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HMS Invincible
2010-11-02, 03:34 PM
Legend of the Five Rings, I've never played it before. This is the new campaign that rose from the ashes of the horrid Masquerade atrocity.Everyone else has played it at least once, and knows more than me, so I feel behind on the optimization curve. What should I train up to get more optimized, and can someone explain the stat system? I would have done this before character creation, but I didn't want to be so rude as to ignore the advice of my fellow players right away.

I was picking stuff that sounded equivalent to a D&D fighter, and I had some rushed advice from the advanced players. They told me to pick Lion clan and Akodo family. I picked up 10 points of disadvantages and 10 advantages. Enemy, Nemesis, some other points of disadvantages.
Then I took magic resistance 6, and 4 points of wealth because I didn't know what to spend advantages on.

I have 2 ranks in all my rings except for agility which is 4, and the clan/school bonuses to perception and agility.
For my skills, they told me to focus on battle (specialty, mass combat), weapon skill, specializes in katanas, and defense, which are all at rank 3. I also have a point in quick draw equivalent.

All my rings are still rank 2 overall, so my insight level is around 110's. How important is upping insight compared to leveling up my stabby skills? I have some leeway since my perception is at 3, so leveling my strength would both up my insight and my stabbing damage. Originally, I was going to up my agility to 5, but they told me that keeping 5 dice of agility is pointless since I can hit people, but it won't kill them. In addition, my TN for armor is so low. I have a TN of 18 to be hit, which is pretty bad despite spending so many points of defense. I was annoyed when I found out that agility=\= dexterity from D&D, so my AC is utterly crap. My damage isn't very high, and my speed is 20, which is pretty lame. I think I get power attack, as a special ability, since I can raise twice to up my damage.

I'm not sure, since the book is very confusing, but I think my to hit is 7k4+4, and my damage is 4k2+2. Roughly, that's about an attack bonus in the 30s and a damage in the teens, not counting explosions or raises. How am I doing so far?

Satyr
2010-11-02, 04:14 PM
You want a high Earth Ring. You will be hit from time to time, and you probably want to survive it. That's what Earth is for. You also would like to have Strength of the Earth (advantage) if you don't know what to do with your points; it's a life saver.
Also, Reflexes is as important as Agility; perhaps even more important (except, for some reason, for duelists).
I don't know how your group plays L5R, but usually combats are much rarer than in D&D; they are also much, much deadlier. Likewise, social situations will be much more common, and as such it is mandatory to have at least basic knowledges in the most important social skills - Sincerity, Investigation, Tea Ceremony, those are about as important as your combat skills.

For combat planning, the Defense skill is not that useful; especially as an Akodo Bushi you have a fair chance that you will fight more in the Attack stance where you have no advantage from the skill. Iaijutsu is more useful; so is Kyujutsu.
Keep an eye on Mastery Ranks, they are very useful.

Toptomcat
2010-11-02, 04:20 PM
I'm not too experienced with the current edition, but I can tell you this: L5R combat is just so spectacularly deadly that unless you are a Crab in full armor all the time you cannot reasonably to expect to soak even one hit and expect to contribute meaningfully to a combat thereafter, and unless you are a Hare with maxed Reflexes then you cannot reasonably expect to reliably make others miss. Invest resources in going first. Insight and School Rank tend to be quite important.
Additionally, take care to learn the setting as well as the mechanics. L5R isn't terribly forgiving to those who don't grok the setting.

HMS Invincible
2010-11-02, 10:39 PM
Well that's not good, I'm the quiet stabby guy and I didn't put any points into etiquette. Hmmm, extra deadly and wound penalties remind me of World of Darkness kind of games. The big on fluff does too.

How's my build so far?

Toptomcat
2010-11-02, 10:56 PM
Define 'quiet stabby guy'. If you're actually looking to sneak around and stab people in the back D&D rogue style as an Akodo, your enemies won't have to do a damn thing- your daimyo will have ordered you to cut your own guts out after your first combat encounter.

Yeah, the setting's that important.

HMS Invincible
2010-11-03, 12:32 AM
Define 'quiet stabby guy'. If you're actually looking to sneak around and stab people in the back D&D rogue style as an Akodo, your enemies won't have to do a damn thing- your daimyo will have ordered you to cut your own guts out after your first combat encounter.

Yeah, the setting's that important.

We already have a rogue who poisons enemies of the emperor, or stabs them at night. I'm the nontalking leader in combat, so I have to kill people quickly, else I'm not going to be worthy of my title as leader of the group. If I shame myself during combat, that has nasty implications. Therefore, I'd like to be good in combat, and I'm wondering what kind of combat there is.

Here's the scenarios I've thought of:
1. Bandit is caught redhanded>I kill him.
2. Samurai challenges me to a duel> ???
3. Ninjas attack me at night> I die.
4. A large army battle happens> ???
From what I've read, I don't want to be in a single draw duel, since I only have 1 point in that skill. I think 3 ranks in combat makes me a army leader, but I don't know what that entails, probably differs by DM. I'm not going to worry about surprised attacks, I'm a glass cannon, and I'll be dead regardless. Killing "bad" people/monsters with my katana really well was my only goal in this game. I'd like to push that specialty to the limits or rank up some other stuff so I can be useful to the party. I don't want a repetition of my WoD campaign where I specialized in ranged weapons, and never use it.

I think it's fair to assume that katana combat is going to be a large part of the game outside of social situations, which we have 3 characters who can handle that.

Lastly, I've already built my character, so any advice will be for future characters, or salvaging a decent build out of whatever mistakes I've made.

Toptomcat
2010-11-03, 01:02 AM
Okay. In that case, here's my basic advice:
7k4+4 is indeed a pretty good attack roll for a starting bushi. Akodo tend to be good at that. You should be making Raises for damage as a matter of course, especially against opponents of entry-level skill/without armor. Also carefully look into the rules for Raising to accomplish things other than straght damage, since you'll usually have the surplus attack to capitalize on it- called shots and the like, maybe even really fancy stuff like disarming. The higher your attack roll is, the more Raises you can make on it. Also see what limits the number of Raises you can make (is it still Void ring?)
If you're a glass cannon, you'll want to invest in the statistic that makes you go first, which is presumably still Reflexes. There should also be an Advantage or two for that purpose.
Insight and School Rank are important. Do invest in raising Rings.
Ninja ambushes will kill more or less *any* lone starting character, don't worry about dying to them.
If a samurai challenges you, I believe you're entitled to choose the circumstances of the duel: while you'll be dinged for Samurai Brownie Points, you're entitled to choose kenjutsu rather than iaijutsu.

The Big Dice
2010-11-03, 11:29 AM
L5R is (theoretically) based on a rock-paper-scissors model. That's to say, something that beats one style of character will usually lose to another style. But more important than the style of character you play is an understanding of Rokugani culture.

It's a land of bullies, where he who wins the fight is right. But there are forms that must be followed. Tradition is a force more powerful than law in Rokugan.


1. Bandit is caught redhanded>I kill him.
If he's going to stand there and let himself be killed, sure. No self respecting bandit is going to come quietly, though. They don't have jail in Rokugan. Criminals are routinely tortured into confessing, then punished brutally. Justice must be seen to be done, after all.

Yes, Rokugan is what I would call a Lawful Evil culture.

2. Samurai challenges me to a duel> ???
This depends on the circumstances. There are a lot of grey areas and you can sometimes turn things to your advantage. But in general, if a Kakita or Mirumoto challenges you, you have problems.

3. Ninjas attack me at night> I die.
Everyone does in those circumstances. Solid advice for every L5R character is, pump up your Investigation skill. It can (and will) save your life.

4. A large army battle happens> ???
If you haven't invested in a Battle skill, you're in trouble.

HMS Invincible
2010-11-03, 04:53 PM
I got 3 points in perception so I can up my strength to increase my overall Ring/insight. However, is it worth it to up my Intelligence(which pairs with agility) for a bonus to insight? It doesn't really add to my combat, and I currently only have 114 insight.

I got 3 ranks in mass combat, so I should be ok if a large battle happens.

The Big Dice
2010-11-03, 05:19 PM
I got 3 points in perception so I can up my strength to increase my overall Ring/insight. However, is it worth it to up my Intelligence(which pairs with agility) for a bonus to insight? It doesn't really add to my combat, and I currently only have 114 insight.

I got 3 ranks in mass combat, so I should be ok if a large battle happens.

