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WHW

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  1. Indeed. Also, a note - with that high Air, even Water of 2 is enough to threaten a turn 1 Draw-Strike tactic. You go Air Initiative, add extra opportunity to your next Martial check, and spend a Void Point on it to keep 4 dice. Chances of getting 2 Successes and 1 Opportunity rolled are pretty good. A pretty big gain for 6 XP.
  2. There is also alternate approach of going for Air 3 / Earth 2 / Water 3 (+1 Air from Kakita to get airoverflow into Water, and +1 Water from the question). With Air 3 on Initiative, you can use opportunity on Initiative to get one extra opportunity on your first turn strike, making it much easier to land that telling blow. You will get more Composure and Vigilance, but less Focus and Endurance. Both Fire and Water build are pretty good both in Intrigue, Skirmish and Duel, tho they require different tactics.
  3. You probably want a technique that penalizes leaving range of your weapon. Something like: Face me, fool! [Kata, Close Combat] When making an Attack check with a melee weapon or a Movement check in order to get closer and engage an opponent, you may spend Opportunities in a following way: Opp: Choose one target within range of your weapon. Until end of your next turn, that character needs to accept Fatigue equal to your skill with your current weapon to move away from you.
  4. @Magnus Grendel The difference in wording is deliberate - you are supposed to work with the GM to slap a new Disadvantage on the foe - and by new I mean "not previously estabilished in fiction nor stat block". Kind of a Schroedingers Disadvantage. Spotting existing Disadvantages is something other things do, at cost of 1 Opp usually. The 2 Opp options are quite powerful - equivalents of a Crit, usually - and pretty poor Opportunity options is one of reasons why Earth Stance isn't that stellar to turtle forever in. NPC advantages/Disadvantages are deliberately open-ended, so it's OK to "ascend" a narrative detail like "Arrogant Prick" or "Old wound" into an Adversity. Note that it is balanced in the way that there is no point really spamming Disadvantages on the opponent, as they don't stack past cancelling Distinctions - the target will ever only suffer from one, minus some Shuji shaeningans. As for predictability, another strong point of Kakita is that once they hit Rank 4 (them and few other schools), they can start using Striking as Void to always pick Void Stance, miss an action, spend some Opportunities and shift to another stance and initiate new action, amongst other things, it gives them ability to do a 1st turn Heartpiercing Strike - open with a Void Crossing Blade, miss on it, and spend 2 Opportunities to switch to Fire & get another (different) action. If you got third opportunity somehow (from Air Initiative, for example), you can also spend extra Opportunity to reduce your Heartpiercing Strike to TN3. Striking as Void has neat synergy with All Arts Are One, by the way - in turns where your sword is drawn, you can use AAAO as opener action, spend Opportunities to shift to different stance and activate special effects (like reducing TNs), and then Strike. But then again, the "special gameplay" of bushi in general tends to be cramming out value from Opportunities and turning even misses into powerful plays - which is quite different from Shugenja "I cast for X turns and then make a big single action", for example. Again, Earth Stance is kinda bleak in this regard, because other Stances get powerful proactive Opportunities - Fire gets to attack Strife without hitting and thus conserving their own Strife; Air allows you to buff future rolls and apply Disadvantages to your foe (great way to model "figuring the opponent out", by the way); Water is able to easily outsustain Earth in both Strife and Fatigue despite having less total stats, and Void can buff future rolls & make you ignore Conditions. I like the duels and the combat, but thats mostly because they are game played as the game goes - you need to adapt to the gameboard and your opponent choices, and these are more important than your build decisions.
