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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default L5R Build Advice

    My character just died in glorious combat versus dishonorable spider ninjas, so I need a new one. We actually lost 2 people so the other guy made a Crab courtier.
    I was going to become a Crane courtier and just chitchat, but then I thought about how to contribute to combat. That got me thinking, how good is Iajitsu in normal combat? The crane courtiers don't get it, but my Air Ring is gonna be at 3 or 4 so why not? Get my void + 1 ring to 3 and I'll be rank 2 with good skill choices. The interaction between crab and crane should be funny, but I am concerned how much the composition of our party has changed. We went from melee heavy(3 melee chars, 1 scorpion) to (1 dragon bushi, 1 scorpion, and 2 courtiers). Now we have just 1 frontline PC.

    In short: Go full courtier and ignore combat, or get a weapon and mess around in Iajitsu. I'm not sure if I can dominate the Imperial court but I'm not sure if I understand Iajitsu either.
    Last edited by HMS Invincible; 2011-04-12 at 08:06 PM.

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    Kobold

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    Default Re: L5R Build Advice

    rogue might be a better choice (assuming we are talking about d20 L5R). Good skills and decent at combat. Roleplay the more coutier aspects and you should be good in most situations unless you really want some of their diplomatic abilities outside of the skill. If that is the case the next best thing would be ranger though it may take a little work to get the skills you want in that case. Diplomancy can be easily taken by a feat.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: L5R Build Advice

    No, I'm talking about d10 L5R. =\ Man, I hate that book, really wish we were playing 4th edition l5r. That way, it would have some support and polish.

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    Default Re: L5R Build Advice

    Which edition of L5R? Yes, I know you said it's one of the d10 ones, but there's 4 of them, and build advice differs significantly between them.

    Also, what's the assumed power level in your group? What are people rolling for their "primary" attack rolls and damage rolls? Walking into a group of folks rolling 6k3 for their attack rolls with a Shinjo Sniper (rolls 10k10+75-ish vs a TN of 5 to hit, doing 10k10+900-ish damage per arrow) is a crap move, so knowing the group optimization level is useful.
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    Default Re: L5R Build Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by HMS Invincible View Post
    No, I'm talking about d10 L5R. =\ Man, I hate that book, really wish we were playing 4th edition l5r. That way, it would have some support and polish.
    If by support you mean there's a lone splatbook out and by polish you mean the official line from the company is "A good GM can fix it if he needs to." Then yes, 4th ed is a good choice.

    Sorry, I can't help but be bitter about a game I like very much that has fallen to the point where there is advice in the GM section that literally says "If you aren't playing like this then you are doing it wrong."

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    Default Re: L5R Build Advice

    In general terms: I'd look into someone who can do and/or take some damage. If you're looking Crane, I'd either play a Yojimbo with good talky skills, or a Courtier with ok fighty skills. Work it into your background... maybe you started as a second son, which means in your family line you were to be a warrior, but your brother died early, so you learned the other side.
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: L5R Build Advice

    3rd edition revised. Bleh, but on to the build. I was thinking about the iaijitsu duels, but is there a way to avoid my opponent choosing my weakest stat to roll for?

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    Default Re: L5R Build Advice

    If you are playing 3rd ed and you want to "mess around" with iaijitsu then you really want the kakita bushi school. You get use iaijistu in place of kenjustu all the time (the school gives you one rankin kenjutsu, if you take another you're a sucker). There is a way for you to prevent your enemies from learning your stats, but it is the 5th rank of the kakita school. I believe one of the mirumoto schools let you pick the stat you duel on, but I can't find it atm. You also gain courtier skills as a kakita, get one pretty high and use it to fuel The Empire Rests on it's Edge kata. That will allow you to do both and profit.
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    Default Re: L5R Build Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by HMS Invincible View Post
    3rd edition revised. Bleh, but on to the build. I was thinking about the iaijitsu duels, but is there a way to avoid my opponent choosing my weakest stat to roll for?
    Use your Raises on the Assessment roll to hide your junk. You can do that on a one for one basis. Also, make sure all your duelling stats are the same. That way it doesn't make any difference which one the other guy picks. Other than that, get yourself into the Hoturi's Legacy path at rank 3, but only if you don't mind either becoming a Doji Courtier before you get your awesome Rank 3 Kakita Bushi tech, or paying the horrendous Multiple Schools cost to get back to your original school.

