Stained Cup and New FAQ

CourtGames Rectangle

Stained Cup and New FAQ
CourtGames RPG

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Korvar (Mike): Hello, welcome to CourtGames, a Legend to Fire Rings podcast funded by the Legend to Fire Rings discord community Patreon.

Kakita Kaori (Jeanne): This podcast will focus on the role-playing game, stories, and lore for Legend to Fire Rings.

Korvar (Mike): I’m Korvar

Kakita Kaori (Jeanne): I’m Kakita Kaori. What have we got this week?

Korvar (Mike): This week there has been a new updated frequently asked questions, FAQ for both the role playing game as a whole, Path of Waves, Shadowlands, and the mantis PDF, which is free for download from FFG, has also had some changes . There’s been a new fiction, The Stained Cup by Josiah Harris.

New FAQ Erratta [00:00:58]

Kakita Kaori (Jeanne): So the new FAQ had some errata in it, some frequently asked questions, and a little bit of new game mechanics for you to potentially use. 

From the core book, slippery maneuvers was limited in its Opps to just one Opportunity so you couldn’t start stacking obscuring terrain to do even better. This was actually fixed in the online copy.

Korvar (Mike): I’ve got the original book, which apparently cannot be updated automatically over the internet. What a shame. But if you have a drive through RPG, copy, it should tell you that it’s updated.

 There’ve been some weapons changes: the Dow is deadliness six up from five and the Jian has been changed so that the two handed grip adds razor edged and plus one deadliness.  It’s still not near a Katana and it still can’t be used for Iaijutsu, which we’ll get to in a bit.

Kakita Kaori (Jeanne):  So those are the only changes in the core book. In the Shadowlands book, there are quite a lot of changes in Maho. Commune with Evil, opportunity isn’t just good for the current scene, it’s for the next scene. So this makes Maho a lot more tempting because if you’re going into court and you want that little Maho bonus for your court scene, you shouldn’t be slashing your wrists in the middle of the court room. That just doesn’t work too well. So it lets you, if you were an evil Maho Tsukai, do your evil in one scene and then spend the opportunity and it carries on for the next scene and even further scenes with additional opportunity. Then there’s another change where they can increase the range by one per opportunities. The main thing that the Maho changes: it just makes them a bit more tempting and functional for your villain.

Korvar (Mike): Yes. “Your villains” because you shouldn’t be doing Maho cause it’s bad.

Meanwhile, Path of Waves has got a few: voice of the wilds, you get to choose one of two rituals, not invocations.

Kakita Kaori (Jeanne): and the Qamarist shield bearer it originally said that they had access to earth shuji now they have access to all Shuji, they had a slight correction: it said in their curriculum that they had access to the iron shell   style kata, and the outfit gets a scimitar as well as a Yari or Naginata and a shield. So this is actually a  buff to the Qamarist shield bearer which, when we looked at the Path of Waves, we thought it was a pretty strong school as is. Now it’s even stronger. The main strength of it, of course, is in the shield stats . So yeah, this is a solid wall of a person that I would not want to face in a dark alley.

Korvar (Mike): Meanwhile, improvise weapons: things like chairs and lutes, sake bottles, and scroll cases, they now use the unarmed skill, not the melee skill, which brings it in line with other improvised weapons. The iron scabbard is still melee, and if you’re stabbing someone with umbrella, be warned it is now a two-hand grip, not a one-hand grip, very important to keep in mind.

Kakita Kaori (Jeanne):  So those were the actual erattas, the changes to the NPCs: they were to some of the fixed NPCs in the campaign that had got a little ridiculous on their stats. In the FAQ section, they talked a bit about simultaneous effects. They suggest you always use the universal tie-breaker rules from the core books. So if you have two simultaneous effects going off, you want to resolve them where it’s PCs first, then NPCs, then Adversaries, then Minions.  If two PCs are tied, then you randomize it with a coin flip. There’s no fixed, non random, simultaneous thing for that. The non-random types of  simultaneous resolution, are specific to initiative. So otherwise, flip a coin.

Korvar (Mike): Or rock, paper, scissors, whatever.

