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datreus

How do you get instant kill crits from a Katana?

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25 minutes ago, Avatar111 said:

how would you do that exactly ? in mechanical terms ? how would the "best duelist" make one opponent strife out first ? (and don't mention predict since someone can just stand in void and let the strife counter goes up). also, it totally make the staredown mechanic irrelevant because a finishing blow interrupts everything so initiative is meaningless and you don't want to bid any strife.

i undertsand you want it to work narratively. but rule wise... its failed.

Void stance only prevents strife from your own dice rolls, it specifically says you can still gain strife from other sources.  I also searched through the rules on both void stance and compromise and couldn't find anything about standing in void and  letting the strife counter go up.  Could you reference the book so I know what you mean by that?  Because it sure looks to me from the description of Void stance that you can gain strife (and suffer a compromise) from things like Predict.

 

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2 minutes ago, easl said:

Void stance only prevents strife from your own dice rolls, it specifically says you can still gain strife from other sources.  I also searched through the rules on both void stance and compromise and couldn't find anything about standing in void and  letting the strife counter go up.  Could you reference the book so I know what you mean by that?  Because it sure looks to me from the description of Void stance that you can gain strife (and suffer a compromise) from things like Predict.

 

you cannot predict void stance.

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2 minutes ago, Avatar111 said:

you cannot predict void stance.

Thanks. So you asked how to be a good duelist and cause your opponent to strife-out before you do, there's one answer; spend your experience somewhat evenly on Earth, Water (for composure) and Void rings, so you can (a) stay composed at least as long as your opponent does, and (b) actually hit them effectively when the time comes for finishing  blows.  It's not a constistenly winning strategy for first strike duels to stay in void stance if that means you have to roll 4k1 vs TN2 for the one strike you get.

 

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1 minute ago, easl said:

Thanks. So you asked how to be a good duelist and cause your opponent to strife-out before you do, there's one answer; spend your experience somewhat evenly on Earth, Water (for composure) and Void rings, so you can (a) stay composed at least as long as your opponent does, and (b) actually hit them effectively when the time comes for finishing  blows.  It's not a constistenly winning strategy for first strike duels to stay in void stance if that means you have to roll 4k1 vs TN2 for the one strike you get.

 

the best strategy is hands down strifing your opponent with fire stance and/or healing your own strife with water or earth shuji. totally disregarding the staredown and bidding and the need for iaijutsu cut. pretty cheesy but that is what it would be for that type of duel. as Magnus mentioned in his rundown.

anyway, if thats cool for you this type of duel that are more about social techniques than martial mastery of the blade, go for it.

i fixed that for my game though. because i'd rather have fast, fun, one strike duels that do not rely on random rolls and opportunity spendings.

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3 hours ago, easl said:

Force your opponent to compromise first, which forces them to start a finishing blow

Easl, you've said this a few times, and unless you're phrasing it weird this is wrong. 

"The first time their opponent becomes Compromised
or unmasks during a duel, a character may
immediately execute a finishing blow. This is a special
action that can be performed out of turn."

Quoting from the PDF, emphasis mine. When your opponent is compromised/unmasks, they don't get to finishing blow. You just finishing blow them. If they execute a Finishing Blow because because you Compromised and they Strife out, you get to interrupt because Finishing Blow has a special priority. If you both Compromise at the same time, it's a simultaneous blow. 

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Other thoughts about duelling tactics:

  • Potato-Sack-Samurai
    • Is obviously the only way to win a duel to defeat or incapacitation
      • If it is a duel to incapacitation, remember the option to spend a void point not to defend - if you have a decent fitness score you might well accept a flesh wound rather than be incapacitated if you think you can win in the next round.
    • Is not a bad way to win duels to the death compared to strife & finishing blow since you incapacitate, render unconscious, then hit again with a +10 severity
      • Probably the slowest method unless your opponent has a very low endurance - Assuming swords and ceremonial robes (a 'proper' formal duel....) it will generally take 2-4 hits to incapacitate an opponent, but killing them takes two more strikes after that (one for unconscious, one for +10 severity).
      • That's theoretically 4 rounds you have to keep your strife in check if you face someone pushing for strife & finishing blow, which is a real challenge if a gifted courtier is poking you every turn.
    • Once a target is incapacitated you're largely 'safe'
      • remember a finishing blow is still an action - even though it's out-of-turn - and hence you cannot perform a finishing blow if incapacticated
    • We Both Missed Our Finishing Blows!
      • This is probably the approach most tolerant of this. Assuming you have a decent martial arts (melee) rank, hitting TN2 for a strike action isn't that hard even if you're compromised, so you can keep on whaling on the opponent until they fall over. You can unmask, but you don't necessarily need to if you don't want to take the victory point (and potentially Glory or Honour) hit.
    • Stances:
      • Unless your opponent is going for strife & finishing blow, fire stance is your friend, as bonus successes equal more fatigue
      • If your opponent is going for victory in this manner, air stance is your friend - increasing the TN may cause them to miss, and even if it doesn't it means fewer bonus successes and hence less fatigue.
    • Victory Points
      • Because you'll have inflicted a fair amount of fatigue, and been thumping your opponent from turn 1 (so presumably got 'struck first') you're going to have a nice chunk of victory points even a strife-and-finishing-blow opponent then beats you with a finishing blow