    That will let you spend a Void Point to keep all the dice you roll on any Iaijutsu or Courtier rolls you make.

    As a Kakita, I'd be aiming for all my duellint Traits at 4 as the minimum. Iaijutsu 7, Defense 5 and Kenjutsu 5 as well. Kenjutsu for the Free Raise and Emphasis bonus, but that can wait until you're solid in your duelling ability.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: L5R Build Advice

    That seems like more than I want to put into iajitsu. I wanted to be a courtier and just dabble in the dueling part, but it looks like that isn't a good idea. I may just go straight courtier.

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    Default Re: L5R Build Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by HMS Invincible View Post
    That seems like more than I want to put into iajitsu. I wanted to be a courtier and just dabble in the dueling part, but it looks like that isn't a good idea. I may just go straight courtier.
    In 3rd edition L5R, the classic duelling courtier is the Bayushi. IIRC, the Assessment roll counts as a Social roll, so you get the benefit of your Rank 1 tech, the Rank 2 tech lets you blatantly lie about your Traits and at Rank 3 you go to the (extremely broken) Bayushi Defender path.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: L5R Build Advice

    Change of plans, big ones. First, life isn't fair, and I just lost 14 xp unintentionally, and another 20xp for sloppy bookkeeping for a total of 34 xp behind the other PCs. This means I'm still insight rank 1, unless I totally ditch all my skills, for another 3 sessions. Next, iaijutsu does not work in combat, at all. So those 3 ranks in it are worthless except for dueling, so I'm just gonna cut my losses and ignore it.
    My thinking goes like this: Nobody likes a crappy skill generalist, which L5R encourages. That's for people who are actually facing CR appropriate encounters( to borrow a D&D phrase). What emphasis or skills are best for courtiers. Are any of the courtier or etiquette emphasis traps or bad in a way that isn't obvious? I'm just gonna try to do nothing but get the legendary rank 6 in at least one of them and just ignore the rest. That dirty ninja scorpion and dragon bushi can deal with the petty stuff like combat or low skills.

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    Default Re: L5R Build Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by HMS Invincible View Post
    Change of plans, big ones. First, life isn't fair, and I just lost 14 xp unintentionally, and another 20xp for sloppy bookkeeping for a total of 34 xp behind the other PCs. This means I'm still insight rank 1, unless I totally ditch all my skills, for another 3 sessions. Next, iaijutsu does not work in combat, at all. So those 3 ranks in it are worthless except for dueling, so I'm just gonna cut my losses and ignore it.
    My thinking goes like this: Nobody likes a crappy skill generalist, which L5R encourages. That's for people who are actually facing CR appropriate encounters( to borrow a D&D phrase). What emphasis or skills are best for courtiers. Are any of the courtier or etiquette emphasis traps or bad in a way that isn't obvious? I'm just gonna try to do nothing but get the legendary rank 6 in at least one of them and just ignore the rest. That dirty ninja scorpion and dragon bushi can deal with the petty stuff like combat or low skills.
    It looks to me like you're approaching the game thinking in D&D terms. That's a huge mistake with L5R, which has nothing much in common with D&D. For one thing, forget about Insight Rank. It's nice, but the fact is I can make a character that, if optimised for combat, will tear apart Rank 3 and 4 characters without ever threatening to reach Rank 2. The same goes for social situations, if I build for them.