  5. @Magnus Grendel The big thing for Iaijutsu Cuts and Kakita, other than Earth/Air Stance drawing, is a very potent Crossing Blade opener from Fire Stance. It turns every dice symbol you keep into damage, allowing you a pretty sweet opening - usually anywhere between 4 and 10 damage in first turn. Overall, for Rank 1, Kakita advantage is access to Iaijutsu Cuts - Crossing Blade is great if you identify that the opponent is weak on the Endurance side, allowing you to relentlessly push for Incapacitation, Rising Blade is great if you identify that the quickest way to punch them out is to Strife them out. Both synergize well with Fire Ring, which Kakita family allows you to buff - so you can start with Fire 3, Earth 2, Air 3. That gives you Focus of 6, so you will be hard to persuade and win a debate with, and there won't be many people able to match your Initiative in duels, allowing you to save Strife on Initiative check and keep Opportunities instead of Successes. In fact, many opponents will have to keep aggressively *and* bid each turn to even contest your no-success lazy initiative keep. Your starting Composure of 6 is a weak spot that you ought to cover quickly by buying up that Water to 2, but it doesn't make you unplayable, especially not against chargen-appropriate challenges. The trick, in general, is to go very aggressive when keeping Strife if you are aiming at Incapacitation victory condition - that Crossing Blade will give you a headstart. Like, you could potentially one shout yourself with it, to put it in a perspective. When aiming at Finishing Blow victory, you actually can keep no successes and strife at all (!) until you get it to trigger. Fire Opportunities offer great efficiency in applying Strife - 1 Opp for 2 Strife per check, then 2 Opp for another 2 if opponent targets you. This allows you to start the Strife game early, giving the opponent 2 Strife in initiative, another 2 Strife from your own action of any kind, and if you had that sweet 3 Opp keep hand, another 2 if they try to hit you, so anywhere between 4-6 Strife in opening turn. And if they *do* take a swing at you, it is very tempting to hit-to-Crit the attack - Fire Stance is pretty good at managing Crits, but it also opens up another chance to ping the opponent with even more Strife. Note this strategy doesn't require you to actually hit the opponent or succeed at checks, so you can conserve Strife gain from checks to the efficient minimum. You also get nice starting Endurance, so if you go this route, you actually can tank about 2 or 3 hits + the one you Voided. The Incapacitation Route might consider going for Air Initiative instead, and for a good reason - one Opp on Air will give you kept Opportunity on your next martial check (so if you are doing a Fire Crossing Blade, that is another +1 Damage), and 2 Opportunity can stick an Disadvantage on the opponent. Pick a proper one, and you just became a mini-Mirumoto, forcing the opponent to reroll 2 on their attack checks. Technically you could also probably pick some sort of Anxiety to make them Strife themselves out...but I don't think NPCs are designed to function with Anxieties, so I don't think this is a kosher tactic. At Rank 2 you lose your advantage of privelieged access to Iaijutsu abilities, but you also gain access to Lady Doji's Decree, which "cast" correctly can prevent an opponent from performing their Finishing Blow. Kakita are good at duels. Not necessarily due to their School Ability - which is still good in duels and skirmishes - but overall due to their starting kit being a good dueling kit. EDIT Note that also due to their ability to both land the first hit and to generate higher crit than others, they tend to grab the points on the victory table for hitting first and getting biggest crit.
  6. Hai has plenty of culture infused into it. It is less of direct "yes" and more of a "polite affirmation of whatever was just said" - it can be "yes", it can be "no", it can be "I agree", it can be "That is true", and so on. It is also quite polite, so just like honorifics, it reflects the status dynamics between the people involved and the degrees of respect floating there.
  7. Momentum Points scale bad for successes - you get one point for meeting the TN, and then one point for every two bonus successes. Usually it's more efficient to either keep conservatively and minimize Strife received from it, or dedicate extra kept dice to Opportunities - and thus Shuji.
  8. Kakita are great all around, yeah. They make for great magistrates and yoriki - the title ability of Yoriki is legit terryfing in hands of Kakita, as they have quite easy time critting you into a Wound and then just reverting you back into the wounded stance with Open Palm Style. They also are great unarmed fighters, as their unarmed attacks are one of the only that have legit threat behind them in form of Crits. They also make quite good heavy weapons users, as heavy weapons normally suffer from the fact that they are easily turned off by spending a Void to transfer their hit into a crit - Kakita make it a really bad idea, as either way you are pucked. If the 7-8 Crit band was better and less reliant on narrative consequences for immediate benefits, they would be a real terror.
  9. WHW

    Strife as XP

    Strife as XP would need a lot of mathing out to make for a good ratio (1:1 is way too high). But you could compose a checklist of " group objectives" that give XP at end of the session if checked - and one of them could be "Unmasked during a scene" (and one other probably could be "Exited a scene when Compromised to avoid Unmasking", to reward both playstyles). Obviously, each deed should give only 1 xp, even if achieved multiple times.
  10. Wargear only causes extra Strife to "another" character. You yourself are not suffering it from your own actions.
  11. Most combat NPCs also will sport a combat related Advantage, which matters quite a lot, depending on how the GM rules it - the Ward is not a Disadvantage per se, so it won't cancel out the Advantage; the strict reading would be that 4 rank Mirumoto Warding against Advantage-wielding foe would get to assign total of 6 rerolls spread over 2 effects (so you could overlap it and reroll 2 dice twice) - which should on average get you about 3 successes and an explosion. I can see a lot of GMs (and we do that for quickness sake) using the Advantage vs Disadvantage rules for it, making the final reroll 2 instead of 4 or 6, making the Advantage cancel 2 dice worth of rerolls as it would do with a Disadvantage. Either way, the ability isn't as oppressive as it looks on paper - it mostly leads to normalizing the results, so it can possibly save you from outlier blow out kept hand like full suite of explosions, but unless you are fighting against someone either incompetent or you are stacking TN debuffs (Air Stance, Wounds, Dazed), it wont really generate many misses. This is mostly a consequence of 2TN Strikes - good fighters will suffer from excess of successes, and will use them to protect their Explosions and will actually enjoy potential conversion of Successes to Opportunities. Ward might be quite effective if the NPCs start getting high TN special attacks similar to Heartpiercing Strike, but the trend currently seems to be giving NPCs powerful opportunity options, like that gaijin captains "Damage the opponent and then run away 2 range bands" ability, and non-checks special actions like "Get them Fools!" or Oni's bellow (which also are good ways to skip a turn to remove Dazed and play around Coiling Serpents). From our experience, the powerful part of Mirumoto was definitely the Trap ability, though in the end, we ended up feeling that Kakita was simply more practical due to being more proactive and enabling a lot of different tactics by pushing up certain weapon choices into really attractive stat setups. The defining Mirumoto power play is the Trap followed up by Heartpiercing Strike...which is cool, but you need to note that you are doing it with one-handed grip katana (so the TN you just reduced will be spent catching up to what a 2h crit would be anyway). Mirumoto is nice, but TBH in practice Kakita, Akodo and Shiba all felt more useful and versatile than the "please hit me so I can activate my special ability" Mirumoto.
