While it may never come to pass that an all ancestor, all the time campaign is run, I might as well see what I think about the ancestors so that I can make decisions on any PCs/NPCs I create.
When I reviewed Great Clans, I did some ratings for those ancestors. But, for the first time, I will put it all together and spew ancestor thoughts for the ancestors in the three books where they are concentrated: core, GC, Secrets of the Empire.
Comments: I’m not going to bother with Spider or clearly NPC ancestors, like monks. My overall rating is kind of irrelevant, as it’s just an average (rounded down) of the other two, but it gives me something to think about. Desirability, of course, is all that really matters. You can come up with your own feelings on how much you like what an ancestor does. More comments after.
|Ancestor||Cost (Pts.)||Effective (Pts.)|
|Osusuki & Akomachi||5||6|
First up, what the ancestors cost versus my rough attempt to calculate more accurate point valuations. Note that just because something might be worth more or less points doesn’t mean I equate that to a quality rating, though there should be high correlation.
The assumption is that campaigns make use of PC abilities. If playing HoR or the like, where spirits and spirit realms may never appear [ha, ha ha], then sucks to be Miss Kitsu.
|Agasha Kitsuki||Very Low|
|Togashi Yamatsu||Very Low|
|Osusuki & Akomachi||Very Low|
|Soshi Saibankan||Very High|
|Ichiro Fureheshu||Very Low|
|Komori Iongi||Very High|
|Hida Heichi||Very Low|
|Usagi Reichin||Very Low|
|Sun Tao||Very Low|
The whole concept of demands is fitting, but the whole concept of demands resulting in losing an ancestor is dumb. The demands aren’t remotely nuanced enough and some are just crazy to deal with where others are trivial.
|Osusuki & Akomachi||*****||*****||*****|
Note the reason for the multiple tables is because I’m too lazy to format things better and haven’t bothered to download a plug-in, which might still require me to spend time formatting data, something I find routinely tedious if it involves more than a few clicks. I know this makes it much harder to compare my point valuations against my quality stars, but I seem to struggle with the idea of making this blog easy to read.
Anyway, here we get to the entree portion of our meal. Two stars is average.
Let’s get Gusai and Asako out of the way. Neither does anything. I’m thinking whoever wrote 4e thought that Allies are supposed to do something, but I have yet to see it be the case. Why you would need to roll against an ally is even more bewildering. Gusai is just dumb and is totally a NPC thing that would apply to like one NPC in the entire history of Rokugan.
Of the ancestors I chose to include … there are a lot for such a low yield mechanic, almost like the intent and the play of the game are at odds … Core average is 2.5 stars, GC average is 3.1 stars, and Secrets average is 2.8 stars. Continues the trend that core book mechanics tend to be weaker than supplement mechanics, at least with the more esoteric stuff, like kata. Of course, Core mechanics’ averages often get pulled down by nonsense mechanics that clearly weren’t created with actual use in mind.
Toku. If Luck is worth about 7 points, why does he get 5? Diminishing returns. Since you never take Toku unless you already have three ranks of Luck, you just aren’t getting the Luck sleaze you would get otherwise. Though, I suppose, there might be some campaign that required ancestors where you may not max out Luck …
Chiroru is, in theory, an easy calculation. You get the benefit of 3-4 points of Kharmic Tie with previous edition danger sense power. Maybe danger sense is worth more than 1.5 points.
By the way, trying to evaluate the abilities for these things is really hard. Why are Seppun and Bat Clan not equivalent? Psychology. Sure, you could save a VP all game until you reduce damage by 10 or you could reduce damage by 10 when you need to without a VP. Well, plus, in the Seppun case, you aren’t spending a VP, so you circumvent the once per round restriction (by any reasonable wording, plus note difference in ancestor cost).
Now, where things get messier is when an ancestor says you can spend a VP to do something because they don’t say you can avoid the once per round limit, a completely idiotic and unnecessary limit. The exception for school techniques is specific.
It’s funny to me that Sparrow don’t really get shafted in 4e, other than the absurd path in Secrets. Their stuff doesn’t sound good but is far better than a lot of other stuff.
Sure, Kaiu is only once per year you get to make magic items … you … get … to … make … magic … items!!
Talking to animals is the bee’s sleaze [TM]. There’s a reason Dr. Doolittle just owns.
Makes me sad that Ikoma is such a problematic ancestor. Again, if you go by Greek God patronage rules, makes way more sense as he respects your partying self but doesn’t blow a gasket when you aren’t partying heartying.
Such a sucker for Foxes and … Centipedes.
I have actually played Kitsu. It was pleasant but didn’t come up that much. It did inform certain aspects of the campaign that were pleasant up until I replaced the PC with a better one.
I don’t get Kakita. It seems like dueling is supposed to be more core to the game, yet, the problem with doing that even if you wanted to is that dueling is grossly, grossly unfair unless your GM has a serious handle on it. Also, lots of schools don’t duel, which means it’s not a core mechanic for lots of PCs.
I’m getting a bit more interested in the Ancestor Campaign. Even as a GM, I can make NPCs with ancestors the players don’t care about. Though, I need to be wary about trying to “play” my characters during games, an often painful activity GMs will fall into when they cherish their creations more than letting players play.