    In fact, social skills are even easier, since all you really need are Awareness and Willpower 4, plus Courtier (Political Maneuvering) and Etiquette (Sincerity) at 5 each. Add Voice, Benten's Blessing and Dangerous Beauty and you're set to be a very strong courtier.

    It's tempting to make the connection that Insight Rank = Level = More Powerful Character. But that's not really true. L5R is a skill based game, and if you approach it with the idea that Skills and Traits are important, but Rings and Techniques aren't, you'll do fine.

    As for Coutier and Etiquette Emphases, it's up to you to find ways to apply them. Most of them are very useful, depending on your GM and his comfort level with Talky rather than Fighty characters. The biggest trap in L5R is the one I already explained, that of concentrating on Insight instead of ability in your field.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: L5R Build Advice

    What's willpower for?

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    Default Re: L5R Build Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by HMS Invincible View Post
    What's willpower for?
    Resisting temptation and resisting the Detect Lies effects of skills like Investigation. Skills like Deceit (Lying, Seduction) are quite important. Go through the High Skills with a fine toothed comb to find relevant effects from Skills.

    The reason that Bayushi Courtiers from the Shosuro family are powerful right out of the gate is they get Awareness 4 for free. That kind synergy is something to look for when you're making an L5R character. The ultimate example of it is probably the Tsuruchi family and school. They start with Reflexes 4, can buy Strength 3 and Reflexes 5 with their starting points and begin play with a Tsuruchi longbow (easily the most powerful weapon in the game), a huge TN, an insane Initiative roll and a 9k5 attack.

    And then your GM will bend over backwards to kill your character, thinking it's broken. And he wouldn't be wrong, but for the Mirumoto Bushi at the table...

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    Default Re: L5R Build Advice

    Well, the Mirumoto Bushi is broken face-to-face. The Tsuruchi Archer is broken from a half mile away.

    Back to the original point: how to make a courtier effective in combat! The first thing that you should do is repeat this mantra - "I will never be as optimised for combat as a bushi of equal Insight Rank." While Insight Rank, as TBD pointed out, isn't the best yardstick for power in the game, it's the best one we've got. You're dabbling in the warrior's way when you pick up ranks in Kenjutsu, just as they're dabbling in the courtier's way when they pick up ranks of, well, Courtier. Techs support what you're supposed to be already doing - you'll have intrinsic bonuses as a Doji Courtier that the Mirumoto will never have, but he'll have a phenomenal techniques taught to him by his school that you will never be able to match.

    So, what do you do? Create the best support character you can. I played a Kitsuki Courtier for 5 years in the Heroes of Rokugan campaign, and survived some deadly stuff. Here's what I learned from five years of being a squishy on the front lines:

    1. Defense is your best friend. I can't stress this enough; it will literally save your life. Get at least three ranks of it, because then you can go into Full Defense as Initiative is being rolled. This will give you a rather high ATN, which will both discourage bad guys from attacking you, and give you a fighting chance against any that do. Almost invariably, my first round was "roll initiative, declare Full Defense, draw my weapon on my turn." My second round was "if someone's attacking me, attack them back; if not, then help out whichever bushi hit their attacker the hardest."

    2. Pick your weapon. Let's face it, you're not going to be a master of arms if you want to get far in the courts. As a courtier, your Awareness is going to be your prime Trait; your best bet would be to increase your Reflexes to increase your ATN as well as your Air Ring. At that point, you might look into getting yourself a yumi and providing fire support while the bushi close with their foes (or vice versa). Failing that, you've always got your wakizashi. It's only -1k0 from the katana's damage expression, so it's a great go-to weapon. Finally, you might look into tessen for two reasons. First, it's a weapon that also gives you a defense bonus, as it can be used to parry attacks. Secondly, it's a warfan, which occasionally might be alright to bring into court - so while the bushi are cursing the fact they didn't buy any Jiujutsu, you have the benefit of not being without a weapon.

