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Mal Luck

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  1. Thanks for the reply! Sorry to hear that. Whilst I certainly hope that our group doesn't find that to be the case, if it is I still feel that from a theoretical stand point every class should level and feel relatively balanced even at higher tiers of play. Although every five ring system so far has been pretty rife with imbalance, this one seems a lot tighter. Absolutely. There are definitely a few Shuji and Invocations that provide teammates extra movement! Great when you'd likely be using them anyway, but I feel at higher levels, where the Utaku can not naturally generate all the range bands themselves, a Shugenja can have far more impact with their magic than providing 3 extra bonus successes to a friend. Definitely something to consider though. Okay, that makes a lot of sense and is wonderful to know. Wish I could have one in real life! That is probably because I missed out the key component, heart piercing strike. You roll your first heart piercing strike, and as above arrange to miss (which is easy, as it is TN 4), keeping opportunity spends to power striking as fire (making the next critical strike against them have extra severity). My simulations have been with four ring and skill (which is low-balling it for a rank 6 character), and it is easy to gain 3-4 opportunity this way. You then use Akodo's Final Lesson to try again at a TN of 1. So that first success gains you, with a two handed Katana, a 10-11 critical severity strike on the enemy. Because you're using a razor-edged Katana and heart piercing strike, any further successes or opportunity generate additional crit severity, and as you're in the fire stance so do strife symbols - which with Way of the Lion, you can double up into 2 extra successes per strife symbol (to a max of six dice). It is entirely reasonable to assume all four of the dice you choose to keep will contain at least an opportunity or success and a strife, thus being worth essentially 3 bonus severity each. So, ignoring the original one that you need to pass the TN1, you've generated 11 additional severity on top of the 10-11 the Katana was already dealing. Thus 20+. Naturally it isn't a perfect science as dice induced randomness can limit it, or spike it, but with explosions factored in as well as less perfect die results, I have found it reliably achieves these numbers in much the same way your above suggestion does via fatigue. Naturally this is once per scene, and a high level Kakita can, with fire stance, heart piercing strike and their technique, hit close enough to these numbers anyway every attack, but it is a particular powerful combo I found that required multiple synergies to pull off. The Kakita archer example is brilliant, proving that all Samurai should be versed in multiple fields and attempt to achieve perfection in them all.
  2. Thank you for your prompt reply and insight! Always good to get a fresh perspective. Agreeing with everything you've said, I feel you've hit the nail on the head here. The issue seems to be with my perception of the school, and my desire to create interesting and effective synergy within builds. Each power is individually very useful and open to synergy with other techniques, as Heroic Charge works supremely well with a Yari and Iron Forest Style for incredible range control (especially at low levels), and Sensing The Breeze offers interesting possibilities with Crescent Moon Style. But the focus shouldn't necessarily be on using them all in unison for a single devastating idea, as with other classes. As a quick aside, related to the above, what is the normal ruling on using two handed weapons from horseback? Feel in general it shouldn't be allowed, but also feel Yari (which are 2-hand only) make sense. To explain, I feel it seems underwhelming at level six compared to say, a Shinjo Outrider using Born in the Saddle with Pin the Fan or an Akodo using a combination of Striking as Fire, Akodo's Final Lesson and Way of the Lion to deliver 20+ severity critical strikes. Naturally both these abilities are once per scene, but they are both going to change an outcome of a skirmish much more than an extra success or three per strike. Or even to a lesser extent at mid tier levels, a Mirumoto or Kakita with Heart Piercing Strike, as the former makes it easy to pull off even at level two, whilst the latter makes it extra deadly. The Utaku Battle Maiden is undeniably strong as low levels, and 1-3 extra successes with minimal penalty is still a large boon all the way through. It seems that as you say, the Utaku Battle Maiden is consistently great in multiple regards and fields, rather than a singular specialist. Another issue I have is in part due to how Heroic Charge is worded: It leaves it open to the possibility that you should be able to achieve the maximum of your school rank, even in a skirmish. Which is technically true, if you have the right support from Shuji or Evocations, it just feels frustrating that the rules themselves prohibit the possibility without expressly forbidding it. Although I guess I should consider it a bonus that they leave it open to the possibility of outside help, or new techniques appearing later on. This makes a lot of sense. Have yet to experience a mass battle yet, so I suspect that in that field of battle you are right, and a Battle Maiden can shine in the same way as the above Akodo or Shinjo do in a Skirmish. Which is very thematic and awesome, a heavy cavalry charge should be devastating in the lands of Rokugan.
  3. Greetings fellow Samurai, I am wondering if you would be able to help me with understanding the Utaku Battle Maiden school and making an effective character within it. Thematically they're an awesome school, and mechanically they seem at first glance to be relatively simple and effective. Move, ideally whilst mounted, before attacking and receive bonus successes. Or whilst mounted in a duel or mass battle you gain full benefits.. However, things aren't quite so easy as that, as movement options in this game are currently quite limited and indeed restrict the schools bonuses massively. The following will apply only to Skirmishes, which are quite probably the main form of conflict you're likely to experience. Ways to move, that I can see: 1. Free shift every turn. 2. Water Stance giving an extra action, which can be used for another one band move - as if you roll your movement it prevents attacking. Or using a technique in another stance such as heart piercing strike that has an option for a move with opportunity spends. 3. If in Water Stance, can spend two opportunity for an additional range band of movement. 4. The Utaku School Mastery Ability, allowing you to move if you defend against damage. So, theoretically speaking, you are able to gain four extra success on an attack roll in a skirmish if you are first attacked, use the water stance exclusively and spend two opportunity. Which are quite honestly massive restrictions. The Utaku Battle Maiden advancement table, family and school do nothing to promote the water ring at all (although the Clan does), and if you were in the water stance, then surely a better use of two opportunity would be to cause a critical hit or use a technique such as striking as water, rather than simply move one additional range band - outside of situations in which that would be necessary to engage. Whilst I get that the bonus successes are pretty much 'free', if you aren't playing the above scenario you're limited to between one and three bonus successes per attack in a skirmish even at rank six, which seems pretty underwhelming. The primary factors or issues behind this seem to be that: 1. You can not both roll to move and attack in the same turn, as water stance forbids the second action requiring a roll. 2. Being mounted provides no additional movement unless you are rolling to do so. 3. Limited techniques that offer additional movement, none of which are in the water stance. Is there something to this school I am missing, some rule I have misinterpreted or are the Utaku supposed to be primarily mounted duellists and mass battlers? My GM and I have discussed this in-depth and cannot find a way to truly make a Utaku shine. Help would be greatly appreciated, thank you!
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