It depends on a few things. What School is your character being a major question. 114 is moderately low Insight for a starting character in L5R, but the way the game is put together means that Insight isn't a particularly good way of determining relative character capability.

I'm not certain which edition you're playing, but certainly Water is a good ring for an Akodo to advance in 3rd edition. Agility 4 is more than I'd have gone for on a starting character, but setting it at that level means you won't need to spend any points on it for a very long time.

My suggestion is to get your Kenjutsu and Defense up to 5 as quickly as possible. Work on your Kyujutsu too, using Flesh Cutter arrows exclusively. If you have access to Art of the Duel, the Matsu Duellist Path is one that's well worth checking out, too. Especially if you're playing with the Revised rules.

HMS Invincible
2010-11-03, 08:37 PM
I thought I posted it, but I do see how spread out it is.
Akodo family, Lion Clan.
2 points in everything except for 4 agility, and 3 perception for my rings.
I got 3 ranks in battle, weapon skill katana, and defense. 1 rank in everything else. Insight level is 114. Lastly, I got magic resistance 6 points, and 4 points of wealth. That's about it.
It's 3rd edition, revised I think.

Psyx
2010-11-04, 07:08 AM
I wouldn't bother with magic resistance, seeing how unusual magic is. There are better things for 6 points of advantages.


Look to buying up a lot of non-combat skills. It's amazingly useful, and gets your Insight up quickly.

Pick your fights. Avoid them if you can.

Make sure that you're either deadly enough to win a Iai-Jitsu duel, or polite enough not to get into one. The second is far cheaper on XP, and far safer.

Zen Monkey
2010-11-04, 08:39 AM
Lion aren't really built for duels. Crane, Dragon, and Scorpion will carve you up if you get baited into a duel. The Lion are the Emperor's Army, his 'right hand,' so they are good at combat and honor, duty, loyalty, etc. Their existence is very much a soldier's life. If challenged, you can always play the card of "my sword is the emperor's, not my own" as though dueling is beneath you and you serve a higher purpose than your own honor (ironically, looking more honorable by doing so).

Bruendor_Cavescout
2010-11-04, 10:16 AM
Also, Magic Resistance is a double-edged sword. It protects you from both benevolent magic as well as malevolent. So, while it makes it harder for the maho-tsukai to cast a spell to make you - literally - cough up a lung, it also makes it harder for your Kitsu ally to implore the kami to knit your wounds back together.

You might also look at dialing back the Agility at IR1 from 4 to 3 - you're likely better served spending those sixteen points elsewhere. I would heartily recommend Lore: Bushido at at least 1 Rank, if only because you're an Akodo Bushi - your family and school's founder created the tenets of bushido, so you should know a thing or two about them. Your Perception's good, because it keys off both Investigation and Battle, making two of your special cases below more survivable. You should also think about what your role in the Lion army is - that might help you decide what Skills are important to your character. Crab Hands might be a good selection, as it gives you a familiarity with all weapons. Strength of the Earth is a perennial favorite for bushi, as it lowers Wound penalties - the second tier is the sweet zone, assuming you're playing 3rd Edition. If you're wanting to hit someone faster, you might look into Combat Reflexes, which will allow you to swap Initiative scores with people. Leadership and Tactician are also interesting choices, but often of limited use. Look into these if you see yourself becoming a commander, but if you're fine with being a rank & file soldier, they're of less importance. Earth 3 will be a key goal to begin with, as you can't really fight people if you're dead. Void 3's nice as well, since Void's so damn useful.

As for general techniques, the Akodo Bushi is one of the top tier Schools. You excel at hand-to-hand, and can either ignore Armor or gain Free Raises against opponents. In general, the Free Raise is almost always better, unless you're fighting against Crab in heavy armor. Also, you want to be honorable, since a lot of your Techniques key off that. Increasing your Honor out of the gate would be a good start, and look for ways to be the honorable soldier during play. Honor 5 is a HUGE boon, since your Honor tests are very likely to succeed.

Also, keep in mind that the Rokugani consider the court to be just as much of a battlefield as, well, the battlefield. They won't expect you to be speaking flowery language while you're in full battle regalia - after all, you are Lion, not Crane - when winter comes, and you're stuck in some court for three months, you will be expected to be polite and sociable. It might not be your focus, but you'll eventually want to pick up some Courtier and Etiquette. The Sincerity Emphasis of the latter Skill is especially useful to you - it lets you avoid unpleasant truths while adhering to the tenet of Honesty. You might also look into learning some other sociable skills, like Games or Perform. Storytelling is a honored past time, even among the Lion, and Shogi - a sort of Japanese chess - is almost as respected amongst the Lion as Go.

Wow, I'm longwinded. One last thing: your damage should be 5k2 with a katana - it's a 3k2 weapon, and assuming your Strength is 2, you add that to the rolled dice. Sadly, Strength is the poor red-headed stepchild of L5R, as there's only a few skills that include it, and damage counts them as rolled dice, which can be duplicated with Raises.

Mark Hall
2010-11-04, 10:53 AM
I've got some suggestions... but they lose out once you've created a character. :smallfrown: FWIW, I would've probably suggested a Crab or Unicorn... both of them can get away with a bit of brusqueness that gets other clans shunned.

In general, though, build up some of those weak points. Lots of low-level skills contribute to improving your Rank, so spend some XP and RP time picking up a few ranks here and there. Make it part of the RP, and figure out who your guy is, and why he hasn't had these skills before.

For example, in the 1 L5R game I played in, I was playing a Yasuki Merchant/THERE ARE NO NINJAS IN ROKUGAN. I can fake the pseudo-Japanese stuff, and like playing a little slimy, so it worked. However, I had a number of Crab bushi with me... blunt as a tetsubo and about as bright. One of them had a hopeless love trait, and wanted to get her attention. So, while we had downtime (ah, life in Otosan Uchi!), we traded. All morning, he'd help me with my martial skills (dodging, fighting people when not allowed to stab them in the back, etc.), and we'd spend the afternoon teaching him etiquette and poetry... and me chess, because I needed to learn it.

It was, for the most part, a pure stat fiddle for the both of us... we wanted to be a little bit more effective outside of our chosen arena. However, it was good role-playing, and gave our characters a closer tie than "We're from the same clan."

The Big Dice
2010-11-04, 12:00 PM
Lion aren't really built for duels. Crane, Dragon, and Scorpion will carve you up if you get baited into a duel. The Lion are the Emperor's Army, his 'right hand,' so they are good at combat and honor, duty, loyalty, etc. Their existence is very much a soldier's life. If challenged, you can always play the card of "my sword is the emperor's, not my own" as though dueling is beneath you and you serve a higher purpose than your own honor (ironically, looking more honorable by doing so).
This is true, but if you;re playing 3rd ed revised and have access to Art of the Duel, the Matsu Duellist path, which is Rank 2 with an entry requirement of any Lion school, is one of the best duelling Paths in the game. You get a bonus equal to your Honour to attack, damage and initiative rolls, as well as extra Focuses in an iaijutsu duel equal to your Honour. And in the revised rules, those bonus Focus attempts can be spent to gain +5 on your next Focus roll.

Get Iaijutsu 5 with the Focus emphasis and you're suddenly a very dangerous duellist.


Also, Magic Resistance is a double-edged sword. It protects you from both benevolent magic as well as malevolent. So, while it makes it harder for the maho-tsukai to cast a spell to make you - literally - cough up a lung, it also makes it harder for your Kitsu ally to implore the kami to knit your wounds back together.
Agreed. As an Akodo, you're better off with Bishamon's Blessing to up your damage output even more. Get an Akodo Blade as well.

For real Akodo cheese, buy a rank of Honour for 3 points, Ebisu's Blessing and an Akodo Blade. Then get yourself a Test of Honour that's rolling 6k6.

As for Magic Resistance, it doesn't work against maho. MR protects against influences from kami, but maho is powered by kansen. They may seem like the same thing, but really, they are very different. The most obvious being, only shugenja can use non maho spells. Which are really prayers to the kami. But anyone can use maho as long as they are willing to make the sacrifice of blood required.

And no, the blood doesn't have to be yours...



You might also look at dialing back the Agility at IR1 from 4 to 3 - you're likely better served spending those sixteen points elsewhere. (Plus lots of other good advice)
As an Akodo, your biggest benefit is that you can hit almost anything and hurt it when you do hit. Agility 3 is fine to start out with. Especially as you've got your Katana emphasis, plus you'll be either ignoring armour or getting a Free Raise and getting another Free Raise on your first attack against an opponent. That's easily turning your base damage from 5k2 to 6k3. And that's before you call any Raises.