 

  • Strife & Finishing Blow
    • Probably the best 'to the death' tactic, and one of the best 'to first blood' if you treat it rules-as-written (severity 5 critical rather than the Bleeding condition)
    • Depends on pushing an opponent to compromised before you
    • Most starter samurai characters I've seen have a composure in the 8-10 range, which means strife from the staredown alone will leave you compromised in round 4
    • If you were taking 2 extra strife per turn from an opponent using fire opportunities, being compromised by round 2 is possible for lower composure characters, and definitely by round 3
      • Pushing someone over the edge in the first round is highly unlikely, though, which is an issue against an opponent trying to win by Attack Action Critical Strike, since you can't really afford to be in 'safe' earth stance.
    • Water does let you burn off strife fast enough that you could remain un-compromised by round 6 - especially if you also have courtiers resolve, and because (presumably) you wouldn't be using this stratagem if you didn't have a higher-than-average composure
      • If you have suitable passions you can employ (provocation? Wordplay?) with unique actions, these can really make the difference - 3 strife is a lot
      • Courtiers resolve is also powerful as a water free action, but does eat a void point.
    • Note that in formal duels, this is one of the best techniques because you can (if you're devious) arrange to poke your opponent beforehand such that they are not on zero strife at the start of the duel.
      • Note that this can backfire - if the duel ends up coming about as an 'honour challenge' unmasking, then the target will be on zero strife and your hard work will be wasted....
      • ....Although if they're likely to have someone fight for them (like a yojimbo), this is a reason to poke them with a little bit of strife whilst trying to actively compromise their boss.
    • We Both Missed Our Finishing Blows!
      • Bugger. Well, you're screwed, then, aren't you. This plan relies on the finishing blow to end the fight and frankly if it doesn't you're in trouble.
    • Stances
      • Fire stance is your friend - being the single best stance for inflicting strife on an opponent
      • Water stance is a tolerable backup, but waiting passively for 6 turns for your opponent to slip whilst they do whatever they're planning to do to win doesn't strike me as a great primary plan. In an iaijutsu duel, at least one turn in water stance is necessary if you lack an iaijutsu kata, though, to draw your blade!
      • If your opponent is doing this, then water stance is good - it's the best way to keep strife under control whilst attacking them and (hopefully) incapacitating or critical striking them before the finishing blow comes in.
    • Victory Points
      • You're not going to be inflicting fatigue or striking first compared to other plans, so you're essentially getting 6 victory points for 'achieve your objective' and 10 (plus bonus success, minus fitness mitigation) for the critical severity if it was a one-handed iai cut for a finishing blow.
      • It's pretty much all or nothing; if you go for this plan and lose you're almost certainly going home with null points from the Rokugani Jury.

 

