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  1. With the rules as written, that is indeed the case. But it can lead to odd scenarios where you are using Trap against a knife thrown with Soaring Slice, but can't use Ward against someone trying to punch you in the face.
  2. I also posted this topic on Reddit, where there has been some discussion: https://www.reddit.com/r/rokugan/comments/7iurlx/way_of_the_dragon_makes_no_sense_aka_i_parry_with/ I understand the feel that this technique wishes to evoke, but it suffers from a number of issues. Without considering balance concerns, the technique seems very much written for "L5R people" who know about the Mirumoto and Niten already and don't need it explained. Further, I believe the way it is written allows for a bunch of silliness (some of which was pointed out in the opening post) that is unintended. I know word count is always a factor when writing techniques, and that the authors don't want to write something that looks like it was made for a rules lawyer, but even without adding a bunch of word count or making it look overly technical I think it can be amended for some clarity. In particular, please address these issues: 1) Should WotD be able to be used with natural weapons, such as hands, legs, and bite? Many people who freshly read L5R will see the Dragon have a lot of monks traditionally known for unarmed battle and may believe this is intended. Is this the intent? Perhaps my hyperbole of parrying with your feet was intended. 2) Clarify what sorts of attacks this can be used against. Thrown attacks? Can they be trapped? Can it be used against natural attacks that use the Unarmed skill, since the rules as they currently exist wouldn't consider them "melee" weapons? I think a simple answer to this could be noting a certain Range the technique works at, such as 1-2 (if you want to mirror the Range of Crescent Moon Style for example, another technique about using a weapon to respond to close range attacks) or 0-2 if you do not want WotD to inherit the Range 0 vulnerability of CMS. 3) Clarify how long Trap lasts. To be honest, I was surprised it lasted the entire scene. I would expect like most effects (such as "Striking as" Katas) it to last until the end of the next turn. This gives a good visual of catching your enemy's weapon, or throwing them off balance. Is it mean to be a status effect that lasts until triggered? Should the Mirumoto be able to put his swords down, do something else, take out his bow to shoot his enemy, and still get the bonus? If so, I think the word "Trap" is misleading and a new term should be considered, such as "Expose" or something else.
  3. Way of the Dragon (WotD) is a poorly written technique that implies a lot but does not clearly fit in with the rules of the game, and is not up to the same level of clarity and coherence that other techniques are. The way that the technique is implied to work, in the sense that a Mirumoto bushi uses their off-hand weapon to either block an attack for better defense or trap an opponent's weapon to set them up for another attack is a very flavorful mechanic that is fitting to the fighting style traditionally used by the Mirumoto. However, the way the technique is written requires a great deal of GM fiat to make sense of any situation beyond a Mirumoto holding two sharp sticks. 1) WotD works against "melee weapons." There is no definition of "melee weapons" in this game. While the Natural tag states that unarmed attacks are indeed weapons, are they "melee weapons?" The term "melee weapon" seems to imply an attack made at a certain range, yet WotD does not specify the Range at which it works. The only real definition of a "melee weapon" in the L5R 5e Beta is a weapon that uses the Martial Arts [Melee] Skill. 2) Does WotD work against say, a dagger thrown by Soaring Slice at a far range? Does WotD work against shuriken that are thrown? This is a good point because daggers thrown with Soaring Slice use the Melee Skill, while shuriken thrown use the Ranged Skill. 3) If WotD can work against any melee weapon, including thrown daggers, can I "trap" such a weapon? 4) Perhaps one of the strangest ways to use WotD, and a ridiculous example I decided to include in the title, WotD just requires that you use a "readied weapon." The Natural tag states that Natural weapons are always considered readied. Can a Mirumoto bushi be wielding a nodachi to fight with, and just Ward and Trap attacks with his legs, that are a readied weapon? It is my belief that WotD requires clarification on exactly how it works. Does it require that the Mirumoto bushi be wielding a melee weapon? Does it only work against attacks made at a certain range? If a weapon is thrown, can it still be trapped? I do not believe it will take significant additional word count to clarify some of these issues. Please do not bring in a traditional Rule Zero Fallacy with this issue. Yes, I do not think a reasonable GM would allow such immersion-breaking craziness such as trapping thrown daggers or parrying with your feet (though perhaps at your table, you might!). The purpose of this post is because I want the game to be the best that it can be so that it does not need to rely on case-by-case GM rulings. Any GM is always free to change the rulings in the book and no game can be perfect, but I think this particular school ability can be better.
  4. Using the Iaijutsu Subskill seems like a strange decision. Is the point to make dueling something only specialists should be good at? Seems strange that being a skilled warrior wouldn't also make you skilled at being able to defend your own honor. Why not just use the Martial Arts [Melee] Skill so that being able to participate in duels is inclusive and not an XP tax?
  5. One good thing about the Akodo School is that it actually uses mechanics to tell a story about the Akodo. The Akodo family are stoic, putting aside emotions and channeling that into pure efficiency. Converting Strife to tactical or combat prowess is a very fitting ability to represent them. I think other schools should aspire to have the harmony between mechanics and storytelling that the writers achieved with the Akodo School.