If you add in Bishamon's Blessing, you use the bonus Free Raises from your Akodo Rank 1 Technique to add +10 to your attack roll, take 2 Called Raises for damage and get the benefit of three Raises. With no increse to the TN of the roll you have to make.

That's turning your base damage from 5k2 to 7k3 without any real effort.

I'd strongly suggest checking out this page (http://kuroiban.net/files/). There's a ton of useful things there, not least of which is the probability chart.

jiriku
2010-11-04, 12:16 PM
Which edition of L5R are you playing? Many advantages and disadvantages function differently in 4th edition.

In general, get yourself out of the habit of thinking like a "fighter" or a "rogue". Such things will get you killed. You are a noble, and a servant of your lord. Your particular tactical skills are much less important than your success at advancing your lord's goals. Additionally, L5R characters are much less specialized than D&D characters, and you can't really afford to have a "role" like you would in a D&D party. You can't rely on others to do all of the talking for you -- enemies will notice that you're helpless in any situation where you can't swing a sword at an opponent, and then you are screwed, screwed, screwed.

The two deadliest things in Rokugan are

1) Getting stabbed.
2) Saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

Plan to make sure neither of these things happens to you. Armor, Reflexes, and Defense are useful for not getting stabbed. Etiquette and Sincerity are valuable tools for making sure your mouth doesn't get you killed.

In *most* L5R games, combat is much less frequent and much less important to the plot than in D&D. Plan to be able to do things other than kill people, or you'll likely be sitting around bored for much of each game session because you lack the skills to contribute.

HMS Invincible
2010-12-20, 03:57 PM
I hate to resurrect an old thread, but L5R isn't talked about much. Btw, this is 3rd edition L5R revised.

We had a really rough encounter that I felt was poorly executed by the GM and me. The setup was pretty simple, "You see 6 archers standing in 3 trees, roll initiative." I decided to send everyone in because it seemed easy enough. Until I realized only 1 of us had athletics or bow skill. None of could climb the tree, or actually fire a bow with reasonable proficiency. =.=

So what was suppose to be a minor encounter turned into a 20 round grueling slog. Pretty much we spent the entire time in full defense or poorly firing arrows at people in trees (fighting uphill, +2 TN for them, -2 TN for us) while our single ninja went around stabbing them. It took a round to move to the tree, another round to climb it, and then 2 rounds to kill the pair of archers in each tree.

Should I buy the Unicorn emphasis on bow fighting so I can use my agility (4) instead of my reflex(2)?
Could I have just retreated and/or sent in the ninja to kill the archers at night? Or is that dishonorable?
Should I up my defense skill(3) so I can actually fire a bow without getting peppered with arrows? What's a good or decent TN to be hit anyway?
Sometimes the ninja in our party, who's secretly dishonorable, disappears and can't take orders very well. What if I took the stealth skill and used it to scout instead?

The Big Dice
2010-12-20, 05:51 PM
Should I buy the Unicorn emphasis on bow fighting so I can use my agility (4) instead of my reflex(2)?
Could I have just retreated and/or sent in the ninja to kill the archers at night? Or is that dishonorable?
Should I up my defense skill(3) so I can actually fire a bow without getting peppered with arrows? What's a good or decent TN to be hit anyway?
Sometimes the ninja in our party, who's secretly dishonorable, disappears and can't take orders very well. What if I took the stealth skill and used it to scout instead?
Reflexes 2 is very, very bad for a bushi character. And a reasonable TN for a rank 1 character is 26. That's 15 from Reflexes 3, 5 from Light armour and 6 from Defense 3.

As for the Yomanri emphasis, get it. You won't get any extras for having an emphasis for the type of bow you use, but you will get the Yomanri bonus added to your rolls, plus the extra dice from your Agility. If you're rolling 3k2 now, with a skill of 1 and a Reflexes of 2, you'd be rolling 4k5+1 with the emphasis.

The ninja thing is tricky. Are you willing to live with the consequences, which could include loss of Honour at the least and sepukku at the worst? That's the difference between L5R and most other games.

Kyuu Himura
2010-12-20, 09:14 PM
There are no ninjas, that's a peasant tale, are you a peasant?? Thats what I thought. No ninjas. No. Ninjas.

That being said, if that nice scorpion courtier who keeps dissapearing all the time just goes out for a night walk and happens to run into the bandids camp, and then they happen to appear dead the next morning.... it's not of your business and you have no testimony and no evidence (these Kitsuki, they're never satisfied with what they hear :smallannoyed:) to tell that your friend the scorpion had anything to do with that. And there are no ninjas.

Back to not-ninja-related-things, As a Bushi you want:
-Agility 4 and Reflexes 4 ---> so you hit often, but don't get hit often.
-Void 3 ----> for everyting.
-Earth 3~4------> so when you get hit, you have a chance to not die.
-weapon skill 5 and defense skill 5 -----> a free rise when using your weapon, +10 TN to be hit, -5 to wound penalties when fighting with your weapon, +5 to your total defense rolls, one more miscellaneous ability from your weapon mastery, I heavily recommend Kenjutsu (aka: swordsmanship) because you get to spend void in damage rolls with swords.

As an Akodo, you additionally want:
High Water (AKA, high strenght and perception) ----> you will move faster and you will hit more often and harder.
High Honor -----> you will be better at everything (honor rolls) and you will hit harder and more often.
High Battle Skill -------> Akodo One-Eye, the family founder, literally wrote the book about battle tactics, so people kinda expect you to be a decent tactician.

And to not be de one dimensional stabber you want at least one rank in:
- Investigation
- Etiquette
- Any Lore skill
- Maybe an artisan skill

And most importantly: COMMON SENSE, if you feel you should shut up, do so, if you feel you should stabb, look at where you are, how friendly are the locals to you, to your clan, to your family, and to your companions, how many other armed guys are there, how many of thoe are samurai, etc.

As for Rokugan, you should know:
Authority = ass kicking, people in positions of power often deserve those positions and if they have more authority, then their word is taken as truth until someone with greater authority puts it in doubt or some really solid, really unquestionable evidence is presented. By a profesional invesigator. Affiliated to the Dragon.

Shadowlands = bad, in fact, so bad that it is a breach of etiquette to speak about it when there are no monster threats around you.

Duels are the way to go: Rokugani don't believe that you are right because you win, they believe that you win because you are right, so, if you don't think you can win against someone, it is probably best not to upset them, not frontally at least. Also, in any kind of duel, the party being challenged is the one in right of picking what form does the duel take. If you are challenged, pick kenjutsu, that's probably your best shot. If you challenge, mock him until he picks the thing you want to pick, it works, really.

Justice: As I told you, testimony is the first tool of justice in Rokugan. When you are found guilty of something, you either prove them wrong real fast and real convincing or cut your stomach. If the crime is too serious, then you will be executed. For peasants, punishment goes from public beating to execution, as they have no honor to save, anyway.

The Big Dice
2010-12-20, 09:43 PM
<Some Good Suggestions.>

Traits at 4 are expensive. Rings at 4 are extremely expensive. You can get away without having them until Rank 3 easily. especially in a school like Akodo. My advice is to get your Reflexes, then Void, then Earth to 3. The Akodo's biggest weakness is it's lack of initiative or defensive ability.

When it comes to the party ninja, call him a scout and treat him like a military scout. It's basically the same thing, but to a Lion, the difference between a shinobi and a scout is the difference between a valuable comrade and an execution.

The Glyphstone
2010-12-20, 09:48 PM
Great Modthulhu: Thread Necromancy by 4 days, but I'll let it stay open while discussion persists.

The Big Dice
2010-12-20, 10:05 PM
By four days? Wow, that was close.

Psyx
2010-12-21, 06:29 AM
Should I buy the Unicorn emphasis on bow fighting so I can use my agility (4) instead of my reflex(2)?

No. Why would you go grovelling to another clan to learn their secrets of archery which were inspired by barbarians. Have you no respect for a thousand years of your ancestor's tradition.
The arrow knows the way. If you need to resort to 'aiming', you lack insight.


Could I have just retreated and/or sent in the ninja to kill the archers at night? Or is that dishonorable?