  • Attack Action Critical Strike
    • Probably the best way to win 'to first strike'. Can win 'to first blood' but compared to strife & finishing blow the trick is inflicting a critical of sufficient severity once fitness checks have been applied.
      • Has no real crossover with potato-sack-samurai because the victory conditions they're suited for are so different that if two opponents are using these two techniques, one of them is fundamentally doing it wrong (potato-sack in a first strike duel or trying to kill someone with a 'naturally rolled' critical strike)
    • Is probably the fastest technique - can realistically win in the first round and if you haven't won by the second you've probably left it too late.
    • We Both Missed Our Finishing Blows!
      • You're in trouble; getting TN2 with ** to land a critical isn't easy at the best of times but if you're trying to do it whilst compromised you're in serious trouble.
      • You can chose to unmask, which resets the 'strife clock' - although midway through a duel probably only gives you 1 or 2 turns before you're compromised again. These turns are likely your absolute last chance to win, and be glad your opponent's finishing blow didn't kill you, and it will cost you 2 victory points whether you achieve anything or not.
    • Stances
      • Doesn't really have a preferred stance. Fire is pretty useless - you don't want strife and bonus successes don't really help you. Water is probably key in an iaijutsu duel for the free action to draw your weapon and or predict to prevent earth stance.
      • If your opponent is trying for this then earth stance shuts it down cold unless they have heartpiercing strike or a similar technique. If you suspect they do, then Air Stance is your better option.
    • Victory Points
      • Probably the plan likely to rack up the most victory points even if it doesn't win; A strike action causing a critical strike grants you victory points for the fatigue inflicted plus the severity of the critical strike, plus you're probably striking first if your opponent is just sat their lobbing insults at you.
      • If you don't think you can win the duel, then this is probably your best plan for drawing as many victory points out of the fight as possible so it's a narrower victory (the one reason to try this against potato-sack-samurai opponents; the extra points you get for a critical strike can counterbalance the extra points they get for incapacitating you and achieving their objective)
Edited by Magnus Grendel

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If you want to one-shot people with a katana play a Kaiu engineer. While using a self-made katana a rank 6 Kaiu engineer can add 6 Opportunity results to a single katana blow. That's Deadliness 13, which strikes with a Severity of 26 while using a Finishing Blow...  and that's without factoring in any additional Opportunity results. If you can get a nice cut in beforehand using Striking as Fire you can pump those numbers even higher. 

You can definitely insta-kill using a katana, no doubt about it. It can even happen without being a Kaiu engineer or without landing a Finishing Blow if you roll enough Opportunities. 

Edited by JonahHex

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40 minutes ago, Avatar111 said:

rank 3+ everybody dies super easy. the offense goes up way more than the defense in this game. actually, defense barely goes up at all.

Mostly true. You always have the Guard action, and if you pump your Tactics skill you can pump the TN needed to hit you quite high. Combine this with Crescent Moon Style and you can enjoy a high defense without sacking your offense too much.

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8 minutes ago, JonahHex said:

Mostly true. You always have the Guard action, and if you pump your Tactics skill you can pump the TN needed to hit you quite high. Combine this with Crescent Moon Style and you can enjoy a high defense without sacking your offense too much.

yeah, but guard is an active action, not passive defense. someone striking you with TN2, or heartpiercing strike, or fury of osano-wo etc... you'll explode quite fast :D

unless the NPC really don't scale up as much as PC offensively.

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4 minutes ago, Avatar111 said:

yeah, but guard is an active action, not passive defense. someone striking you with TN2, or heartpiercing strike, or fury of osano-wo etc... you'll explode quite fast :D

unless the NPC really don't scale up as much as PC offensively.

NPCs scale at the same rate as PCs, generally. That said, critical hits dealt by Heartpiercing Strike and Fury of Osano-Wo can both be resisted using Fitness, and with Warrior's Resolve a character Incapacitated by one of them could find themselves back on their feet.

Offense definitely scales much faster - this game is only one or two steps below Warhammer in terms of how lethal it is - but regardless a character can still use the Tactics and Fitness skills as well as Warrior's Resolve and Courtier's Resolve to keep their defenses high.

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15 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:
  • Water is probably key in an iaijutsu duel for the free action to draw your weapon and or predict to prevent earth stance.

if you win initiative and the opponent is in earth stance, you'd better go in earth stance yourself right away. because if hes got a decent water ring you probably just lost on his turn. especially in a duel to first strike as you mention (in which crit severity doesn't matter).

the predict action is almost always trash, so is the "battle in the mind" kata.

its always a gamble that is not favourable to the player using the predict action. predict action is an extremely broken rule.

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2 hours ago, Avatar111 said:

if you win initiative and the opponent is in earth stance, you'd better go in earth stance yourself right away. because if hes got a decent water ring you probably just lost on his turn. especially in a duel to first strike as you mention (in which crit severity doesn't matter).

the predict action is almost always trash, so is the "battle in the mind" kata.

its always a gamble that is not favourable to the player using the predict action. predict action is an extremely broken rule.