Meanwhile, if you get an Advantage inverted, which is where somebody spends a Void Point or the GM does it mean thing to you where your advantage now acts as a disadvantage? you always get one void point, whereas before it was only down to whether or not the reroll fails. Now if someone inverts it, you get the void point.

Kakita Kaori (Jeanne): So if the Advantage is inverted you would always get a Void Point if the GM says, “I’m sorry, you’re big so now you can’t fit through that little hole. So now your advantage is a disadvantage. You get a Void Point.”, the question was whether the Disadvantage, if it forces a reroll and you fail,  you get two void points or just one? You just get one, but it doesn’t matter or not whether you succeed on the reroll.

Korvar (Mike):  Minions don’t have void, poor things. Adversaries seem to have half of their void ring in void points at any one moment. It depends on your adversary, obviously, if you want to make a change, adversaries are meant to be tough anyway. And if, NPC is using Maho, because if you’re a PC, whether or not you have tainted rings and how many tainted rings is important, but you don’t keep track of that with NPCs.

So if the NPC is not stated to be tainted, then they have no tainted rings as far as Maho is concerned. If the state is being tainted, they have two tainted rings, and if they are straight up otherworldly, they have 4 tainted rings. So that’s how that works if you want to see what benefits or penalties they get, depending on their rings.

Kakita Kaori (Jeanne): Another clarification: Iaijutsu requires a one handed razor edged grip. So even if it’s got razor edge, when it’s two hands or something else involved, you can only do it if that weapon you’re using has a razor grip while you’re using one handed.

Korvar (Mike): They should just change it so instead of it’s razor edge, there’s an Iaijutsu kind of tag because ” it’s this, but not when it’s this, but when it’s this, but not on Thursdays.” I think they just say, “yes, you can  Iaijutsu with this. Now you can’t”, but they made it so we now know Iaijutsu, one handed, razor edge, and if it isn’t one handed or razor edged, you can’t do it. You can still just use water and draw and attack with it. So let’s do that.

Finally, for this particular section, TNs for multi-target attacks default to the highest TN number amongst the targets, not as sum, you don’t add them all together, and it’s also not a choice that the person makes. You, don’t say “I’m going to target the least difficult to hit, and then everyone around them. Cause that makes my life easy.” It’s always the most difficult one, because life is meant to be a challenge.

Kakita Kaori (Jeanne): So if you have a whole group of people and you want to Thunderclap strike them, then your target is the one guy in air stance and the rest of them can all be in fire, but they are protected by the one guy. Yeah. That’s just the way it is.

Modifying the TN with Staking and Optional Rulesets [00:08:40]

Those are the FAQs, there’s also a section that is about modifying the TN and trying to give lots of examples of when you would modify the TN from the base numbers.  Often it seems  TN 2 is pretty normal for a lot of tasks. That’s often your standard. And then they talk about how you would make the TNs harder, what circumstances that would be to make things harder, or what would make it easier. The range for TN modification is plus one to plus three or minus one to minus three. So if you want to make something really super hard, you add plus three to it.

It gives a ton of examples. Yeah, I didn’t want to talk today about all the examples, you should go read it, but, some of the examples they give are not just, “hi your, instead of jumping on the roof, you’re now jumping on a slippery snow covered roof”,  that might be a very simple physical one, but it could be “hi, you are talking to an NPC and trying to persuade him, but you found out what his Ninjo is and you’re  appealing to his Ninjo in your words, you are saying.” That would drop his TN. It’s a way that roleplaying the social stats modifies the TN of the a persuasion goal you’re trying to accomplish. I thought that was particularly relevant for a lot of things that make the roleplaying count. Here’s one way you make the roleplay account: you let the role play advised raising or lowering the TN.

Korvar (Mike): Yeah. in theory, this has been what you’re meant to do anyway, but then up until this document, there really hasn’t been much in the way of guidelines. When should it apply? How big? That sort of thing. Here we have a really nice big lump of guidelines, I think that’s really good. We might look at those in more detail later on.

