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Kakita Onimaru

Iaijutsu seems pointless

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Of course the Crane would comment on this....

 

So, all it seems to do is +1 katana damage and +1 range band. Yes it draws a weapon and instantly strikes, but readying weapons is done for free when you set your stance. All of this is on top of the penalties I get for not having a sword equipped prior to my attack (fewer defensive options.)

is there a synergy I am missing here?

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Yes, Putting the sword back on the saya (like in 1st ed) cost 2 opportunities, so you have to choose, critical strike or looking cool? Considering that Kakita Bushi's earn benefits to critical strikes. I know what would be my choice.

Duels are one versus one battle, not iaijutsu duels on this edition, they are not first to strike win, like in the past. And basically the only way that i see Iaijutsu becoming something nice for Crane characters, is if they make a exclusive iaijutsu technique to the Crane that is mechanically good.  Even if, lets say, a Kakita bushi would apply his school rank to the severity of the katana in an iaijutsu strike (Right now, he doesnt), i would still prefer striking as air or another more defensive action instead of more damage.

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You can only draw or stow a single weapon at the start of your turn, so if you use this you can potentially Stow (a bow?), Draw(Katana?), Attack, Draw(Wakizashi) a second weapon all in a single round.

 

Alternatly it may be used as part of a Narrative encounter as a display of Swordsmanship to Draw, Strike and Sheath in a single motion.

 

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Is stowing a katana the same as sheathing it (i would say yes)

In water stance you  can stow / sheath your katana p 154 
As part of setting a stance, a character may ready or stow one item or weapon and set the grip with which they are wielding it
 

3 hours ago, Kakita Onimaru said:

All of this is on top of the penalties I get for not having a sword equipped prior to my attack (fewer defensive options.)

Where is this , i did not remember this

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I'm not entirely adverse to the toning down of Iaijutsu (and Kakita Bushi is what I'm going to be testing with). I do feel an issue in the past was that Kakita duelists were too good to the point of making everyone else pointless. I am glad that they are toned down though do wish that Iaijutsu did more, especially considering everyone can have it now so it's not imbalancing.

Duels however have always been very hard to realise in game and I suspect this is an area that will take a fair bit of work to evoke the gravity and importance that all coalesce into a single blink fast strike.

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Iaijutsu is little weird. Your best use for it is when katana is your secondary weapon, or when you have your hands full with something else.

Example:
You are a Naginata wielding Hotarustorm. A jerk moves into your Range 1 and somehow prevents you from moving away. He laughs. You can drop/draw only one weapon per turn! If you drop naginata, you cant fight! 

Iaijutsu allows you to drop the naginata, cut the dude, and laugh.

 

If you are Mirumoto with two weapons, you get the flexibility of being able to use your Katana two handed when you are going for crits, and use iaijutsu to stab people with your secondary weapon (and probably trigger Ambidexterous bonus for it) when you want to go for damage. Iaijutsu Spinning Blades combination can make some nice damage boost. 

 

Some GMs might say that if your hands are full using other items, you might have to need them dropped in order to grab your weapon. Iaijutsu helps you with that too.

 

But in general, Iaijutsu would probably scale better if it checked for Severity of the potential crits instead of deadliness. 

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Iaijutsu also allows you to attack an opponent at range up to 2, so your katana functions like a naginata for one turn, and your knives are randomly super long. Overall, lots of small bonuses, hard to judge it.

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19 minutes ago, WHW said:

You are a Naginata wielding Hotarustorm. A jerk moves into your Range 1 and somehow prevents you from moving away. He laughs. You can drop/draw only one weapon per turn! If you drop naginata, you cant fight! 

Quote

As part of setting a stance, a character may ready or stow one item or weapon and set the grip with which they are wielding it (see page 143). A character may also drop any number of items on the ground

If you just drop the polearm, you can draw the sword as your 'free ready'.

