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  1. Yep. The idea behind a critical strike is that you find an opening in your opponent's defense/ a weak point in their armor and mess them up. An assassin with a knife can get a critical strike against an opponent wearing heavier armor and basically ignores the physical resistance. That's the trade-off for most high deadliness weapons- they tend to inflict less fatigue, but inflict more deadly criticals. While heavier weapons like tetsubos deal more fatigue, but deal less deadly critical strikes.
  2. I really like the drama of waiting and baiting your opponent into becoming Compromised, then going for the Finishing Blow. Accomplishing this via the Predict action as well as actively antagonizing via a Scheme action to inflict Strife seems plausible to me. The problem is that a Finishing Blow with a 2-handed grip on a katana is nearly always a kill since it inflicts a Severity 14 critical strike (Severity on a Finishing Blow = Deadliness x 2). Because the target is Compromised, they cannot keep any successes on their roll to downgrade the critical strike that contain Strife. So it seems like any duel that results in a Finishing Blow is almost a guaranteed kill. I'm going to show my players a duel between NPCs that ends with a Finishing Blow, but the winner only has her katana in a 1-handed grip (no chance to switch grips after using Iajutsu: Crossing Cut to draw it in the previous round). This still results in a Severity 10 critical strike that will permanently ruin her opponent's arm and prevent her from using a 2-handed grip any time soon. Just some food for thought.
  3. Just to throw in my 2 cents here. I was preparing to homebrew a version of the Mirumoto Taoist Swordsman for this edition, so I'm super happy to hear that FFG put one out. I'll still probably tweak it for my table, but....*shrug*. In the meantime, let me point out that Way of the Earthquake works with any Attack action....so if you're looking to make a monk who can kick serious *** with a bo and Martial Arts [Melee], Way of the Earthquake is one of the few kiho for such a build. The same should definitely apply for a Taoist Swordsman using a katana.
  4. This is one of the problems with this edition. Previous editions made it very clear that only bushi carried katanas and only bushi took part in duels. So an iaijutsu duel would only ever be between two samurai who wielded katanas. For the most part, I am continuing this in my game. Outside of an iaijutsu duel, the rules are much looser and non-bushi could participate. So you might have a Togashi monk and an Ikoma courtier dueling, but such duels would always be nonlethal. But I'm also allowing for rare examples of courtier's duels where they debate a topic and the mediator judges the victor based on points made, quality of delivery, etc.
  5. In my game, I came up with a houserule to deal with critical strikes not inflicting fatigue. Once a PC or NPC has suffered cumulative critical severity equal to or greater than their Endurance stat, they fall Unconscious. So if an NPC bushi with Endurance of 8 suffers two critical strikes, each with a severity of 4, he falls Unconscious regardless of having not suffered fatigue.
  6. There are a few reasons to use a bisento over a naginata. 1. The book states that the naginata is treated with nearly the same reverence as a katana and is created by the same weaponsmiths. Hence the Ceremonial and Razor-Edged qualities. So only samurai can use a naginata. For non-noble sohei (warrior monks) and peasant militia, the bisento is a solid option. 2. Bisento also has Durable, whereas naginata does not. Naginata also has Razor-Edged, which means against heavily armored enemies like a Crab samurai in plated armor using Striking as Earth, it may become damaged. So Bisento is a little more dependable against heavy armor at the cost of slightly less severe critical strikes.
  7. The Core Rulebook states if a character "cannot [defend against that damage], they suffer a critical strike with severity based on the damage source." Other voices on these forums have stated that a target cannot effectively defend against an attack/ attacker which they are unaware of. I agree with this and plan to use it in my own game. In this case, it comes down to the attacker equaling or exceeding the target's Vigilance trait. So a stealthy attacker must roll an Air+Fitness check at a TN=> the target's Vigilance. If successful, the next attack is a critical strike. Or perhaps, the stealth attack Strike TN must => the target's Vigilance in order to count as a critical strike. It all depends on how you want it to play at your table since the book is ambiguous. But it makes ambushes deadly and ninja/ shinobi deadly and effective and terrifying....as they should be. There are multiple reasons that Rokugani samurai laud honorable combat and despise stealthy ambushes- the primary one being that the majority of samurai (aside from the Hida) have a pretty good chance of being killed by a semi-skilled ninja/ shinobi if caught unaware, especially while unarmored. When it comes to Veiled Menace Style, I think the benefit is simply that using that kata is the only way to INCREASE the severity of a critical strike (unless the weapon has Razor-Edged). And to be able to use it against a Dazed target, even if they are aware of you.