Do you know he's a ninja? If you do, then letting him LIVE is dishonourable, and it's your duty to kill him. Even if not... cowering away from some peasants in trees until nightfall, when you send someone to murder them by stealth? Of course it's dishonourable!



Should I up my defense skill(3) so I can actually fire a bow without getting peppered with arrows? What's a good or decent TN to be hit anyway?


Does Defence skill work like that? You'd be better off in buying some bow skill. A good offence is a good offence!



Sometimes the ninja in our party, who's secretly dishonorable, disappears and can't take orders very well.

If he openly disobeys orders from his superior, then he's very openly dishonourable. Duty is very important in the setting. Order him not to do it.



What if I took the stealth skill and used it to scout instead?


Sneaking around in bushes is no way for a samurai to behave, though. Stealth is a low skill, and its use costs you honour.


Dealing with this kind of situation is difficult to do in a manner suitable to the station of L5r characters. Best bet is to simply have very good perception skills and know how to use a bow. And NOT the unicorn way, because everyone will mock you.

The Big Dice
2010-12-21, 04:43 PM
If he openly disobeys orders from his superior, then he's very openly dishonourable. Duty is very important in the setting. Order him not to do it.
If he's from a different clan and you're not in service to some greater authority, like an Emperald Magistrate or the Imperial Legions, then you have little or no authority over anyone. Even if your Status is higher, they are outside your chain of command. You are owed respect, but not obedience.


Sneaking around in bushes is no way for a samurai to behave, though. Stealth is a low skill, and its use costs you honour.
Actually, you only lose Honour for buying a Stealth emphasis other than Sneaking. Military scouts and guards don't lose Honour for using Stealth to do their duty in an effective manner.

Which is why I say treat your friendly neighbourhood Shinobi as a scout. Nobody bats an eyelid when a Hiruma goes sneaking off. Nor do they point and scream NINJA whena Shinjo Scout vanishes into the bushes. In fact, in the School Updates (http://www.alderac.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=60&t=74716), most clans get a Scout path. Including the Akodo.


Dealing with this kind of situation is difficult to do in a manner suitable to the station of L5r characters. Best bet is to simply have very good perception skills and know how to use a bow. And NOT the unicorn way, because everyone will mock you.
Knowing how to use a bow is something many L5R players neglect. And that's what makes an encounter like bandits in the trees armed with bows fun and challenging.

But yes, being able to deal with situations like that in a way that isn't going to lose you Honour or Glory can be difficult. Having a shugenja around can help. So can having a scout around.

However, Akodo's Leadership says "When facing the enemy, let him see what you want him to see. Show him your right hand, strike with your left. Hide all he does not need to see, for the sting of your slap will ease the pain of a sudden blade in his side."

In other words, Lions are not Lawful Stupid. They are master tacticians, and know the difference between dirty Scorpion tricks and being a cunning warrior.

thorgrim29
2010-12-21, 05:12 PM
Didn't Akodo also say something to the effect of: "In war, there are no rules"? I've never played L5R itself, but I've got a few Rokugan games under my belt, and your best bet to survive and thrive in the setting is to remember it's built on hypocrisy. Meaning that while outright lies are capital B Bad, half truths and misleading statements tend to be ok. For example, currently my Crane Courtier/samurai and the great armor clad Scorpion samurai (she's a chain fighter and never lies, but she's very evil and pretty dishonourable, my character keeps her around because she fights well and he suspect more then knows most of the things she' done) are locked in a cell by gaijins with kolat agents in the cell with us. That's pretty dishonourable. But when we get out of our predicament, no one will know what happened other then: the underground base we were sent to investigate is held by Gaijin (Rokugan is being invaded by Medieval 2: Total war armies, and part of the Kolat is allying with them) who killed the Kolat agent we thought were there, plus whatever the end result is. So yeah, be an hypocrite as long as you stay honourable, and remember that if you win a duel you're considered right (doesn't have to be a duel to the death either, hell I recently completely shamed a Lion Courtier who'd insulted my clan by owning him at Sadane, a critique duel).

Also, depending on the campaign everyone is either corrupted or a Kolat agent, yes, especially him. Him too.

Psyx
2010-12-22, 06:14 AM
If he's from a different clan and you're not in service to some greater authority

As the OP spoke of giving orders, it's fair to assume that he's in a position of authority... otherwise he shouldn't be giving orders. By that extension, if he's the one giving orders, then sneaking around and scouting would cost him honour, because he's not 'the scout'.

The Big Dice
2010-12-22, 08:12 AM
As the OP spoke of giving orders, it's fair to assume that he's in a position of authority... otherwise he shouldn't be giving orders. By that extension, if he's the one giving orders, then sneaking around and scouting would cost him honour, because he's not 'the scout'.

How does an army function without scouts? It's a common assumption that Lions are stupid because they won't do certain things. But if they reallyare the greatest military of the land, then it follows that they have all the resources an army needs to function.

Psyx
2010-12-22, 10:05 AM
There's a big difference honour wise in a commander sending out scouts and going and crawling up to people and stabbing them in the back himself.

They have the greatest field army in the land. That doesn't automatically equate to having a great fully integrated combined arms army, though. I'm not saying that they don't have nor use scouts, but that they don't automatically either have excellent ones, nor cheerfully view those engaged in the role as brothers-in-honour.

The Big Dice
2010-12-22, 02:40 PM
There's a big difference honour wise in a commander sending out scouts and going and crawling up to people and stabbing them in the back himself.

They have the greatest field army in the land. That doesn't automatically equate to having a great fully integrated combined arms army, though. I'm not saying that they don't have nor use scouts, but that they don't automatically either have excellent ones, nor cheerfully view those engaged in the role as brothers-in-honour.

The free web supplement begs to differ.

Akodo Scout (New Path, formerly Akodo Forward Sentry)
Technique Rank: 3
Path of Entry: Akodo Bushi 2
Path of Egress: Akodo Bushi 3, Akodo War College 1, or Ikoma Tactician 1
Technique: Honor in the Shadows Akodo scouts are taught to remain unseen, observing and analyzing their foes so that when they strike, they have only to strike once. For the purposes of this technique, your Akodo Bushi School Rank is considered to be one higher. You gain a bonus to all Stealth rolls equal to double your Akodo Bushi School Rank. For each round you observe a foe without taking any other actions, you gain a Free Raise per round to use against that opponent in combat. This benefit lasts only for the first four rounds of combat. You may only gain a number of Free Raises in this manner equal to your Akodo Bushi School Rank.

The Lion are often taken by players as being Stupid Honourable. Which is just silly. Akodo was a master strategist and you don't get a reputation for having an invincible military with the greatest generals in the land by not having fully developed tactical and strategic units when you need them.

This is the clan that had half a million troops under arms during the runup to the Clan Wars.

Sure, they won't stoop to using assassination as a routine method of winning a conflict. And they have lost many field commanders to the Crane by being goaded into duels before a battle. But how does a smaller force take on a larger one and win?

Scouts and skirmishers can turn the tide of a battle, so of course the Lion are going to cultivate them.

Psyx
2010-12-23, 05:39 AM
I stand corrected on them having decent scouts, but that in no way invalidates the point that there is a vast difference between a commander sending out scouts (and thus effectively washing his hands of the 'dirty' aspect of the matter) and telling his subordinates to put the kettle on while he goes and crawls around in the bushes stabbing people himself. That's pretty much asking for a massive honour hit.

The Big Dice
2010-12-23, 03:15 PM
I stand corrected on them having decent scouts, but that in no way invalidates the point that there is a vast difference between a commander sending out scouts (and thus effectively washing his hands of the 'dirty' aspect of the matter) and telling his subordinates to put the kettle on while he goes and crawls around in the bushes stabbing people himself. That's pretty much asking for a massive honour hit.

I totally agree that the smart Lion commander is going to say "Go achieve this objective. Don't tell me how, just do it." Where the Scorpion is likely to go get his hands dirty. Crab strategy, on the other hand, says the scouts should raid the enemy camp, with the aim of getting themselves chased into a full scale Hida ambush. But then, they regularly fight things that can kill a man in a single action and even have a word for how long it takes an invulnerable Oni to shred a fully armoured bushi.

Occasional Sage
2010-12-23, 04:13 PM
I'll second the "no yomanri" answer.

And third it.

You will shame yourself by declaring that all of your ancestors fought wrong. Not only is the practice of aiming a filthy barbarian trick below you to practice, but any GM I've played under would do something like Haunt you for learning it. Or dock your Honor. Or both.