The only mechanical advantage I can see with Iaijustu (aside from looking darn cool) is that it lets you strike at range 2 with a range 1 weapon (drat! @WHW - Shinobi-ed!:ph34r:). Which is actually irrelevant in a duel, because you're considered to be at whatever range is required once the duel has formally begun:

Quote

During duels, players should feel free to narrate how their characters are moving as they vie for position, feint, and sideslip unexpectedly. However, ranges and specific maneuvering are tracked as follows: at the start of the duel, the characters move to range 2 from each other. For the duration of the duel, each character is considered to be in range of all of their opponent’s weapons and techniques. At the end of the duel, the two characters once again move to range 2 from each other.

If you could do something else with the 'set stance' freebie...maybe. 

As an extra annoyance, you are also tied (for good reason) into a one-handed grip, making it less likely that you'll land a killing blow

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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If you remove the Wargear weapons from the list Iaijutsu turns Razor-Edged weapons into some of the best "Civilian" weapons. Don't discount the fact that Iaijutsu makes the Katana, Wakazashi, Chukuto and Scimatar into 5/5 weapons and the Knife into a 4/4.

Looking over the technique and weapon lists I'm pretty certain that a bunch of Kata and Weapons are missing. There are likely advanced Kata that are triggered off of Iaijutsu attacks planned for.

I would not be surprised if the Nodachi has a stat line like this to allow Iaijutsu on the battlefield:

Nodachi / Martial Arts [Melee] / 1 / 5 / 7 / 1-handed: Cumbersome  2-handed: - / Ceremonial, Razor-Edged, Wargear / 8 / XX koku

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1 hour ago, WHW said:

Is dropping items free? I assumed that it falls under the "set stance, draw/stow item" rule as a form of stowing. 

According to the 'set your stance' bit on page 154, as long as you're just dropping them not stowing them 'properly', you can drop any number of items.

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5 hours ago, Bazakahuna said:

I'm not entirely adverse to the toning down of Iaijutsu (and Kakita Bushi is what I'm going to be testing with). I do feel an issue in the past was that Kakita duelists were too good to the point of making everyone else pointless. I am glad that they are toned down though do wish that Iaijutsu did more, especially considering everyone can have it now so it's not imbalancing.

Duels however have always been very hard to realise in game and I suspect this is an area that will take a fair bit of work to evoke the gravity and importance that all coalesce into a single blink fast strike.

I think that this is a myth, just like the "Peasant can kill you in 4ed!" 4th edition Kakita rank 1 just give you 1 void (+school rank that is a marginal bonus that may be important). So if two samurai go duel and both have Void 2, The kakita will have the advantage. After a while the arguably strongest thing they unlock is needing a +3 instead of a +5 to get raises or beat your opponent (Another small increase, that may set things upon your favor.) If the duel of this example was a Kakita rank 1 x Shiba rank 1, the only literal bonus to the kakita would be a +1 (since the shiba would spend void on the most important roll of the duel, the one that decides who strike first)

But you see, in the fantasy Kakita was the one that invented the Iaijutsu duel, the Kakita Bushi are the masters of it, Giving advantages to a Kakita Bushi in iaijutsu or duel mechanics should be a obvious thing. Right now they have none. And im not too sure about how good mechanically is increasing Severity based on your school rank.  Right now, my opinion is that it doesnt really fit on what i would expect to a school that, based on this edition fluff. "Dont ignore other arts but focus on iaijutsu" a Rank 5 Kakita right now is looking at severity 10 on a iaijutsu critical strike and a severity of 8 firing a  bow.  (Curiously, the 4th edition also made Kakita good archers, due to the center stance.)

And as of now a duel and a clash is the samething, except that a clash happens in the mid of a skirmish. Duels are not a Single blink fast strike. a Duel to first strike on the duel rules are there to represent practice duels (You dont even use your katana, by the fluff they wrote), the official means to settle disputes on this rpg is duel to first blood. Which is just two guys either beating each other or trying to frustate the other.

Edited by Mobiusllls
grammar

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My sentiments exactly. For the Kakita Duelist I was expecting a tech more akin to the Akodo Commander: 

During the Staredown phase of a duel, after you reveal your chosen number, you may remove a number of strife from your character up to your school rank. If you do, add that many additional bonus successes to your attack check.

Or something like that. Since the Dawn of the Empire they have dedicated to perfect the dueling art, just give them something that reflects that....