There are also guidelines on staking honor and glory. Which is a thing that was mentioned in the core rule book, but again, would like more guidelines on. Like when you apply and what kind of effects they have. So you’re staking, your honor, your glory and possibly even your status and the way it’s given in the core book, there doesn’t seem to be any benefit to doing this. It’s like “I will do this thing” and you say it publicly and you’re staking your glory, right? If you fail to do the thing, because it stated there publicly, you’re going to lose some glory. Cause everyone starts saying, “Oh, that person, they keep saying they’re going to do things. And they don’t do them for, I don’t think too much of them” and similarly with honor and stuff like that, but there needs to be some kind of benefit. So we now have some guidelines on that.

If you’re making a personal oath like “I will not fail on this thing”, that staking honor. If you’re declaring publicly, like “I will find that bandit and defeat them” that staking glory.  And I’m not quite sure what the Status one is because that is a difficult one to stake.

Kakita Kaori (Jeanne): Yeah if you’ve made a contract around it, ” I, as a courtier, personal to the crane clan champion, guarantee that this will be the case, and this is my contract on this.” Then that’s taking status. If you call upon your status to get you something, that’s it.

So if these all combine, then it should have an additional, extra benefit. Cause you’re risky even more. The examples they give in here are they have a lot of them and a worth reading– they’re still a little iffy what the benefit of staking on or glory or status is over rolling– basically, if you stake honor, or glory, or status in the examples they give, you don’t have to roll. Unless you do, there is a special note saying “if there’s still needs a roll, it lowers the TN of it.”

However, we’ve already established that the TNs range will, in general, be between one and five. Now that could be pretty hard to do a TN1, but you could also find a lot of ways to lower that TN. It’s very hard for me to figure out, why you would stake over, for example, trying to find an easier way to lower the TN around something, these examples don’t use staking as a fail safe mechanism, which is where I think I would put a staking honor and glory.  You really need to do this thing, you failed to do this thing on the straight up roll, now you have to go to your backup mechanism.

Korvar (Mike): If you’re wanting to lower the target number to do the thing, let’s just give an example, there is a mission to go kill a horrible bandit and several people are wanting it because you reckon is going to be really good for your reputation and you want it and you get told that, just asking is going to be quite a big ask cause there’s someone else in the room who’s probably going to get the job. If you want to try to lower the target number that’s going to take time. You’ve got to get an action. You’ve got to do something in order to lower that target number or someone else is going to do. You might not have time. There might not be space for a roll, that’s when you loudly get up and you declare that you will stake your personal glory on doing this mission.

So it can be a failback, but it can also be a shortcut. So instead of having to do a lot of scheming and finding out all this information to get the target number down, you can do it in one thing by staking. That might be another way of looking at it.

Kakita Kaori (Jeanne): Another way you could potentially use it, as an outburst type, You’re in a high tense situation. You’re at that moment, you’re compromised. You use this and make a powerful oath about it. You can do that, even if you’re compromised. There’s nothing the thing in there requiring enrolling, therefore you could do it when you are compromised. I would probably, especially if it was dramatic enough, use that as an outburst.

 They have a number of optional rules going: so they talk about campaign types. whether you want to play it more anime-esque, if you want to play it gritty and realistic, if you want to play super courtly intrigued. They have a whole bunch of optional rules from ones that they cited in the books and a few other optional rule sets they have here in the FAQ and then they give, “if you want to do that, this kind of campaign we’d recommend using this set of optional. if you’re doing this other kind, use this different stuff.”

So the optional rule sets they refer to, and I’m not gonna list all the different kinds of campaigns they say, are: bonds, cross ring opportunities– that’s letting you use it opportunity from, fire in water, maybe at a higher cost–, grittier games, that’s your super deadly weapons and stuff, experienced PC, giving your PCs a little bit more experience off the bat, one roll duels,  simplifying your duels down to one, playing with the tactical grid, they have risky checks, which is something we’ll talk about here in a moment. Ronin honor and glory, this is where you break away from your clan preferences for honor and glory, interpretation of them, and focus on your own interpretation of them.

Shoddy, improvised weapons, which we’ll also talk here, sub skills, cause when you really need to be good at Ikebana and not at origami, trifling breaches and small sacrifices, talking about these real small, honor and glory loss, and unmasking or beneficial effect. Specifically mechanical effect, because normally unmasking is just RPed benefit or disadvantage. It lists the different combinations you might want for different kinds of campaigns.