I beg to differ. Its been key in every duel I've run. Going into Water Stance and using Strike and Predict is one of my player's favorite tactics. It does, however, rely on the GM narrating the actions of opponents quite specifically (an aggressive character pressing their advantage is likely to go into Fire Stance, someone trying to maintain their calm is likely to go into Void Stance, etc). A clever player may also leverage Opportunities (especially Air Opportunities) to learn what stance a character may take next.

None of this guarantees victory as it all exists within grey areas of the rules. But considering what Predict does? That's as it should be. Dealing 4 Strife to a character is significant; it can easily lead to a Finishing Blow interrupt, which is powerful indeed.

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4 hours ago, Avatar111 said:

so is the "battle in the mind" kata.

That one I will agree with (I didn't mention the kata for a reason). The beta version of the kata was broken as heck, and it and predict really were a lethal combination, but the newer version was made both more expensive to trigger and weaker, which I feel was an overreaction:

Now:

"Void **: You name two rings, then your opponent must name one of those two rings. When your opponent selects their stance during their first turn of the duel, they cannot select the ring they named as their stance."

Originally

"Void *: Your opponent must name a ring. When your opponent selects their stance during their first turn of the duel, they must select the named ring as their stance."

 

Hmm. The comment about winning initiative has me thinking.

~ You roll for initiative in a ring of your choice, not knowing if you'll win initiative or not.

Your choice of initiative ring has three impacts I can see:

  • Whether you'll generate a high enough inititiative score to win initiative (matters to Attack Critical and Potato-Sack)
  • Whether you have access to useful * spends off the initiative score (matters to everyone, but most to Strife Finishing and Attack Critical)
  • What ring you'll be 'stuck in' if your opponent wins the roll or pulls a fast one in the staredown (matters if you think your opponent plans Attack Critical)

In the various duels, therefore, what stance would people use for the assessment check? What are people's thoughts

  • Water - potentially lets you dump off some damage if you're going into a duel with some extent strife or fatigue. I can't really see much advantage to it aside from that in a duel
  • Earth is a 'safety' roll - it'll probably produce a low initiative result on the grounds that either you're not using your best ring, or your best ring is one that doesn't contribute to initiative values (and therefore your base focus/vigilance is potentially lower). It also has very little you can usefully send initiative check * on in a one-on-one duel, but it does mean no water draw/strike round 1 if you're confident your opponent doesn't have heartpiercing strike. It's probably pointless in an incapacitation/defeat duel, and probably in a duel to the death (since if you are in a duel with an opponent who can reliably pull a fatal critical off a single strike action with no wind-up, you have bigger issues with your life choices than the ring for your assassment check...), but might be relevant in those if your opponent has some nasty condition-inflicting kata or shuji.
  • Void has the awesome "name a ring, reduce the TN by 1" opportunity spend, but having to name the ring telegraphs a stance. It does last until you do a check, even if that's not your next turn, though. Relatively few people have a high void ring straight off the bat, as well - the Kaito and Isawa are the only families who can readily get void 3 at character creation, and a character like that probably shouldn't be in a swordfight given the low derived stats they'll have and the lack of duel-applicable skills they'll get from their family and clan.
  • Air is a nice compromise - "add a kept *" is awesome for Attack Critical since again it persists till you use it, and opportunities are harder to get than success/explosive success. Picking up on an unknown disadvantage can be awesome, too. Plus increasing the TN to hit you, plus, if you've got a good air ring, you should logically have a decent focus to start with.
  • Fire is great for Strife Finishing - * can be used to inflame and/or 'strife shield' - and if you're prepared to accept strife bonus successes it's the best ring for getting the highest possible initiative out of a given number of dice, plus - as fire also contributes to focus - if it's a better ring, you should have a good starting focus to add successes to.

 

 

 

 

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Earth for attacks in duels does have some value if you expect the potato sack samurai scenario (or any duel to incapacitation): opportunity to increase your physical resistance will let you soak more damage - and a very lucky roll might even let you damage the fragile razor edge of the opponent’s Katana !!

Edit: I referred to Striking as Earth Kata obviously 

Edited by Franwax

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4 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

if you're prepared to accept strife bonus successes it's the best ring for getting the highest possible initiative out of a given number of dice

You pick stance after the Initiative check, so no strife bonus successes for you! 

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14 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

You pick stance after the Initiative check, so no strife bonus successes for you! 