  12. The thing about the massive reroll is that it is the most effective when you need to take exactly 1 success down to make the opponent miss. At higher ranks, the sheer volume of reroll is as likely to help the opponent as it is to hinder them - they are going to be ending up with excess successes anyway, and at this point you are approaching the critical mass of rerolls where you are quite likely to gift them a crit or explosion as you are to make them miss. A lot of its effectiveness also depends on the Opportunity abilities available to a given NPC.
  13. They are different Intrigue goals. Appeal to a person/group is particularly dangerous, because it can be used to make someone start supporting an idea, or at the very worst make them stop arguing against it for the rest of the Intrigue. Low Focus characters can be easily shouted down and stopped from pursuing goals, making them easy targets to shut down. You
  14. Remember that the Momentum Points needed to win a Persuade Intrigue goal use Focus as a base. Air/Fire Courtier might be in risk of Unmasking (making them vulnerable to Discredit goal), but they definitely are hard to outdebate and persuade. Fire 3 Air 3 starts you with 6 Focus, which is 6 successful persuasion checks to crack, minus 1 per two bonus successes - and getting bonus successes against Air Stance is a pain in the ***. High Composure Earth Water person might be hard to discredit, but with Air 1/Fire 1 start, you get Focus of 2. That's 2 checks, or 1 with two bonus successes.
  15. For majority of these, just treat them as a persuade social objective in intrigue. Success will get you a momentum point or two.
  16. If you want characters that are inherently magically gifted, I suggest giving them ability to purchase one Kiho per rank. While Invocations are basically begging Kami to do you favors, Kiho are the closest in the setting you get to "power from within". They also allow for really interested and colorful builds; playing non-monk characters with access even to just 5 kiho over their career will generate a really unique experience.
  17. I considered making Predict and Center something you can pay Strife during Staredown to do, so there is still something interesting to the phase even if the Initiative values are too different for it to matter.
  18. Note that Spinning Blades don't require you to actually succeed on the attack. It's a great way of hitting despite missing.
  19. in fact, if you didn't pick up enough, it won't go away at all.
  20. Note though that Assist action has all possible action types other than movement, making it only possible to Assist out of Water Stance if you spend your primary action on Manuever or other pure-movement action with no Attack, Scheme or Support type.
  21. Calming Breath, check-less Manuever, Courtier's Resolve, Warrior's Resolve, Tonfa's special ability, handling "Prepare" part of certain items, drawing or sheating weapons.
  22. Or a custom Conflict scene of the "human versus nature" variation, where Suffocation is one of environmental hazards to defeat.
  23. Majority of the beginners game deal is physical bling. I don't expect it to make to the PDF for this very reason.
  24. Its not that much out of a Crossing Blade in turn 1, especially if you went with Fire Stance - iaijutsu duels permit only Ceremonial Robes, so only 1 physical resistance. Fire Crossing Blade turns every result you keep into damage - Successes by virtue of Bonus Successes, Strife by virtue of Fire Stance Bonus, and Opportunities by virtue of Razor Edged Opportunity to increase Deadliness, which Crossing Blade uses to calculate dealt Damage. This gets ultra nasty if you opened with Air Initiative to get free kept Opportunity dice, or if you opened with Void to make it a TN1 check. And at Rank 4, you can absolutely ***-blast opponents into incapacicated this way in a single turn, by doing Crossing Blade-->Disappearing World Style-->Spinning Blades Style [a kick is fine here, but a concealable weapon like a tessen is even better] Nuking the fool for double digits Fatigue for a low, low price of 2 successes and 2 opportunities.
  25. Remember these scenes in cinema where two rivals are putting on a friendly front and agreeing for a joyous little competition/bet, being so sweet and nice to each other that their teeth are about to crack, air is vibrating and cracking from electricity from their poorly concealed ALPHA EGO CLASH!, and pretty much everyone seeing it know that under the thin facade of friendly words all there really is is the desire to one up each other? "Great, they are at it again..." This is the sort of stuff I can imagine as a viable "DUEL!!" Unmasking. And TBH from this moment on I'm happily extending it to all sort of contests, starting with "I CAN DRINK YOU UNDER THE TABLE, YOU GIMP", through "Naked steel, now, behind the dojo, gimp", ending at "How about a little bet? If I win, your yoriki will work for me for a week, if I lose, well, your choice". I think it really, really reinforces the competitive nature inherent in the Bushi and Samurai job description.
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