Sure it's mechanically superior for your build, but you have to let that go.

EDIT: also, remember that what you don't know isn't your problem. If you tell the sneaky guy, "Go have a look at that bandit camp, and tell us if they've had any problems recently" you don't need to ask questions when he comes back and says "Hey we're in luck, looks like somebody attacked them recently and all the sentries on this side of the camp are dead!"

You HAVE TO assume that everything he tells you is entirely true, because who would shame their entire Clan back through all of history just to lie to you? That "entirely true" and "entire truth" are different, doesn't matter; he followed orders perfectly, so you can wash your hands with a clean conscience.

The Big Dice
2010-12-23, 06:56 PM
On the archery thing. Buy Reflexes 3. Get kyujutsu 5 and a Yumi emphasis. Add 20 flesh cutter arrows and welcome to the world of more damage than you can do with a sword.

Assuming Strength 3, a katana will do 6k2+bonuses damage. An Akodo with a yumi and flesh cutters is doing 6k3+bonuses and ignoring the armour bonus the target gets against his arrows.

The Akodo, Kakita and Mirumoto schools all make for very, very good archery schools. Remember, in L5R, unless a Technique says it applies to a specific weapon, thenit applies to all weapons and unarmed attacks too.

ninja_penguin
2010-12-23, 07:36 PM
So, as long as it's l5R in here, I've been messing around with making a Shiba Bushi. Should I spend some of the starting EXP to boost the earth ring up, or just bump water and fire to 3 to match up with the starting bonuses?

Occasional Sage
2010-12-23, 08:21 PM
So, as long as it's l5R in here, I've been messing around with making a Shiba Bushi. Should I spend some of the starting EXP to boost the earth ring up, or just bump water and fire to 3 to match up with the starting bonuses?

If you're interested in advancement efficiency, bump Earth. It's easier to get those two trait ranks before the game, and get single advances and the relatedbenefits individually in-game.

The Big Dice
2010-12-23, 10:53 PM
If you're interested in advancement efficiency, bump Earth. It's easier to get those two trait ranks before the game, and get single advances and the relatedbenefits individually in-game.

Sorry,but I disagree. It's far cheaper to buy Traits to 3 than it is to buy Rings to 3. So it makes more sense from a long term planning perspective to "stack"your Rings early on. If I make a Shiba with Stamina and Reflexes 2 (from Clan and School Benefits) then buy up my Agility and Void to 3 with my starting points, I'm in a better position than I would have been if I'd bought my Earth to 3.

If I was making a Shiba, I'd buy Agility and Void to 3, get Kenjutsu and Defense 3 and possibly use my Any Bugei skill to get Iaijutsu 3. Shiba are devastating duellists, especially at high ranks.

Two Rings with a Trait at 3 means it's going to cost me 24 XPto get 20 Insight. However, bear in mind that a Rank 1 character with a skill at 5 and a Trait at 4 is going to be rolling the exact same dice pool as a Rank 4 character with the same stats.

Void is the most important Ring for a Shiba. But Agility and Reflexes are the most important Traits for a bushi. In L5R it's better (and easier) to not get hit than it is to simply soak up damage. For most characters, anyway.

Starting with Earth 3 is nice, but unless you're a Hida or Ronin Warrior, it's not really worth the sacrifices you'll be forced to make in other areas. Like not getting hit or being able to hit.

An average katana blow is going to do about 15 damage. Out of 36 an Earth 2 character can survive. Yes, you can soak 10 of that with Void, but you can only do that once per round. But, the 6k3+3 attack roll against a TN of 25 is going to hit slightly more than 50% of the time. Spend a Void POint to make that TN 25 into a 35 for the entire round and the 6k3+3 attack will hit you a little less than 20% of the time.

Unless you are willing to invest large amounts of points in three ranks of Strength of the Earth and getting your Earth ring to 4, a wiser strategy is to boost Reflexesand your Defense skill.

ninja_penguin
2010-12-24, 12:24 AM
Oh, and another question I had: I was kinda drawn toward Phoenix inclined assests and drawbacks. Was looking at elemental blessing, but was having a hard time crunching it in my head. At first I thought it looked neat, but then it seemed like -1EXP to advance would only really pay off in a super long run.

Also, the touched by the void thing? I glanced at it, and kinda thought it looked like death, especially for a Shiba, who apparently is more void focused.

Occasional Sage
2010-12-24, 12:24 AM
*snip*


I like your thinking. You obviously did more of it than I did before hitting the Submit button.

Ozreth
2010-12-24, 03:08 AM
maybe i just havent played enough but L5R dosent seem like an optimization type of game. I suppose you could do this in any game that has options for gaining higher numbers but as far as RPG's go L5R isn't very battle centric. Seems like most of the the game is about politics, bartering, honor, and the occasional quick fight that usually ends in a player dying ha.

Tengu_temp
2010-12-24, 03:35 AM
It depends a lot on your playstyle. One game might be a court intrigue where the only fight is a duel you got yourself into when you accidentally said too much. Another will be Seven Samurai with the serial numbers filled off. And yet another will be filled with big battles against the creatures of Shadowlands.

The Big Dice
2010-12-24, 11:36 AM
maybe i just havent played enough but L5R dosent seem like an optimization type of game. I suppose you could do this in any game that has options for gaining higher numbers but as far as RPG's go L5R isn't very battle centric. Seems like most of the the game is about politics, bartering, honor, and the occasional quick fight that usually ends in a player dying ha.

You can optimise in different ways in L5R. With most of ity being done during character creation. And sometimes they aren't immediately obvious. LIke who would have thought that a Shosuro makes a better courtier than a Bayushi, even though the Scorpion courtier school is a Bayushi school?

But starting with Awareness 4 for no points rather than buying it is a saving of 16 of your precious starting character points. And if you buy your Intelligence to 3, so you end up with the same mental trait as a Bayushi would, you're still 4 points ahead of the game.

ninja_penguin
2010-12-24, 01:31 PM
Another few questions as I may end up pre-genning characters for a trial run of this:

1. How much should each character be able to defend themselves? On average, both politically and physically. It seems like you're supposed to be slightly less specialized so that a clever opponent can't make your super-duper sword swinger be told to swing that sword into his gut already.

2. Where do (can't remember spelling) 'Kami wizards' go on the power spectrum of things? Do they end up overpowering other characters?

3. Are there no other ninja schools then the scorpion one? (I'm avoiding the Book of Water extra stuff right now)

The Big Dice
2010-12-24, 02:19 PM
Another few questions as I may end up pre-genning characters for a trial run of this:

1. How much should each character be able to defend themselves? On average, both politically and physically. It seems like you're supposed to be slightly less specialized so that a clever opponent can't make your super-duper sword swinger be told to swing that sword into his gut already.

2. Where do (can't remember spelling) 'Kami wizards' go on the power spectrum of things? Do they end up overpowering other characters?

3. Are there no other ninja schools then the scorpion one? (I'm avoiding the Book of Water extra stuff right now)
1. I'd say every bushi needs their prime weapon skill at 3, plus Defense at 3 to start. Aim to get both to 5, with relevant Emphases, before you reach Rank 2. You won't need to improve the skills again for a good long time then.

The same goes for courtiers. Get Courtier and Etiquette to 5, having started with them at 3.

In general, I'd say a bushio shopuld be aiming for Courtier and Etiquette 3, with more politically inclined ones (if you get those skills as part of your School, or picked them as your Any High Skill) might want to aim for a 5 with them. And a good social skill is also fodder for The Empire Rests On Its Edge kata.

But remember that a specialist is going to beat a generalist in their specialized field. And the reason why is school techniques. The other thing to remember is, L5R works on a rock-paper-scissors balance model. A classic fast Kakita based on one perfect strike will probably lose to your stereotypical Hida tank, who will get beaten by an Honour monkey Akodo, who will lose to the Kakita.

2. Shugenja aren't wizards. Except when they are. The magic of Rokugan is animistic, it doesn't come from the caster, it comes from the kami he petitions.

Relative power is hard to gauge, though. So much in L5R combat hinges on initiative that it can be difficult to say who is more powerful. I'd say a shugenja starts off more powerful than a starting D&D caster, but bythe late game is more or less on a par with a bushi.

Yes, they can out perform bushi for short times, they can out socialise courtiers too. And a high Rank shugenja can churn out low Mastery spells all day long with relative ease. But they are a long way from being as off the scale as their D&D counterparts.

