Hello guys, I wanted to know how do you rules the Craft Shikigami ritual because the rules isn't perfectly clear to me and my players group.
Lets get started with the rules coming from both books:
Imbued with power: The more powerful the invocations invested into a shikigami, the higher its associated ring values become. If a shikigami is invested with one or more invocations of a particuliar element, it treats that ring value as equal to the highest among the school rank prerequisites of these invocations.
The example given just after makes it crystal clear in a regular usage. I sacrifice a Rank 3 invocation to power-up my Shikigami's ring to 3 in a given element and should give-up some more invocations to improve its other rings. The trade seems okay, you give up invocations to gain a minion which can use them. Nothing gained, nothing lost.
1- Nothing specifies that you can't learn an invocation you can never succeed to use.
For example, your character learns a Rank 3 Water invocation needing a Theology 3 (Water) check to succeed. With 1 in the water ring, your character's chances to cast successfully this invocation are rather low. However, if you give it to your Shikigami, its Water ring will be 3 and its Theology rank will be equal to your Composition rank.
Going deeper in the concept, the infamous Water 1 character gives up two invocations from the same element, for example Path to Inner Peace (Rank 1 Water) and Hands of the Tide (Rank 3 Water). With the rituals, by the rules, its Shikigami can use its invocations with its own rings values but it is not all.
Restricted action As a support Action (instead of its action because the Shikigami and the Shugenja still have only 1 action), the ritualist may have the shikigami perform an action with their assistance
During Step 3: Assemble and Roll Dice Pool, if a character making a check receives assistance from one or more others, the character making the check rolls one additional "Skill Dice" per assisting character who has 1 or more ranks of the skill in use, and one additional "Ring Dice" per assisting character who has 0 ranks in the skill in use.
If you consider your Composition rank equal to your Theology rank, the ring used to cast an invocation by your Shikigami superior or equal to your character ones, the game mechanics make it easier for your Shikigami to cast it.
If we also consider the other benefits, the Shikigami has its own Composure value limiting the Strife tax on the ritualist and the "living invocation rules", this rank 2 rituals value seems really over the top.
Living invocation Once per scene as an action, a shikigami may perform one invocation invested in it without making a check. It counts as having 2 bonus successes and 2 opportunities.
2- Another case isn't covered by the example. What is happening in the case, of the "fast learning" of some invocations?
It is possible to learn faster some invocations marked with "a diamond" in the school curriculum.
For example, my infamous Shugenja with 1 in Water ring from the Yogo Preserver School can learn Path to Inner Peace (Water 1) at rank 1 and can learn Hands of the Tide (Rank 3 Water) at rank 2. If he gives them to its Shikigami, its Shikigami can cast Path to Inner Peace with a 3 Water Ring making him a decent Healer at the cost of only 6 XP (the price of the improvement from ring value 1 to 2).
In case of the Kitsune Impersonator Tradition, the situation is even worse because it can learn "False Realm of the Fox Spirits" a Rank 4 (Air) invocation at Rank 2.
Imbued with power: The more powerful the invocations invested into a shikigami, the higher its associated ring values become. If a shikigami is invested with one or more invocations of a particular element, it treats that ring value as equal to the highest among the school rank prerequisites of these invocations.
My question is about the text in bold. Which Rank is considered an invocation learned faster through the special School curriculum?
1- The first option is to consider the Rank as the one noted on the skill because of the text in bold in the following text from the core rulebook p173.
If a character must possess any school ranks, clan affiliations, role or schools, ring values, skill ranks, other techniques, or other qualifiers in order to purchase a technique with experience, these are listed to the right of its name. Note that prerequisites are waived if a character is directly granted a technique during character creation (or at another time), or if the technique appears on a character’s curriculum by name or as part of a listed group. Such techniques and groups are marked with a "diamond" to denote their special status.
2 - The second one is to consider the School rank of the ritualist and not the rank of the invocation itself to answer the part "the school rank prerequisites of these invocations".
So in the case of the example, the "Hands of the Tide" invocations is considered a Rank 2 invocations because it has been learned at the rank 2.
To summarize, the Craft Shikigami ritual offers:
- Virtual free rings values => offer an insane flexibility to Shugenja character without a big investment. Shikigami can be a really good Spy, a good healer, a decent blaster and even a fighting character with the weapon invocation lines.
- Improved invocations for nearly no price => the assistance rules is the icing on the cake
-Absurd powerburst: Shikigamis can abuse the Living invocation rules for absurd results. For example, Auto +2 success// opportunities with Fury of Osano-wo is equivalent to keeping 9 Dices.
Is there anything I missed about the way to learn invocations or a better ruling of the school rank prerequisite of a "diamond" invocation?
An official rules would be obviously the best but any comment is welcomed
Thank you in advance !