    3. Pick your battles! I can't stress this enough - you're not going to outdamage people in combat with your abilities. You should be opportunistic with your attacks - demanding to face your foe as a bushi would is a great way to gain a glorious death. As I said before, let the bushi take the first round of attacks; that's what they're built for. If there is a second round, help out where you can. Be on the lookout to use your other skills in combat - maybe you can spot where a shugenja is casting from, or try to talk down a ronin who was paid to assassinate your charge.

    4. Make friends with a bushi. This is for one simple reason; he carries a katana, and you (Kitsuki excluded) don't. Inevitably, you're going to piss someone off with your words, and a duel will arise. Your best bet is to get that bushi to defend your honor with his blade. You're fortunate in that you've got a Mirumoto in your group, as they're one of the best duellists in the game. High-Honor Kakita Bushi have them beat at mid-to-high Ranks, unless the Dragon is trained in the horribly broken Hojatsu's Legacy school. Still, they're a great friend to make. Do whatever you can to get that Dragon on your side - if he shows interest in a maiden in a Fox court, arrange to find out her interests and give him the appropriate gifts. If he has a taste for fine tea, keep him supplied with the good stuff from the Mantis Isles. In short, make him comfortable, and when you really need him, call in the favor.

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    Default Re: L5R Build Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by The Big Dice View Post
    As a Kakita, I'd be aiming for all my duellint Traits at 4 as the minimum. Iaijutsu 7, Defense 5 and Kenjutsu 5 as well. Kenjutsu for the Free Raise and Emphasis bonus, but that can wait until you're solid in your duelling ability.
    The emphasis bonus really isn't woth the CP of investing in kenjutsu. You are far better off saving those points for raising things that matter more. Ettiquette and courtier can either one be used fuel the Empire Rests on it's Edge, and are just darn useful to have on their own merit, and are far better CP dumps. Know the school for mirumoto bushi, akodo bushi, and bayushi bushi at moderate levels is great since those three schools have always been the rivals of the kakita school, and are the most likely to duel you (if you go this path, ronin duelist is also useful for a point or 2). Besides, you are a samurai, you are supposed to be at least competant at a wide variety of skills.
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    Default Re: L5R Build Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Stabber View Post
    The emphasis bonus really isn't woth the CP of investing in kenjutsu. You are far better off saving those points for raising things that matter more.
    See, that depends. I use Rich Wulf's version of the Skill Substitution rules, because it makes sense. Unlike the confusing and Mirumoto favouring skill swapping rules in the 3rd ed revised book. Which means a Kakita is getting an Emphasis bonus and Free Raise based on his Kenjutsu skill rather than Iaijutsu. And that means that Kenjutsu 5 is essential ifyou're going to skirmish.
    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Stabber View Post
    Ettiquette and courtier can either one be used fuel the Empire Rests on it's Edge, and are just darn useful to have on their own merit, and are far better CP dumps.
    Etiquette (Sincerity) and Courtier (Political Maneuvering) aren't dumps. They are essential skills for any socially oriented character. Kakita and Bayushi bushi both benefit from them even without Empire Rests On Its Cheese kata being a factor.
    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Stabber View Post
    Know the school for mirumoto bushi, akodo bushi, and bayushi bushi at moderate levels is great since those three schools have always been the rivals of the kakita school, and are the most likely to duel you (if you go this path, ronin duelist is also useful for a point or 2). Besides, you are a samurai, you are supposed to be at least competant at a wide variety of skills.
    Know the School is a dubious skill. On the one hand it's ok, but there are far more useful skills to get that highly specific and situational ones like KtS.

    Besides, if you want to beat a Mirumoto, win Initiative and disarm his wakizashi. Take a Free Action to kick it clear. If you want to beat an Akodo, win Initiative then hit him as hard as you can, since he has no TN boosting nor damage soaking ability. And as fgor the Bayushi, pity him for his school has an ok Rank 1, a mediocre Rank 2 and a weak Rank 3 and 4 tech.

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