  6. The old Air Stance gave +1 to TN. The new Air Stance gives +1-3 to TN based on School Rank. While at low levels, where most people might playtest the Beta, this might not seem like a problem, at high levels Air Stance combined with Striking as Air isn't just optimal, it's a One True Path. Air Stance becomes better at avoiding Earth Stance at avoiding crits. While Earth Stance prevents Opportunities from being spent on crits, Air Stance does essentially the same thing by making your opponent keep all their successes to even land a hit, thus usually lacking the necessary Opportunities, if they even hit at all. Further, Air Stance stops crits from Heartpiercing Strike or Iaijutsu: Rising Slash, which Earth Stance does nothing to avoid. At high school ranks, Air Stance and Striking as Air allow someone to average a TN of 8-9 while still maintaining offense. This high of a TN often leaves someone untouchable. Worse, Air Stance makes combat BORING. Imagine two people who use it fighting each other. It creates a boring D&D-esque scenario of two high Armor Class characters swinging at each other uselessly forever. You can't even disable someone using Air Stance with crits that inflict a status because Air Stance usually disables getting hit. The counter argument I saw was that at high school ranks, Air Stance was bad because it was only a +1 and this didn't matter. That is mathematically not true. While explosions and Void Points can raise kept dice, even at the highest ranks characters generally keep only around 5 dice. Air Stance at high ranks reduced damage suffered by lowering average successes, and made it harder to be crit by making opponents have to keep more successes as opposed to Opportunities. Combined with Striking as Air, the old Air Stance was effective at all ranks. The change of wounds to fatigue helps answer complaints of the Fantasy that "I don't want to get hit in a fight" by stopping damage from meaning your character is sliced open. However, the new Air Stance goes too far and is 1) a One True Path and 2) makes combat boring and uneventful. I have seen complaints about Earth Stance being too strong, but while that could be true as well, the new Air Stance is a huge balance problem at higher ranks. Is this game only intended to be balanced at low school ranks?
  7. I posted a few days ago, and it says that my posts still need approval from a moderator before they're shown. I don't even know if THIS post is going to go through. I wanted to at least try in hopes that someone would see this.
  8. Who are the 2nd best archers in Rokugan? The Tsuruchi, of course! According to 4e, at least. Not the answer you expected? Why don't we look at the power of Honor and see if clinging to virtue is worth it. Our Lion Archer is an Akodo Bushi who has been dishonored and begins as a Deathseeker. It lets us do +Honor Rank to damage once per turn, and also +1k0 to attacks when full attacking at the cost of a 5 ATN penalty. The 5 ATN penalty won't matter much since we'll only do +Honor Rank when enemies are far away and we can't full attack with a bow anyways. Our young, dishonored Lion will slowly work to redeem themselves! Eventually we become a Lion Paragon (Great Clans page 140) which lets us double Honor Rank for the purpose of other school techniques, as well as lets us make melee attacks as a simple action though only one a turn. The second part doesn't matter because we use a bow. The final piece of this "build" (which is really just three things) is Strength of Purity Style. This is a kata that replaces the Strength + DR on a damage roll with our Honor Rank. This is also important because unlike most weapons, bows have a limit to how much Strength you can add. Strength of Purity Style lets us bypass that entirely. For review, being a Rank 2 Akodo Bushi lets us add Honor to the total of a single roll a turn (that isn't damage). We only attack once per turn, so that's where it goes. The end result? We have a flat +20 bonus to hit and roll 10k2+20 for damage (or keep 3 with a flesh cutter), assuming that we are able to pick ourselves up from Honor Rank 5 to Honor Rank 10 as a noble Lion warrior out for redemption. The best part is we never have to take Strength higher than 2! What does a Tsuruchi get? +1k0 with attack rolls and +2k0 to damage rolls using a bow, as well as making two attacks a turn. The +1k0 is inferior to our Lion's +20. Assuming our Mantis uses a Yumi it can add up to Strength 3, or 4 with a Kyujutsu mastery, that leaves us with 8k2 damage using a willow leaf. 10k2+20 averages about 45 damage. 8k2 averages about 23-24, but we can give them the benefit of the doubt and call both hits 50. So the Tsuruchi wins? Not so fast! You have to keep in mind, that the Lion Bushi has +20 to hit, while the Tsuruchi only has +1k0. I shouldn't need to say it, but a flat +20 is miles ahead of a mere +1k0. The other important note is that the Lion's kata puts his rolled dice at 10, meaning every 2 raises is an additional +0k1 due to conversion. A better damage comparison might show the Lion Bushi hitting once for 10k4+20 with zero accuracy while the Mantis might hit twice for 8k2 (though still has a +1k0 leg up on the Lion). This post is already long enough so I won't compare the value of the Akodo Bushi Rank 5 to the Tsuruchi Archer Rank 5. Also, despite all I said, no, the Akodo are not strictly better archers than the Tsuruchi. There is a lot that can be said for the value of simple action attacks as well as the "trick shots" that Tsuruchi can perform (though I will quickly note that our Lion isn't limited to using a bow). So how far can Honor carry your arrows? Pretty far!
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