Edited by Nheko

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Iaijitsu should really increase your initiative for the first round of any combat in addition to the bonuses it gives you or at the very least allow you to spend extra successes on causing a crit.

As far as the Kakita scholl, I like the idea of involving strife and manipulating it during the staredown part of a duel. Kakita should be the ones trying to end the dual with a single perfect strike. Their school should better reflect that rather then just making their crits super deadly. This could of course be fixed with additional katas that are school specific, though their mastery ability is nasty.

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1 hour ago, Magnus Grendel said:

Oh - other thing: Iaijutsu does damage equal to the weapon's deadliness, not damage. For a katana, thats a 1 point improvement. For a wakizashi, its a 2 point improvement.

 

And bear in mind that the 2-handed stance gives a +2 Deadliness Bonus, so Iaijutsu takes your damage 4 Katana up to doing 7 damage, if you do it 2-handed.

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1 minute ago, Tonbo Karasu said:

And bear in mind that the 2-handed stance gives a +2 Deadliness Bonus, so Iaijutsu takes your damage 4 Katana up to doing 7 damage, if you do it 2-handed.

I wish.

Effects: You draw and ready the sheathed weapon in a one-handed grip.

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It's  still a nice improvement.  on a battlefield, one can assume a kakita duellist (the most obvious iaijutsu practicioner) will have a katana held doublehanded, but iaijustu gives you the option to unload a range 2, damage 5 attack with your sheathed wakizashi without having to drop or sheath the katana, the if you get two opportunity, sheath the thing again to 'reload' the attack and be able to be back in two-handed grip if the chance for a way of the crane finishing blow presents itself

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If i were a Kakita i would rather commit seppukku than dual wield. What if some Mirumoto see it and tell everyone?

But yeah, This is some kind of option to a Lion Kensai or a Mirumoto Bushi. probably more to the Lion, i think on the battlefield the Mirumoto would always be dual wielding.

And i still prefer a critical strike than sheating my katana or wakizashi, since i'am attacking the guy to beat him (i suppose).

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Since we can ready a weapon when we take our stance, the draw and strike part of the technique largely feels redundant, not that this is a poor redundancy, but the kata generally fails to make us any more proficient at Iaijutsu, or meaningfully effect our ability to perform in a Iaijutsu duel or tournament, an important aspect of Rokugani culture.

I don’t mind that anybody, even without the Kata, can participate in an Iaijutsu duel, in fact I prefer it, but I do feel like the technique should meaningfully impact such conflicts for those who take the time to really learn it. I’d say master it, but I feel mastery would be a result of learning and combining multiple techniques and abilities.

So I’d prefer the base Iaijutsu technique to impact initiative or the assessment phase, allowing us to react with greater alacrity.

Alternatively, Iaijutsu could offer greater agency instead, perhaps allowing an extra support action (Center, Provoke, etc) taken during the Assesment Phase or once during the Turn Phase, perhaps while taking their stance, with an altered TN for balance.

 

Adding a free support action to the Assessment Phase could make Iaijutsu duels feel a little more tactical, altering the outcome regardless of a single initiative roll. It doesn’t encourage rocket tag by offering a straight bonus to initiative, while encouraging us to tailor our approach to our opponent, ‘is she faster than me? I’ll Center in hopes that she cannot land a strike before me,’ or alternatively, ‘I think I’m faster so I’ll Provoke in hopes of throwing him off balance and create an opening for myself.’ School specific Support actions could be introduced through school abilities and techniques. 

Like others have suggested, perhaps the Kakita have a technique that can cause their opponent to suffer strife, increasing the chance of an outburst and thus the Finishing Blow, which would work nicely alongside their Way of the Crane ability (which I like).

 

EDIT: I think it needs to be clarified when characters can enter their Stance, I would think a duel doesn’t legally begin until both combatants have entered their stance, but if it happens at the start of each of our turns then that will be too late for the second person to act. We would likely lose some nuance to duels if this is the case, because why wouldn’t we strike if failing to do so means our opponent will both be able to take a stance and then strike us. Rocket tag. I likely deadly and dangerous combat, but it needs room for nuance and agency.

2nd EDIT: Divorcing the Kata from the strike also removes the the need to limit it to one hand.

Edited by Crimson_red

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