3. Ninja don't exist in Rokugan. They are known to steal babies, drink blood and murder innocent people in the night. In other words, they are the stuff of legend, tales used to frighten children into going to bed. "Go to sleep or the ninja will come and get you!"

However, the School Updates (http://www.alderac.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=60&t=74716) have schools that fulfill the same function for most clans. Though the Daidoji Harriers school is only found in the unrevised 3rd ed core rulebook.

Personally, I think that they aren't thematically appropriate for the Lion and Crane in particular to have a full school dedicated to sneaking and assassinations and so on. A Path for military purposes, sure,. But ninja are an inherently political tool in my opinion.

ninja_penguin
2010-12-24, 03:02 PM
While I appreciate all the input, I see your links are for 3e. I'm messing around with (and potentially playing in) 4th, does this still hold true?

The Big Dice
2010-12-24, 03:17 PM
While I appreciate all the input, I see your links are for 3e. I'm messing around with (and potentially playing in) 4th, does this still hold true?

4th is new ground. There's only a couple of books out for it at this time. Enemies of hte Empire should tell you everything you need to know about Rokugani ninja.

HMS Invincible
2010-12-24, 11:20 PM
A couple points I need to say.
I'm pretty sure that scouting is honorable, but ME scouting is iffy. I'm a commander, but I'm only in a 5 man group.

Since when is a Unicorn clan skill considered a low skill?

Deadmeat.GW
2010-12-25, 06:44 AM
It is a matter of perspective and also of these Unicorn skills being restricted as part of a 'secret' school.

They would not teach you without some serious good reasons or even worse without you bribing someone to teach you...

The latter for an Akodo is BAD, seriously BAD.

Also, Earth 3...it depends on what your GM is like...
My GM does not pull blows and has the annoying habit of rolling truly ridiculous amounts of damage.
I have lost 2 characters sofar to a single hit (and that was even if I spend a void to reduce damage).
Both characters had earth 3, both had strength of the earth enough that I would be unaffected by wound penalties untill I was down anyway so it really depends on your GM.
If he rolls really silly amounts regularly like mine does you NEED earth 3.

The person with highest TN to hit was a Mirumoto bushi with 3 reflexes and he got hit rather often (in any combat we almost always end up having to get healed back up by the Shugenja afterwards and most of the time half of us would be on the floor).

I had a TN of 21 with heavy armour, defense 5 and some other bits an bobs.
My GM however tends to roll on average either just below 20 or just over 30 (exploding 10's for the win... :( ) meaning to not get hit as often you need to push over 30 TN for defence.
That is not so easy for a rnk 1 or 2 character.
Since we can expect to get hit quite often and his damage rolls are also very similar (earth 2 one average goes down to crippled 20% of the time on a mere 5K2 damage roll where you are completely useless, given that a lot of the time you tend to get outnumbered in combats in mass combat, where an Akodo is supposed to be shining, by equal level opponents results in very deadly fights.) so we would either not be hit and hurt or end up down or out in a single hit.
Kinda realistic but very frustrating :).

If you keep in mind also the little detail that there is an awfull lot of ways to ignore armour completely for the TN to hit and you suddenly find out that heavy armour is actually a trap (my current character does not use heavy armour, in the revised edition heavy armour is soooo bad it is unreal unless you get some exceptional armour which costs an incredible amount of koku).

EDIT:
This addition is to anything that uses reflexes or agility so your initiative is effectively reduced by 5 when wearing heavy armour, your attack roll target numbers are increased by 5 and so on.
Not good at all.

In the revised edition heavy armour increases ALL agility and reflexes based rolls by 5 TN and gives you 10 TN more for defence but as I pointed out a lot of things ignore armour (armour piercers for arrows, heavy weapons of specific types, called shots for unarmoured locations...) so you end up effectively increasing the difficulty for yourself and not doing much else.

In the previous editions in mass combat wearing heavy armour kept you safer in mass combat, now...not anymore.
Reflexes 3 if you have not got it to start get it asap, it is just soo good becuase a) if you strike first you need not worry about getting hit and b) you are harder to hit.
Getting Defence to 7 is another excellent way to make yourself harder to hit if your GM allows it.
7 Defence increases in the revised edition your target number to be hit by 14, combined with reflexes 3 you have naked 29 target number to hit (sadly enough my GM has ruled you need to be trained by someone with a higher skill then the skill you want to be trained to get skill increases...I have pointed out the obvious flaw that there is nobody with 11 skill so we cannot ever get 10 skill but it seems that is intentional :(.

The Big Dice
2010-12-25, 09:07 AM
It is a matter of perspective and also of these Unicorn skills being restricted as part of a 'secret' school.[/quote]
It's not so much that Yomanri is a secret school. Rather, it's dirty gaijin tricks. Conventional kyujutsu was good enough for a thousand years of your Ancestors, it's good enough for you! Or at least that's the Lion way of thinking.

And in a land where your dead Ancestors can literally make their feelings known to you, annoying them can have bad repercussions.


Also, Earth 3...it depends on what your GM is like...
My GM does not pull blows and has the annoying habit of rolling truly ridiculous amounts of damage.
I have lost 2 characters sofar to a single hit (and that was even if I spend a void to reduce damage).
That's why you spend Void to increase your TN by 10, rather than soak 10 damage. It's usually better not to be hit than it is to soak up a bit of damage. And if nothing else, you're cutting back on the amount of Raises your GM can take against you.

A handy way to ballpark your rolls in L5R is: every kept dice is worth 6, every rolled dice on top of that is worth 1. So an 8k3+5 kenjutsu roll would average (18+5+5=)28. It's not exact, but it is close enough to be workable. And if you want to be more exact, gethold of the probability chart.


I had a TN of 21 with heavy armour, defense 5 and some other bits an bobs.
21 with heavy armour? Did you have a Reflexes of 1?

Heavy armour and Defense 5 are worth TN 20 by themselves. Even in unrevised 3rd ed, they would be worth TN 15. Reflexes 3, Defense 5 and heavy armour should leave you on TN 35. 15 for Reflexes 3, 10 for your armour and 10 for your Defense skill. Check out the 3rd ed revised eratta (http://www.alderac.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=60&t=74716).

HMS Invincible
2010-12-25, 07:19 PM
Hmmm. So it doesn't matter what I deem is dishonorable, only what others/GM thinks is dishonorable. This actually opens up a lot of options for me. If I can get away with it, I will take the unicorn skill emphasis. Also, I'll ignore sneak/scouting and just talk to the Scorpion courtier more often.

Question, what do the various bonuses at rank 5, and up do I get for defense? It's the most confusing of all the skills.

The Big Dice
2010-12-25, 09:18 PM
Hmmm. So it doesn't matter what I deem is dishonorable, only what others/GM thinks is dishonorable. This actually opens up a lot of options for me. If I can get away with it, I will take the unicorn skill emphasis. Also, I'll ignore sneak/scouting and just talk to the Scorpion courtier more often.

Question, what do the various bonuses at rank 5, and up do I get for defense? It's the most confusing of all the skills.

When it comes to honour, talk with your GM about it. Maybe watch your favourite samurai movies and anime together to get a feel for what you all think is honourable and what isn't. Basically, try and get everyone on the same page about things. And remember that a Lion's concept of Courage is different from a Crane's. A Crab won't think the same way about Compassion as a Unicorn, and so on.

In L5R, perspective is often everything.

Here's a breakdown of Defense, taken from the 3rd ed revised eratta.


Defense (Unarmored, Armored) [Replace the entire text with:]
A critical Skill for all those who engage in combat. You add twice your Defense skill to your TNtbH at all times (except against opponents whose presence you are unaware of or while you are in the Full Attack Posture). While in the Full Defense Posture you may make an Agility/Defense roll as described in the Full Defense section of the rules (page 170). The Armored or Unarmored emphasis applies to this roll as appropriate. Anyone may use the Defense Skill unskilled without penalty.

Mastery Abilities
Rank 3: At the beginning of your first Round of a skirmish and after all Initiative changes have occurred, you may declare the Full Defense Posture. This is your Posture Declaration for your Turn.

Rank 7: You may now add twice your Defense Skill Rank to your TNtbH in Full Attack Posture except against opponents whom you are unaware.

Rank 10: You may now perform non-Spell Casting Complex Actions while in Full Defense Posture. Note: The Melee Attack and Range Attack actions are not Complex Actions.