Korvar (Mike): There is a lot of suggested different campaigns styles. So I’m going to just run through one of them and there’s a whole bunch of different ones. But say, heroic action, “Rokugan is a setting defined by choice and consequence, but that does not mean that there’s no room in it for stories of daring feats, grand gestures, and heroes who save the day.” Campaign goals: the goals of this playset is to empower players, to take exciting creative actions and reward them for doing so. Does not apply only to combat, but also to other types of encounters for which provides “players have a wide number of tools at their disposal to cleverly solve problems and vanquish their nefarious foes”, the optional rules used: bonds, cross-ring opportunities, experienced PCs –20 plus starting XP– range bands on attack and grid, risky techs, stronger improvised weapons, unmasking for effect.

So each of these different campaigns have their paragraph setting the campaign goals,  which optional rules you plug in or leave out, there’s like couple of pages of different campaign styles that you can use, which I think makes L5R much more flexible. I really quite like that.

Kakita Kaori (Jeanne): One of the optional rule sets is “risky checks”. Let’s say I want to throw myself over the edge of the cliff and grab a branch on the way down to get into a cave on the side of the cliff, that’s riskier than other means of doing so. If I do that risky check, if I succeed at that check, it means I get additional bonus successes. It’s a TN three to do that, but I make it, and therefore with zero additional successes, I just make my TN three.

However, it’s a risky check three. So it automatically assumes that adds two bonus successes to it. So it’s like I succeeded with two bonus successes as well cause that’s how risky it is. If I fail then I get shortfall. So if I don’t hit that TN three, then I am not only not where I wanted it to be, I’m in a worse off position. It rolls me back. It takes away some of my previous successes.

Korvar (Mike): This doesn’t by default, make bonus successes or shortfall relevant. So presumably you’re going to be wanting to make bonus successes helpful in some way and you’re going to make shortfall important for some in some way.

So shortfall is where you didn’t succeed, but instead of just saying, “Oh, you fail.” Somehow, you’re one off the target number. So that means something. If you were to off the target number, that means something else. So you’d have to be using those rules anyway for risky checks to really have an effect. The obvious one is momentum. If you’re doing something that involves momentum, cause you get bonus successes adding to your momentum score and shortfall can take away from your momentum score. A lot of rolls don’t come with that by default. So that’s the thing.

Kakita Kaori (Jeanne): Another optional ruleset is shoddy improvised weapons, which just means if you use them on at attack roll, it gets damaged, and if it’s already damaged and you use it on attack roll again, it gets destroyed. I thought it was interesting. It doesn’t matter if it hits or not.

Korvar (Mike): Yeah, which makes sense because, you watch the average bar fight, if you miss with your chair, then you’ll hit something else and break it. You can spend opportunities on the attack check to keep your weapon from being damaged, which I can only assume is how Jackie Chan uses ladders for so long. So I like that actually. I think that’s a neat little thing to add. I would probably use shoddy improvised weapons most of the time. Cause that way you have to keep improvising as you just break everything you use. I have to come up with something else.

Mantis DLC Updates [00:21:25]

Finally, we’ve got the Mantis PDF, which has a change in it. You’ll want to download the latest one for Tenkinja which is one of the Mantis shugenja schools, their ability to avoid the effects of this spells also applies to backlash. Which I believe was explicitly the other way around before. So if you do a fire spell and you get spiritual backlash, which is keeping three strife or more on your results, everything in the target area gets hit by the fire spell only you don’t. And in fact, I believe it’s you and your school rank in friends. As we discussed on the discord, a few people have gone ” deliberately invoking backlash seems a bit rude to the Kami”, but it opens up some interesting avenues.

The Stained Cup [00:22:18]

Kakita Kaori (Jeanne): The next thing we had this week and this kind of got snuck out on Twitter, I don’t know why they keep not putting their fictions on their page. But they aren’t advertising it yet.  It’s a fiction called the stained cup and it is by Josiah “Duke” Harrist, who I don’t think has written anything for the storyline yet, but I’ve seen the name before so maybe he’s an author for the RPG.

