While technically not caught up, I feel caught up on HoR4.
As a follow up to Courtier of the Ivory Throne, I’ve had various realizations.
First, I would have likely enjoyed my other most planned build early on in the campaign. I’m really missing having an Intelligence of 3! I guess it’s a good thing that I feel like Intelligence has been relatively useful so far in the campaign. Plus, my other build is more efficient in XP expenditures.
I feel like I’m really scraping to do core things. Now, after five mods, I have 18 skills, so that’s part of the issue. I’ve enjoyed using various skills that I thought might be temporary, like Perform: Biwa. That’s the thing I noticed when planning buys hundreds of points into the future, I was not allowing for doing fun things in the interims between major buys.
But, enough about my character, move on to characters in general, then move on to some thoughts on the mods generally.
In home play, I did great with Void 2 and Fire 2. Some of that had to do with starting with 117xp. But, a rather important difference between home play and living campaign play is that I know what my role is in home play. In mods, I might be running with one group to be able to run for another group. I feel very, very limited in functionality rolling Nk2 dice pools, having only two Void, and not knowing what skills I need to be better at for challenges.
Of course, the groups I’ve played with eschew Intelligence, so we are missing a brain. Players don’t make obvious buys, like Investigation, which puts undue pressure on randomness or one PC.
Also, talking about largely starting characters and, often so far, small parties. Sure, expertise is lacking, but so is versatility. This will change to some extent. But, it’s such a difference in feel from when I was rolling 8k5 or 8k4 in my core areas and leaving research to other party members.
Should I respect Void more? My HoR3 characters had Void 3 right off or quick, so I never saw the Void 2 build in an unpredictable setting. Void 2 might be far more challenging than I thought. Also, my Void 2 play with a R-5 character was with someone whose highest ring was the Ka-Ching Ring, so I was abusing mechanics even while fighting the norms.
As I have my plans and I don’t know that V-3 will be more enjoyable for me, I’ll continue on with dumping on Void in HoR4 and see how it plays out.
As to the campaign …
I have no sense of combat in this campaign to this point. In HoR3, I was surprised how much more fighty the campaign was than HoR2, which was massively investigative in my experience. So far, couple token combats with one brutal mod and mods with nothing.
My lack of sense of the combat norm is in line with my lack of sense of what the campaign is about at all. Seem to swing wildly from one thing to another, though I think it’s one of the mods that just seems like it would have fit better being around mod 20. Couple of the mods are typical fare (also the mods I enjoyed more), highlighting different common concepts in Rokugan.
HoR3, for all that it eventually just stopped making any sense to me at all, early on, felt very coherent. Early mods were underdeveloped, but they flowed reasonably well from one to another, and the campaign seemed to have themes.
I’m hoping the next mod establishes something about the character of the campaign, as, very much influenced by whom I’ve played with, this campaign seems to be the Yoritomo Campaign of Campaigns.
Getting back to my problems, I need to set my characters on paths to maximize enjoyment. I may still find a hook to build around, but my previous “defining moments” tended to happen early on, even if Journey to the Burning Sands was Jun’s perfect mod, that was because he was already inclined to find it his perfect mod.
Being the only Honorable PC in my local group hasn’t really been interesting. I’m also finding it hard to balance motivation to do particular things.
The other thing that helped HoR2 quite a bit with coherency was having mod series that were actually series. I hope something is done to develop real series, like can have a Balishnimpur series where you actually accomplish something in Balishnimpur.
Because of the lack of consistent magic abuse, the need for combat efficiency is high, yet we still make terrible decisions. As much as I’m not trying to build toward grappling, of the two fights that have mattered, one of them was an obvious “delay, Full Attack grapple” situation and I went for something else.
Tatakisu is rich, yet I’ve hardly shopped at all. That others I’m playing with are more into shopping than previous campaign parties may have something to do with my not getting as into it. I even have in character interests and don’t look for trinkets related to them.
Certainly been funny. I don’t know about the sustainability of humor over having some sort of goal.
Talking about campaign mechanics. I don’t mind the Glory system, which helps prevent the “anyone not G-10?” problem. I am not liking how Honor has worked so far, though, with too much encouragement to think in one particular way. The favor system has yet to mean anything to me, so no opinion on it. Crafting has been irrelevant to us. Ronin survival was amusing but no longer relevant. I do like how admin stuff is moved to the beginning of mods.
Don’t know what to think about certs that currently don’t do anything. I found the sleeping swords of HoR3 just really annoying, as it seemed to promise something that only really mattered for core players.
At least it’s far easier to play things you want to play, like techniqueless schools.
I feel less clear on this campaign than either HoR2 or HoR3. However, to be fair, I didn’t play HoR2 in anything like the release order, so some of the early mods weren’t so jarring as they may have been to other people.
I feel unclear on whether my main’s concept is going to pay off. What I was seeing with all of my ideas was the need for kobuneloads of XP. Probably a lot more fun to just start out closer to what you care about and be able to be freeform with XP, like was the case with all three of my HoR2 PCs.
Callout to Bill and Macy for hosting a weekend of Rokugan and providing oodles of Japanese food. It’s a good thing to have a local group even if it’s also good to play living campaigns with a diversity of disreputables.