Emphasis Abilities
Armored: You may ignore the +5 penalty from wearing Heavy or Riding Armor for the purposes of Agility/Defense rolls.
[Using an item such as a Warfan that provides an armor bonus does not affect which emphasis is applicable and such an armor bonus can be used normally even if the unarmored Emphasis was used for the roll.]
With a Defense skill of 5, you get a Free Raise when rolling for your Full Defense TN. This means you can add 5 to the roll. You would also be adding 10 to your TN at all times except when you take the Full Attack posture. You can also declare Full Defense when initiative is rolled for the first round of combat. It takes up your action for that round doing this, but sometimes it's worth missing your first attack to make sure you survive your opponent's opening attack.

Deadmeat.GW
2010-12-26, 07:54 AM
Sadly enough we do not get the errata so I cannot use that, i.e. defence only adds it rating to TN's because of the rather confusing phrasing in multiple places :(.

That would make a difference.
However not overly much without the expenditure of void.

My character had an average of 46 on my attack rolls with a katana...
My kenjutsu skill was 7, ring 3 and plus 13 from emphasis and school technique.

The GM tends to throw people at us with similar skill levels so I would face off against people with just a little less skill then me, i.e. 8k3 or 9k4 plus katana emphasis and school bonuses.

As for rolls... average of 8k3 without emphasis or bonus is 29 already so to reliably get missed would require spending a void point every time someone swings at me.
I only had 2 void sadly enough...
I was saving up to get void 3 when I died, I needed only 2 more xp (and given that my GM is a miserly guy for xp, 1xp a game session of 4 hours is typical and stat training requires training in a dojo as does anything else in his campaign which given my duties was nearly impossible...) and that would have risen me to Insight rank 3.
When you are outnumbered by 2 or 3 in combat against people who are averaged out in lvl against the party (there is 2 rank 3 people, 1 rank 4 and 1 rank 2...they min-maxed better on stats then me in the start of the game so they had a higher insight then me) spending a void on raising your TN by 10 for a round is nice but the odds are they will still get one hit in on me on average.

Edit: Ack, my TN was 21 with the new excellent quality light armour I picked up and 26 with the normal quality heavy armour but the heavy armour penalty to initiative, attack rolls, etc...was causing too much issues. Going after the opponents due to a 5 penalty on initiative and missing out on a raise due to the penalty is quite painfull.
My character only had 2 reflexes in the first place so with that armour penalty I was rolling 4k2 -5 for initiative which is pretty bad.

The Big Dice
2010-12-26, 12:18 PM
Sadly enough we do not get the errata so I cannot use that, i.e. defence only adds it rating to TN's because of the rather confusing phrasing in multiple places :(.

There's your problem right there. If you're using 3rd ed revised L5R, the book is a mess. The rushed it into print, so there are editing errors all over the place. Literally there are schools printed in the wrong clan sections, with the wrong name. Family traits are missing, skills are defined incorrectly and all sorts of things that make the game far more confusing than it should be.

My advice is to print out the errata and then show it to the GM. Go through the book with him, pointing out how many misprunts there are.

HMS Invincible
2010-12-26, 05:18 PM
I have a question regarding rank 10 defense skill. It says that you can perform complex actions while in full defense, but it says that attacking is not a complex action. Does that mean that rank 10 defense doesn't let you attack while in full defense, or does it mean that attacking isn't a complex action?

The Big Dice
2010-12-26, 05:33 PM
I have a question regarding rank 10 defense skill. It says that you can perform complex actions while in full defense, but it says that attacking is not a complex action. Does that mean that rank 10 defense doesn't let you attack while in full defense, or does it mean that attacking isn't a complex action?
Both. You can't attack while in Full Defense under any circumstances. Unless you're a Dragon and you meet certain other criteria.

Toptomcat
2011-01-18, 02:11 AM
I think there's also a kata that lets you do it under limited circumstances.

BadJuJu
2011-01-18, 01:45 PM
I'm not too experienced with the current edition, but I can tell you this: L5R combat is just so spectacularly deadly that unless you are a Crab in full armor all the time you cannot reasonably to expect to soak even one hit and expect to contribute meaningfully to a combat thereafter, and unless you are a Hare with maxed Reflexes then you cannot reasonably expect to reliably make others miss. Invest resources in going first. Insight and School Rank tend to be quite important.
Additionally, take care to learn the setting as well as the mechanics. L5R isn't terribly forgiving to those who don't grok the setting.

Monkey clan is nasty. They use to get Earth ring to like every roll. Its busted. Agreed, it's a very deadly system that can have your super cool ninja killed by a peasant with a ton-fa(really happened).

HMS Invincible
2011-02-09, 12:49 PM
It's been a while, but my group is back from it's winter break. I hope the mods don't lock this due to old age, because this is the only L5R thread and I don't wanna start a new one.

Can you explain why the rock paper system is the way it is? I mean what causes a hida tank to lose to the akodo honor bushi and yet the tank beats the kakita fast hitter?

Secondly, I just got my reflex up to 3, so now I'm actually able to use the bow now. It's not bad, unfortunately, I only have the smallest bow since I have 2 str. =\ Should I up my str, I'm too poor to pay for new/better equipment. I'm not sure if GM is being cheap or it's just the way the system is, but I've been spending a bu or koku depending on the importance of the lord I'm visiting yet I don't see any way of refilling my money. Well, except for armor/weapon smithing. I'm really tempted to start forging a sword and then selling it. If anything, it'll allow me to continue the bad mechanic of paying off a lord to not be pissed off at you for ignoring him.

Mark Hall
2011-02-09, 01:04 PM
It's been a while, but my group is back from it's winter break. I hope the mods don't lock this due to old age, because this is the only L5R thread and I don't wanna start a new one.

The Mod Wonder: It's all good. It's not six weeks.


Can you explain why the rock paper system is the way it is? I mean what causes a hida tank to lose to the akodo honor bushi and yet the tank beats the kakita fast hitter?

Not entirely sure, myself. The Hida tank will generally be able to take anything the Kakita can dish out... my group refers to it as "Crane Damage" because while they will HIT, they won't do much damage unless they throw serious void into damage. Thus, they usually get stopped by armor and ignored by the guy with the good Earth ring. For the Akodo, about the only thing I can think of is either he'll pitch a fit about being faced with weapons that aren't ancestral swords ('cause they whine when faced with REAL samurai), or that he's got enough balance of defense and attack to cause real problems for the Hida, who will hit HARD when he hits, but don't have enough to deal with a Kakita's multiple razor.


Secondly, I just got my reflex up to 3, so now I'm actually able to use the bow now. It's not bad, unfortunately, I only have the smallest bow since I have 2 str. =\ Should I up my str, I'm too poor to pay for new/better equipment. I'm not sure if GM is being cheap or it's just the way the system is, but I've been spending a bu or koku depending on the importance of the lord I'm visiting yet I don't see any way of refilling my money. Well, except for armor/weapon smithing. I'm really tempted to start forging a sword and then selling it. If anything, it'll allow me to continue the bad mechanic of paying off a lord to not be pissed off at you for ignoring him.

From my perspective, there's something wrong with the way your GM is playing. If you are giving gifts to lords, you should be getting equal gifts in return, unless they are specifically trying to dishonor you (by implying that your gift is beneath their notice). I'd talk to the Gm about this, and ask if that might not be something that a future lord would gift you with... especially one from your family.

Darth Stabber
2011-02-09, 03:15 PM
The contention that the Lion clan is the preeminent military clan was pretty much laid to rest in the war of the rich frog, the empire has 2: lion and unicorn, and I wouldn't mess with a guy refered to as "the Khan". And on the rock paper scisors arangement, there is a 4th option: Mirumoto. The mirumoto bushi is all about making 18bajillion attacks per turn, if you are facing multiple weak enemies, you want a dragon (or mantis) clan weedwhacker. They are about 1/2 between kakita and akodo in even fights, but they are an awesome way to mow down hordes. Having experience in just that, that is a way to consider. Now Bayushi bushi are the best at going first, since they have a free trade initiatives at the beginning of each round, which means in 1 on 1, they do go first, and therefore turn the kakita into so much red and blue ooze that your untouchables have too clean off your kimono. No matter how good you initiative tricks are, they only make the Bayushi that much faster.