Hantei Sotorii, having fled from his rescue by Doji Kuwanan, wakes up in the isolated hut of the potter and Ronin, Yotsu, who found him at the bottom of a river and carried him to his hut for healing and care. Yotsu does not believe  Sotorii is truly the son of the emperor, cause who would, and does not bow to his demands like Sotorii expects, but he does help Sotorii get better and walk again. Unfortunately, once he is well enough, Sotorii decides to, against Yotsu’s wishes, go down the mountains himself. There he encountered a group of Ronin led by the woman Risa and they kill Yotsu and capture Sotorii. So he is a mess.

Korvar (Mike): Yeah. So lore nuggets, Yotsu is a name that has shown up before in old5R lore. In old5R lore Hantei Jodan, the current emperor, and his pregnant wife, and his son Hantei S o torii. At one point the Empress, and her son Hantai Sotorii, and her unborn child, were captured by blood speakers. Yotsu was a Ronin who substitutes his own child for Sotorii to rescue the young heir. Although unfortunately he wasn’t able to say the Empress and her child ends up becoming Daigotsu. And that’s a whole thing that has not happened.

So she was never kidnapped, Sotorii never needed to be rescued by a random Ronin . So one can assume this is the same Yotsu, it’s a bit of an odd choice to use his name otherwise, but what he is doing is somewhat diff different.  He has rescued Sotorii and pick the kid up and took it back to his hut and set his leg and looked after him and put up with his terrible attitude, for which he deserves all the medals, but his end came about slightly differently. Sadly. So we are assuming he’s just, this is the same guy only his role in new5R is different.

Kakita Kaori (Jeanne): We also learned in this story that in Rokugan, it is considered disrespectful to hunt crane. Sotorii asks, “why don’t you shoot that crane for dinner?” and he says “that’s  disrespectful”

Korvar (Mike): also. I don’t want to lug that great, big, huge bird all the way back home.

Kakita Kaori (Jeanne): That’s true. They are big.

Korvar (Mike): we’re not quite sure where this is, it’s mountains. but there’s mountains at the top, bottom, and middle of Rokugan. We suspect this is the spine of the world mountains, which are the middle ones and that will be on the way to the Monastery of the Winds. Sotorii has somehow managed to get himself very high up in a mountain, in that he fell down a ravine and is still fairly high up a mountain, but he was mounted when we last saw him escaping from Kuwanan’s rather botched attempt to “rescue” Sotorii. So he could have gone quite a ways before he fell off his horse. We’re not quite sure where this is happening, but there’s, it’s in a mountain. We know that much.

Kakita Kaori (Jeanne): And Sotorii doesn’t remember because he hit his head quite hard.

Yotsu has a price on his head, put there by Lady Matsu. The ronin talk and it sounds like they’re looking to collect that bounty on Yotsu. They aren’t looking for Sotorii. I think lady Matsu in this sense is probably Matsu Tsuko. she is pretty much boss Lady Matsu.

Korvar (Mike): this is where we come across one of the problems with the setting where there were like a thousand thousand Matsu and “Lady Matsu” is?   Could you narrow it down? There’s hundreds of “Lady Matsu”. Do you mean “the” lady? Like the one and only like the top one, or one of the others. Yeah, it’s probably a good guess. this is a Matsu Tsuko.

Kakita Kaori (Jeanne): Yep, and though there are signs on there that would indicate he would probably have been a Lion. though he did have an unknown Mon in his possession. Since they are seeking a bounty, but this isn’t something Matsu Tsuko is interested in, and he’s ex Lion. It seems very likely to me, or at least the most likely possibility, is that Yotsu is someone who would be considered a diserter from the Lion armies, a samurai who was a deserter. He had to wakizashi, we don’t know why he might have done that, he could have done some other wrongdoing, but they don’t mention his crime they more mentioned the bounty, and he seems to think that he could just pay them off as well, potentially. That doesn’t imply a hugely high bounty or some other cause, so yes, absolutely.

 It’s pretty much policy whenever you have a large army, diserters are a thing. There are a million reasons why someone could disert and it’s a perfectly okay, normal background, for a ronin to have:  be a diserter  on the run from, or in hiding from, people who might be looking for them for desertion.