  8. For the armor section, I wanted things to just make more sense/ be more realistic. So I decided the basic clothing gives you no protection against weapon attacks and made traveling clothes the most basic form of protection at a physical resistance of 1. Otherwise traveling clothes effectively protect you from a knife attack (Damage of 2) unless the attacker gets bonus successes. That just made no sense to me. I also thought it made no sense for traveling clothes to be as useful armor-wise as concealed armor. Once I made that decision, I felt I should get rid of the physical resistance on sanctified robes as well (realism). This also makes concealed armor a more attractive choice now that it is the only armor with physical resistance 2. I also like that there is now more of a jump in protection when graduating from traveling clothes to ashigaru armor. The only other adjustment I made was to add supernatural resistance 1 to lacquered armor. I feel this is thematically appropriate since the description states this armor is made to look very attractive, represent the highest ideals of your clan, and has the Ceremonial quality. This powerful tie to the clan ancestors actually grants a bit of resistance to supernatural effects. I thought this was a neat idea and makes sanctified robes less lonely when it comes to resisting supernatural effects. As for the monk clothes, I explained my reasoning above (for the most part.) If shugenja and shrine protectors get sanctified robes, I feel common Brotherhood monks and non-shugenja priests should have more durable, less spiritually protected clothing to offer them a bit of protection. I hope that makes my reasoning for both revisions clear. (Like Avatar111, I feel the only adjustment the ranged weapons needed is to add Cumbersome to the horsebow and daikyu when not used while mounted on a horse. So I didn't bother making a sheet for them.)
  9. My primary goal with the weapons was to better balance them and encourage player characters to use weapons other than a katana and/or wakizashi. My second goal was to be slightly more realistic. The bokken is essentially just a fancy club devoid of metal, so I reduced the 2-hand damage. The dao is underpowered, so I revised it like Avatar 111 did. I think it has potential to shine in a dual wield build (probably ronin). For the zanbato, I simply adjusted it to match the errata. For the masakari, I thought an axe should do a little more damage, but followed the overall trend of the designers where only weapons with the Razaor-Edged quality get "Deadliness +2" when 2-handed. For the club, it did way too much damage for such a simple, cheap weapon. It should be equivalent to a bokken- a heavy wooden stick. The hammer was also just a bit too good for a generic tool/ non-weapon. So I adjusted it so that when 2-handed, it was more comparable to the damage of an otsuchi or bo. I also renamed it to "Mace" because it is the only "tool" on the list and East Asian cultures used maces in war for centuries. For the knife, making it Razor-Edged makes no sense. The book goes out of its way to say that Razor-Edged weapons like the katana and wakizashi require special smiths to sharpen. People sharpen knives with a whestone. Not to mention that 2-handing a knife is pretty awkward/ uncommon outside of old European dueling styles. For the bisento, the weapon is described/ depicted as being weighty and unwieldy...so why is it the only polearm that can be used one-handed? I got rid of that and made the stats more comparable to the naginata. It doesn't have Razor-Edged so it shouldn't be as deadly, but a heavy polearm should do better base damage like an ono. For the bo, it was simply too good. A cheap, basic two-handed club with reach should not be that attractive as a weapon choice. A part of me thinks it should be 4 damage instead of 5, but...we'll see. As for the ninjato, I based it very closely on the wakizashi, but took away Razor-Edged and reduced the Deadliness increase when two-handing. This and Concealability make it ideal for stealth attack critical strikes. It is 1 damage and 1 deadliness higher than a knife, which seems pretty reasonable to me from a balance standpoint. Before my revisions, you could make a stealth attack with a knife 2-handed at Deadliness 6 with Concealable. At least with my revisions and the addition of the ninjato, it's a little more realistic. And if a Kitsuki closely examines the wound, they won't recognize it as the distinctively clear cut of a wakizashi employed by a noble samurai. I hope that makes sense.
  10. Hello all, Here is my best attempt to better balance the melee weapons and armor in the game. I have attached an Excel document with the changes. What I have changed is marked in red text. I feel that my adjustments to the weapons are in line with the philosophy/ design of the various weapon types and encourage more weapon diversity. I have also added the ninjato because I don't think it makes sense for shinobi to kill using weapons that are easily identifiable as samurai weapons when most people deny that shinobi even exist in Rokugan. I feel that my adjustments to the armor table better reflect common sense. I don't think common clothing should offer any resistance to blows and I certainly don't believe that ashigaru armor should be only marginally more protective than simple traveling clothes. I have also added Monk's Clothes to reflect the dual focus of the typical monk as well as to create something for monks and non-shugenja priests to wear while travelling and performing their duties. I plan to use these in my L5R campaign and hope some of you will as well. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts as well, be they supportive or critical. Revised Equipment table.xlsx
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