  You know, maybe this explains why I prefer convention one-shots.  I care most about plot and resolution.  Can be running a module written by someone else.  Can largely ignore the PCs’ quirks and let the players bring up what makes their PCs special.  Certainly not hoping for a GM who would rather be playing (yet another reason my running things doesn’t seem optimal).

Now, I’m not sure this system is that great.  I have more affinity for player archetype/interests efforts.  I have such an easy time acknowledging that I’m the opposite of butt-kickers and powergamers, that I fit perfectly as storyteller including in such things as wanting the plot to keep moving forward and getting bored when bogged down in stuff that doesn’t progress the story.  This system seems too situation dependent and also seems like it misses somewhat on what GMs are actually like.  Where the casual gamer makes a lot of sense to me as a player archetype, I can see how I’m part casual gamer, very possibly a distant second archetype for me.  Player as a GM type just doesn’t seem to really mean anything.  Just because someone would rather be a player doesn’t mean the GM is going to behave like a player.  Where I like the archetype system better than other ways of tagging players, it could be that it’s better to use features of GMs over trying to allocate to a type.

More than arguing with someone as to whether I’m a Director, I’d be more interested in someone coming up with some adjectives to describe my GMing style.


January 22, 2023

Odd.  Would think I’d use exsanguinate more often in this blog.  Not a single vampire-related thing in this post, which suggests I’ve already thematically failed my blog post.  Bang bang.

Bonus material!!  [Um, what?  Doesn’t that come at the end?]

I was thinking about L5R 4e house rules again (briefly).  In case anyone asked me what the most important to implement, I started building a list which got me into things I’d try.

Obvious first house rule is that grapple rules are gone.

Can spend any number of VPs in a round.

Things like what Wound Penalties and Fear affect are both clarified and house ruled.

Glory and Status.  Yet another spin on having these do something mechanically:  After rolls are made, you may add 5x your Status or 5x(Status-1) or whatever to one roll per day where Status would matter.  Glory can be 1x for when Glory would matter.  Usually this will be a social roll, but abstracted things like research can be justified with “Due to your immense Status, you get more flunkies to help you find the info that you are boringly wasting game time trying to find.”

That may have been it that I came up with for new ideas when I might have been half asleep.

Why would I be thinking of house rules?

Still working backwards as the blog post title has to do with something I’ll get to later, in my PBPish game, we are likely changing characters.  50% of the players are definitely doing so, and I think I join the crowd by switching to something like a Lore:Nature focused, Lion Elite Spearman who kind of sucks at being a Lion.  Another character with a nagamaki who will never get one of the cool nagamakis from canon.

Why are we changing characters?

There may be some idea of story arc having been completed, but I mostly think it has to do with doing things that are different from what players want to be doing.  The early play was exploration and contending with things physically.  Recent play has been economic and social.

Speaking of characters going away, I will now, finally, get to the main topic.

My Bloodspeaker campaign ended.  It needed to.  The GM had gotten burnt out on the campaign.  Players like me were just waiting for it to end.

My first character died in combat against maho-tsukai.  Figuring that the campaign was moving towards a confrontation phase rather than screwing around not really changing things phase, I replaced my paper-selling Chuda with a Kenku trained ronin.  Rather than my usual “everyone should have 20+ skills in order to do interesting things” character plan, I went with a focused combat character that had some minimal outdoorsy skills.

First Kiyomeru session, he gets introduced fighting road bandits with one other PC, the courtier, where that character rolls well in combat, and, so, Kiyomeru thinks he’s a combat badass.  Ninth and tenth sessions of playing Kiyomeru, the last two sessions of the campaign with final confrontation with oni governor and whatnot, there is combat.  In the meantime, court stuff, gathering armies stuff, wedding, and whatever.

At no point was there a reason for me to play after my first character died as I did nothing that mattered.  As much as I put the finishing blow on the oni governor, Kiyomeru’s Driven was really around maho-tsukai, not just any minions of Jigoku.  There was no story arc.  There was:  1, join the party; 2, wait for sessions to end; 3, couple combats.

The two results-style problems should be obvious.  Players should not be playing characters that are bad fits for play.  GMs shouldn’t allow characters that are bad fits for play.  Of course, the source of these problems is some combination of poor communication, poor game management, mismatched expectations going in.

I’m surprised Kiyomeru survived.  Got to walk into the sunset hunting for more maho-tsukai to avenge his friend who got sacrificed by them (as back story).  Did he have any impact on any other PC?  Any NPC?  My Chuda at least had impact on a NPC even if the PCs couldn’t really remember anything about him.

In sports, “we play to win the game”.  In gaming, “we play to play the game”.  Well, that’s why I play.  It’s why I’m reluctant to commit to anything new.  There’s far too little actual playing when part of some campaign.

So, sure, I could have built a different character.  I hate playing nothing-but-combat characters as I don’t find combat that interesting much of the time, and I care far more about interacting with the world rather than murdertime.  This was an experiment.  It was not necessarily a failed experiment but rather highlighted underlying problems with play.

So, sure, I could have taken a more active role as player.  Ignore character sheet and talk to people and scheme and whatever.  In a different age, like before the Flood, maybe I play that way.  I’m too tired to fight for attention.  I’d rather just have play groups that recognize that it’s far more fun when everyone gets spotlight time and where GM and players are collaborators to form compelling drama.  Well, or have something like a dungeoncrawl experience where character in characters doesn’t really matter, and it’s all about how the dice fall as to what produces the emergent story.

Did I learn anything about playing Kenku Swordsman?  Sure, the SR-2 ability is really annoying, and I’d just say that you get +5 to damage or something if you can’t suck out a VP, as rerolling after you rolled damage sucks through online dicerollers.  In person, it’s probably fine.  I got to use the SR-4 ability to ignore WP, but I never had enough VPs to nuke something.  But, then again, I played all of two sessions as a SR-4 character.

For the PBP game, I’m inclined to a more focused character than my original one (who just got named Dragon Daimyo in the Colonies), not because I want to experiment more with one-note characters but because my original character was intentionally unfocused as I had no idea if advancement would occur or what sort of skills would matter in play.  In theory, we have more focus next time around on stuff more like what we did originally.  I can go lava build (Earth/Fire) for niche protection with other PC being a tears build (Water/Void).  We just don’t care if we suck at socializing.

In general, I need to get away from L5R to some degree for a while.  I still have Iron Empire campaign in addition to PBP, but I don’t have HoR or the Bloodspeaker campaign.  I need to remember why other game systems are so vastly inferior to R&K.  I need to get away from Swords & Social play.  Well, get away from lots of S&S play, as it’s kind of hard to avoid that while playing a courtier in Iron Empire.

I need to have other things to complain about.  Mechanics imbalances in other systems.  Grapple rules in other systems.  Genre failure in other systems.  Lack of storytelling in other games.  Poor party composition in other games.

In the meantime, because I’m still in two L5R games, I still keep thinking up L5R campaign ideas and rules modifications and Rokugani NPC ideas and …