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Razor-Sharp Weapons vs. Heavy Armor

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Personally, I'm likely to houserule Razor-Edged to say that when it inflicts no damage, its Deadliness is reduced by (some number, probably 2-3) and it loses the ability to spend Opportunities for additional Deadliness, and it can be restored when resharpened by a competent swordsmith during downtime.

I recognize that there's realism to the current rule, but generally I'd rather favor Rule of Cool over gritty realism in my games, especially with regards to an iconic weapon of the genre.  This way, there's still some downside to whacking something tough with your carefully refined ancestral weapon, but it shouldn't make players afraid to use the most commonly-depicted weapon in the setting.

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4 hours ago, YoritomoKorenaga said:

I recognize that there's realism to the current rule, 

No, not really. Parries are taught in Kendō/Kenjutsu, You parry with the side, not the edge. And actual hits on armor are not likely to do significant damage in a single strike, nor even a few minutes clashing; still, post-use requires some sharpening and oiling. Katana are functionally only slightly superior to their western single edge broadsword counterparts, and that due to better lamination of the steel. 

The most common damage source for even western swords was the opponents' shields, not the opponents' weapons nor armor.

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OK, I don't have enough background knowledge to be able to discuss that subject effectively.  Let me rephrase.

The current rules seem intended to evoke a gritty, realistic feel, whether they actually match up to reality or not, but that's not the sort of feel I would like to have in my games.  Reality and history don't always make for a good story, and I feel like some artistic license on things like durability and effectiveness is reasonable if it supports the type of story the mechanics are intended to enable, and if it matches up to previously established lore.

Regardless of its actual history, in L5R the katana is a very iconic and symbolic weapon, and so it's depicted in many different situations in official art.  I feel like, while a tetsubo might be better at smashing Oni and a yari might be better against massed troops, a katana should still be a viable option in those situations, even if it's not the *best* option, because that enables the players to create characters that emulate the actions of heroes shown in the art and story for the game.  I don't feel like the current rules for Razor-Edged and katanas in particular support that sort of play- as others have pointed out, it may make players afraid to use their Cool Sword(tm) lest it get broken by a bad die roll.

Perhaps there could be an optional rule for equipment durability, where all weapons gain the "damaged if you don't exceed armor" rule, and armor gets a similar one where it can be damaged if hit hard enough.  That would allow play groups for whom that's appealing to use those rules, while not mandating them for groups that prefer more cinematic play.

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On 10/25/2017 at 10:10 AM, AK_Aramis said:

You left out that parries are edge-to-edge... they aren't, even with most HEMA styles. You parry by diversion, not confrontation.

You parry by confrontation or don't party at all, in non-Japanese sword fighting because nearly everyone else in the world was making swords that were hardened on both sides. It's why in European conflicts swords would break, or fracture. Because they are not soft metals. They've been quenched throughout to harden them. A katana is soft on the non-blade edge and hardened on the blade edge. Therefore they don't break in the same way a European long sword would. They actually bend, warp, and fold over. They don't chip, fracture, or snap. 

Watch any amount of Kenjutsu videos where they wear the heavy blue armor. Those people are going right at each other. They aren't sweeping away each other's weapons. They are clashing directly, what would be edge to edge. 

Edited by LuxuriousRhino

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