Korvar (Mike): Probably the most interesting thing about Yotsu’s background is he states that he has fought in the emperor’s Wars, all of them, which I found a very interesting statement. I can’t think of any wars off the top of my head in 1123 Rokugan that would count as the Emperor’s wars. So I’m very interested in what he means by that. Unfortunately, we’re not going to find out, but…

Kakita Kaori (Jeanne): I don’t think he’s left it clarified, yeah,

Korvar (Mike): no, but I, sadly, as I say, he’s not going to tell us because Risa, who was the head of these bounty hunters, she was really fast and she may possibly be ex crane?

Kakita Kaori (Jeanne): She’s got white hair as a Ronin, and she closed a lot of distance real fast, which is that  rank six Kakita technique. So I think she’s Kakita school.

Korvar (Mike): Six whoosh, really scary, but yeah, bad news. Seriously, I was so surprised when it happened, because the setup up to that point, it was like, “Oh yeah. And then Yotsu’s got to come and save the– Oh, he didn’t”

Kakita Kaori (Jeanne): I felt bad for him. I liked him.

Korvar (Mike): Yeah, I did. Yeah. I liked him.

I thought he was really nice. This is exactly the person who Sotorii needed and there are even hints that he might be heading in the right direction until right at the end, he suddenly goes, “no, I’m going to be an opinionated git, I’m going to walk down the mountain LAH cause I’m prince!” and then he breaks everything. It’s his own stupid fault.

I have a hope that is, this is a turning point for him because there was a similar situation with Kachiko where there was a single line in one of the fictions that I went “is that the start of a change?” and then in the next fiction, it really was. So I’m hoping something similar is happening here, but it’s not looking good for Sotorii. He has made some poor life choices.

Kakita Kaori (Jeanne): He does have a point in the story where he is having a dream and dreams are such a great place to throw in foreshadowing and prophecy that it’s always worth looking at when someone’s having a dream.

Korvar (Mike): I’m not sure whether this is a prophecy or dreaming of previous events.

Kakita Kaori (Jeanne): I think it’s a combination of both. I think that timing wise he did end up falling in the big storm that happens in A Night Storm Rages when a Kuwanan is busy fighting to take back Kyuden Kakita and there’s lightning and thunders that’s when it’s happening so he is remembering that, but, I was really interested where he sees like all these forming shapes around him, swiping at each other with blades and then two colossal figures, clashing, overhead spraying, blood , and all the thunder and lightning, it sounds prophecy.

Korvar (Mike): But then again, it could also be an exaggerated dream of Kuwanan’s attempt to “rescue” him and the two philosophers cause could be Kuwanan and Hitomi. Cause that’s what I immediately saw that’s he was basically remembering very vaguely and slightly feverishly those events. It could be but then again, the shapes swiping at each other, it’s a war. It’s Rokugan, there’s going to be war. That’s not a difficult prophecy to make. “I foresee a war!” It’s Rokugan, mate. There’s going to be war. I’d be impressed if something “I foresee peace!” and then one goes “What?? Never!”

So yeah, it could be prophecy. It’s hard to say.

Closing Shoutouts [00:31:47]

Kakita Kaori (Jeanne): That sounds like it’s about it for us this week. Do you have any call outs?

Korvar (Mike): Obviously we have our usual call outs to our sister podcast, the L5R LCG podcast, and we have two actual play role playing podcasts: Crimson Gold Agonies, and Fortune and Strife. So you can go and check those out.

Kakita Kaori (Jeanne): Things are getting spicy.

Korvar (Mike): We have links to all of those in our show notes .

Kakita Kaori (Jeanne): All our podcasts are funded by the discord Patreon, which supports our editing costs and our ever-patient editors, as well as our website. For our Patrons, we have special bonus content like adventure seeds or watch parties. W e  also have early previews into those actual play podcasts. Thank you very much.

Korvar (Mike): You can find us on our website, We’re on Twitter at courtgamespod, and our Patreon is at

Kakita Kaori (Jeanne): That’s it for us for this week this is Kakita Kaori, may the fortunes favor you.

Korvar (Mike): And until we meet again, keep your jade handy

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