Looking for Support Skills for a Tattooed Monk in an L5R Game

Our group recently started up a campaign in L5R 3rd edition. I decided to go with a Dragon Clan monk. After a few play sessions, I’m starting to run into issues finding a role for the character. We have enough ranged characters in the party ( two dedicated archers, a shugenga (wizard), and a scout) that it doesn’t make much sense for me to rush into melee. Either the party kills the threat or it was too strong to engage with face-to-face anyway.

My ideal solution would be to tweak the character to be more support oriented. After all, those squishy ranged sorts need someone to watch their backs. Unfortunately, this system doesn’t seem to offer many tools to actually support that playstyle. I have my tattoos, but those are pretty limited. Apparently dragon clan monks don’t get ‘kiho’ abilities like normal monks.

Are there any skills or abilities I can pick up that will let me adapt this character to better fit the party? Is ‘run up and punch hard’ really my only option?

Should I give skills and full stats to NPCs?

Some friends have asked me to run a game for the first time. We are going to play All Flesh Must Be Eaten. It’s fun, easy and rules are not as important as actual roleplaying.

I have created the main storyline, maps for important places so I don’t have to come up with things that may contradict what I previously said, a bunch of side quests so there is plenty to do even if they decide to simply screw around and some random encounters so the game doesn’t feel on rails. I’ve also made myself a four page guide with tables, damage values, and such, just in case someone does something unexpected and I have to check something I can’t make up.

I have a problem with NPCs, though. I created the main antagonist following the rules on the book. I gave him the stats and chose the skills, and then I created a main henchmen to make things more even.

Then I started creating the rest of the NPCs. It was a royal pain in the ass, so instead of that I took a piece of paper for each one and wrote only the basic and secondary attributes, name and relation to other characters and clipped them all together.

That is, I have the main antagonist and two other important NPCs very defined (Attributes, qualities, drawbacks and skills) according to the rules, and the rest of them stored in pieces of paper.

  • Should I make a full character sheet for each NPC?

  • Should I give all of them qualities, drawbacks and skills or I can make them up if needed?

  • The important NPCs that are fully created, should follow the rules? should I boost random feats, skills or attributes?

  • I have also created two of those very simple NPC sheets for zombies, soldiers and random people running around, allowing me to generate random encounters with two or three rolls. Is this a good idea or should I make myself a good stack of generic NPCs just in case?

I have read this question and this one, but I am still unsure about following the rules for NPCs or not.

Rob’s answer was extremely useful. I made myself a handy dandy NPC generator and it worked like a charm. The players liked this way of coming up with NPCs and everything went smoothly, so I’m definitely keeping this approach.

How do I keep detection skills from ruining my game?

I play a smoothtalking scoundrel in a GURPS 4e game. In it, I have the Detect Lies skill. Because of the nature of our campaign, which is a murder mystery, I always suspect whoever I’m talking to is lying to me. Pragmatically speaking, I should be using Detect Lies all the time, but I feel like this would get excessive. I’m hesitant because of a previous campaign in D&D, the version of which I don’t remember, in which another player was a paladin who constantly used Detect Evil. I found it annoyingly repetitive, and it also seemed imbalanced. I don’t want to be that guy in this game.

Am I just overthinking this?

non-combat role-playing skills in ICE Rolemaster

My group plays ICE exclusively and has for the past 15 years or so.

Recently, a friend of the DM’s joined with no RPG experience. A problem has arisen regarding the role playing skills such as “Diplomacy” and “Leadership” and others. My view is that these skills are used for the DM to determine how an NPC only will react to player characters in a given circumstance, when the DM has knowledge that the NPC does not, and has no effect on PCs because they are controlled by us, the players.

For instance, I may want to take charge of a group of NPC soldiers in a crisis situation and i would use my leadership skill to get them to follow orders and get them organized or whatever. The diplomacy skill would be used to get an NPC to react favorably to you, even though he or she may not have any knowledge of you or your history or motivations.

The new player has always complained that because he has high leadership and tactics skills (he plays a Paladin) that the rest of the group should heed his ideas when figuring out a plan of action, then follow that plan, even though I as a player disagree with it. In other words, I should be forced to follow his lead and have my character do things that I would otherwise not do, to the detriment of said character. This is only one example, but you get the jist. He has convinced the other players of this, as well as the DM. What are your thoughts?