Oh! That’s an interesting point... so Stance bonuses don’t apply to initiative checks? Same for the Void one, do you get Strife from dice when rolling for Init with Void? 

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1 minute ago, Franwax said:

Oh! That’s an interesting point... so Stance bonuses don’t apply to initiative checks? Same for the Void one, do you get Strife from dice when rolling for Init with Void? 

Nope:

Quote

After a character resolves their Initiative check, that character enters the stance matching the ring they used.

 

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Fair enough. Fire assessment still offers a lot of good opportunities. I suppose it makes sense since water would have no way to benefit frm its stance ability on the check. It makes fire less dominant for initiative, though I stand by fire and air being the best two; if your fire and air ring are high enough to consider them as a choice anyway, it means your focus will be higher, so you start with an advantage before the check.

3 hours ago, Franwax said:

Edit: I referred to Striking as Earth Kata obviously 

Provided you have the kata...but not  bad point if you do.

3 hours ago, Franwax said:

a very lucky roll might even let you damage the fragile razor edge of the opponent’s Katana !!

Much less likely - since a layer only ever has to keep one die its unlikely you can force them to hit. You might choose to to force through a winning critical but you cant do that to an earth stance target and it doesn't matter in incapacitation fights.

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8 hours ago, JonahHex said:

I beg to differ. Its been key in every duel I've run. Going into Water Stance and using Strike and Predict is one of my player's favorite tactics. It does, however, rely on the GM narrating the actions of opponents quite specifically (an aggressive character pressing their advantage is likely to go into Fire Stance, someone trying to maintain their calm is likely to go into Void Stance, etc). A clever player may also leverage Opportunities (especially Air Opportunities) to learn what stance a character may take next.

None of this guarantees victory as it all exists within grey areas of the rules. But considering what Predict does? That's as it should be. Dealing 4 Strife to a character is significant; it can easily lead to a Finishing Blow interrupt, which is powerful indeed.

Predict is an attack/scheme action... You cannot strike and predict.

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2 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

Nope:

 

Mmm, indeed. The fact that you can use ring opportunities but do not get the stance bonus is probably what is confusing about all this.

 

 

Edited by Avatar111

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12 minutes ago, Avatar111 said:

I think you can use stance for initiative. The book even have opportunity spending for initiative per ring...

Opportunity spending is not tied to stances. You can spend the elemental Opps outside of stances just fine. And you don't choose your stance after Initiative, you automatically go into the stance of the Ring you used for the check. 

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2 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

Opportunity spending is not tied to stances. You can spend the elemental Opps outside of stances just fine. And you don't choose your stance after Initiative, you automatically go into the stance of the Ring you used for the check. 

I realised that and edited!

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17 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

Opportunity spending is not tied to stances. You can spend the elemental Opps outside of stances just fine. And you don't choose your stance after Initiative, you automatically go into the stance of the Ring you used for the check. 

This is confusing to me.   The fact that assessment occurs before stance selection foggies things up a little, but it still seems to me like oppurtunities are tied to stance.  If I use an earth action to assess, I can only use earth oppurtunities on the assessment, then I must go into earth stance, at which point I'm stuck using earth actions (and therefore earth oppurtunities) until I switch stances.  This seems to me like stance and opportunity are tied together pretty closely. Assessment>Stance>Action>Oppurtunity.  Am I wrong, or missing some finer point?

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3 minutes ago, Black_Rabbit_Inle said:

This is confusing to me.   The fact that assessment occurs before stance selection foggies things up a little, but it still seems to me like oppurtunities are tied to stance.  If I use an earth action to assess, I can only use earth oppurtunities on the assessment, then I must go into earth stance, at which point I'm stuck using earth actions (and therefore earth oppurtunities) until I switch stances.  This seems to me like stance and opportunity are tied together pretty closely. Assessment>Stance>Action>Oppurtunity.  Am I wrong, or missing some finer point?

that is also what confused me initially because it is a bit of an illogical rule. but as written, you don't need to be in a stance to spend opportunities from a ring, ie: outside of a conflict you don't use "stance", you just use opportunities, for a regular investigation roll you are not in a stance and cannot use Fire for extra successes or void to not take strife.

so yes, it is OK to consider the initiative roll not using the stance effect. but, i assure you 90% of the players probably will :D 

as written though, @AtoMaki is right.

though, one more question that arise now, can you use the "martial/conflict" opportunities when doing an initiative check. i think yes, but its up for debate.

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