The Big Dice
2011-02-09, 03:29 PM
The Hida tank will generally be able to take anything the Kakita can dish out... my group refers to it as "Crane Damage" because while they will HIT, they won't do much damage unless they throw serious void into damage. Thus, they usually get stopped by armor and ignored by the guy with the good Earth ring. For the Akodo, about the only thing I can think of is either he'll pitch a fit about being faced with weapons that aren't ancestral swords ('cause they whine when faced with REAL samurai), or that he's got enough balance of defense and attack to cause real problems for the Hida, who will hit HARD when he hits, but don't have enough to deal with a Kakita's multiple razor.
The thing with the Akodo is, he does ENORMOUS amounts of damage. Matsu and Yoritomo are in the same camp. Either from static bonuses or from things like The Soul's Roar kata. Adding double your Honour to damage, on top of Free Raises gets serious fast, especially with an Akodo Blade in hand. And yes, kata benefits do stack with techniques, unless they explicitly say they don't.

It tends to be, Cranes and scorpions are glass cannons. They go WHOOSH! And after they hit, they tend to curl up in a ball and beg you not to hit them back. Akodo, Matsu, Yoritomo and so on tend to hit extremely hard. They might not go first and they might not be the toughest. But they tend to smash what they hit. And then you get the tough schools. Best shown by the Hida, who can take what you dish out and then give it back with interest.

That's the theory, anyway.

There's also wild card schools. Mirumoto bushi, Shiba bushi, Utaku Battle Maidens and so on. They can often do funky stuff, and the tend to be some of the stronger schools in the game.

At least in 3rd ed.


If you are giving gifts to lords, you should be getting equal gifts in return, unless they are specifically trying to dishonor you (by implying that your gift is beneath their notice). I'd talk to the Gm about this, and ask if that might not be something that a future lord would gift you with... especially one from your family.
One of the hardest things to get across to people is that Rokugan is a gift giving economy, not a purchase one. And that can make for a samurai who never pays for anything. Ever.

It's beneath a samurai's dignity to bother with such petty things as money. Money is after all, something that only merchants, who are the lowest of the heimin, are worried about.

Instead, select your item of choice, then tell the merchant selling it how much the people at court are going to like it, and how impressed the local lord will be when he sees it and how you will be honoured to tell all the important people of the court where you obtained the item from.

If the merchant still wants to haggle, look at him like he grew a second head and then ask him, while resting your left hand on the scabbard of your sword, if you look like some commoner there to discuss petty matters of commerce.

If the merchant still pushes the issue, tell him to send the bill to your lord and then leave, bearing your prize.

And don't worry about upgrading equipment. You shouuld be able to requisition anything that you need, though not always anything you want. If you're a soldier and aiming to be a force on the battlefield, it's not unreasonable to ask for a suit of heavy armour, so that you can better serve your lord.

But mostly, equipment isn't a big deal. You've got the weapons you need, and many samurai go their entire careers using the sword they got at their gempukku.


The contention that the Lion clan is the preeminent military clan was pretty much laid to rest in the war of the rich frog, the empire has 2: lion and unicorn, and I wouldn't mess with a guy refered to as "the Khan". And on the rock paper scisors arangement, there is a 4th option: Mirumoto. The mirumoto bushi is all about making 18bajillion attacks per turn, if you are facing multiple weak enemies, you want a dragon (or mantis) clan weedwhacker. They are about 1/2 between kakita and akodo in even fights, but they are an awesome way to mow down hordes. Having experience in just that, that is a way to consider. Now Bayushi bushi are the best at going first, since they have a free trade initiatives at the beginning of each round, which means in 1 on 1, they do go first, and therefore turn the kakita into so much red and blue ooze that your untouchables have too clean off your kimono. No matter how good you initiative tricks are, they only make the Bayushi that much faster.
The Unicorn are a powerful military force, but the Khan ultimately lost. To the Lion, I might add.

Mirumoto aren't bad, they get powerful defense and lots of attacks. But they can struggle to hit Harriers or Shiba bushi. And everyone struggles to land a hit on an Usagi.

Bayushi bushi aren't the fastest. The initiative trick you mention comes from the Combat Reflexes advantage. Which turns the slowest Hida into a guaranteed go first in a one on one match. The fastest school, and many would regard as even more broken than the Mirumoto bushi, is the Tsuruchi Archer. Instead of their Initiative getting an extra rolled dice per School Rank, they get an extra rolled and kept dice per School Rank.

Bayushi are also slower than Kakita bushi, who get a solid static bonus on their initiative. +10 for sure trumps rolled but not kept dice. At least until the Bayushi is rolling 10k8 or so, at the high end of things. And even then, he's slower than a Tsurichi. Who can start out with Reflexes 6 at rank 1.

Mark Hall
2011-02-09, 03:42 PM
One of the hardest things to get across to people is that Rokugan is a gift giving economy, not a purchase one. And that can make for a samurai who never pays for anything. Ever.

It's beneath a samurai's dignity to bother with such petty things as money. Money is after all, something that only merchants, who are the lowest of the heimin, are worried about.

Do you insult the honorable Yasuki family? And by so doing insult the Crab and Crane clans? And, as the mother of the Emperor is a Crane, thereby insult the Emperor himself? Were you not doing so in the presence of my fine Emerald Magistrate friend, here, I would feel obliged to challenge you, myself. Instead, I will cede the honor to Hida-san.

:smallbiggrin:

I played a Yasuki once. It stuck.

However, aside from his slanderous and impious impugnations* of our great Emperor, The Big Dice has the right of it. Your only worry with the "I'm taking this nice thing because I am a samurai and can" is if that particular merchant has an arrangement with another samurai... but, even then, it won't result in too much trouble, unless the guy is already unbalanced.

*Just had a wonderful idea for a game. I wouldn't even bother to make characters for it, but you simply take everything said and try to turn it into an excuse to challenge the other person to an honor duel. Maybe set it up like Apples to Apples... one person is judge, and says something. Everyone else tries to come up with a way to turn it into an honor duel, AND who would be able to make that challenge. This is best played spur of the moment, with unsuspecting people.

Darth Stabber
2011-02-09, 04:34 PM
Bayushi bushi aren't the fastest. The initiative trick you mention comes from the Combat Reflexes advantage. Which turns the slowest Hida into a guaranteed go first in a one on one match. The fastest school, and many would regard as even more broken than the Mirumoto bushi, is the Tsuruchi Archer. Instead of their Initiative getting an extra rolled dice per School Rank, they get an extra rolled and kept dice per School Rank.


The Scorpion get a reduced CP cost on combat reflexes, and Bayushi Bushi get bonuses based on How much higher thier initiative is. The key with them is the faster the opponent they face, the better off they are, because they have even more initiative to steal. I had a character that had a Kata with a penalty to initiative so in 1 on 1 fights he would get access to a bigger intiative bonus, and I don't even remember what the kata does as a benefit (I think it was TNtbH bonus).

The Big Dice
2011-02-09, 06:01 PM
The Scorpion get a reduced CP cost on combat reflexes, and Bayushi Bushi get bonuses based on How much higher thier initiative is. The key with them is the faster the opponent they face, the better off they are, because they have even more initiative to steal. I had a character that had a Kata with a penalty to initiative so in 1 on 1 fights he would get access to a bigger intiative bonus, and I don't even remember what the kata does as a benefit (I think it was TNtbH bonus).

Bayushi bushi are immune to having Combat Reflexes used against them. They get no discount on buying it in the first place. And the bonuses they get from high Initiative are minimal. +5 TN at Rank 1, +10 at Rank 4. And ironically, they go first, but they get bonuses against enemies that miss them. A Kakita getting a Free Raise plus an extra rolled and kept damage dice for every 10 his Initiative beats yours by is much better off.

I'm not sure what kata you had. But kata are essential to making the best of the Bayushi bushi school. Which is pretty much a decent but not great Rank 1 tech, a reasonable but a bit lame Rank 2 tech, a useless Rank 3, an ok Rank 5 and the best Rank 5 tech in the game.

The best Scorpion kata in my opinion are Choking Air to buff your TN even higher, at the cost of two less damage dice and the awesome Blackened Sight, which prevents your opponent's dice from exploding against you. Seaon with Strike as Void so you can have both active at once and finally, at Rank 5, you're a mighty bushi.

You'll still be slower than the Tsuruchi, easier to hit than the Usagi, getting less benefits from what speed you do have than the Kakita and generally be a low tier bushi.

But at least you'll have cool toys.