If a character has Expertise in more skills than they have skill proficiencies, is the extra Expertise wasted?

Let’s say I take 10 levels of Bard and then 10 levels of Rogue.

This would give me the following skill proficiencies:

  • 2 from my background
  • 3 from Bard level 1
  • 1 from Rogue level 1

This is a total of 6 skill proficiencies, and with Bard level 3 and level 10, and Rogue level 1 and level 6, I would have 8 skills to put Expertise into. I can put one of these Expertises into Thieves’ Tools, but there is still one Expertise left to be used.

Is this Expertise simply lost? Must I take one of the skill feats if I want to be able to use this Expertise?

Are there concrete advantages for being proficient at social Skills in a table that rewards roleplaying these interactions?

I’m a new DM running D&D 5e’s LMoP with a small group of new players.

So far everyone is having fun even though we’re all learning on the fly, which I think is great. But there have been situations where I as a DM have had to adjudicate the use of social interactions against NPCs, but I’m unsure if I should be letting the dice determine outcomes of conversations against NPCs or if letting roleplay dictate how much information I can give out about the NPC’s reactions and words.

Let’s say that on our table, a player can get as much information from an NPC if they give out compelling arguments against an NPC while trying to convince them about something with Persuasion or Deception, or using in-character Intimidation. Would there be concrete benefits of having proficiency in these skills if a player can roleplay them well even without the proficiency bonus?

I’m trying to determine what would be most fun for the players in my table, and some players might feel it’s a waste of skill usage to level Skills they could be roleplaying out and getting similar results than rolling dice if they do not offer any concrete advantages. For example, I have a player that’s great at roleplaying out their character and more interested in making his character skillset be like the one he wants to roleplay, and another one who is interested mostly in making his character efficient at his role with the roleplay being incidental after the fact he chooses a skill that benefits the game mechanics.

I would probably change my method of adjudication and the use of dice depending on what’s most fun for the players.

Maybe I’m overlooking something here and should be ruling things way differently though…

I own the PHB and MM only (slowly working on getting the core books if the group actually liked to play), so if there is any info about this on the DMG then I’m not privy to it yet.

Why do some classes start with fewer trained skills?

Looking at Pre-Essentials 4th Edition classes, it seems like they map out like this:

Three trained skills:

  • Defenders: Battlemind, Fighter
  • Striker: Barbarian

Four trained skills (one max be fixed — e.g. required Religion for a divine class):

  • Defenders: Paladin, Swordmage, Warden
  • Strikers: Avenger, Monk, Sorcerer, Warlock
  • Leaders: Ardent, Cleric, Runepriest, Shaman, Warlord
  • Controllers: Druid, Invoker, Psion, Seeker, Wizard

Five trained skills (one is fixed):

  • Striker: Ranger
  • Leaders: Artificer, Bard

Six trained skills (two are fixed):

  • Striker: Rogue

I’m a bit mystified by the Battlemind, Fighter, and Barbarian getting only three trained skills. Is there a particular reason for this? Something about their other class features or the relative value of certain class skills over others?

(I’m more interested in how the skills play into class balance than “designer reasons.”)

Do Boots of Striding and Springing negate skills, feats, and spells that reduce your movement?

Per the horribly worded description:

While you wear these boots, your walking speed becomes 30 feet, unless your walking speed is higher, and your speed isn’t reduced if you are encumbered or wearing heavy armor.

But there are multiple ways in which a characters speed can be reduced beyond encumbrance. For instance, the Sentinel feat:

  • When you hit a creature with an opportunity attack, the creature’s speed becomes 0 for the rest of the turn.

Another example is being grappled:

  • A grappled creature’s speed becomes 0, and it can’t benefit from any bonus to its speed.

I highlighted the word becomes in these descriptions because, in the English language, it would indicate a one-time change. So a boy BECOMES a man. A seed BECOMES a plant.

But the Boots also say, “While” — A continuous duration. This puts the description at odds.

A character wearing the Boots has there walking speed “become” 30 feet unless encumbered or wearing heavy armor. They are hit by and NPC with the Sentinel feat so there speed “becomes” 0. Now what?

Does the character’s speed re-become 30 feet allowing them to keep moving? Or are they forced to stand still?

I seem to recall there being another magic item that uses the a phrase similar to “cannot be reduced below” but so far my search has come up empty.