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So, I was looking over the Crane Clan, Kakita Family, and the Kakita Dueling School. So many air ring increases make it hard to get fire and earth to 3 and void to 2. With that in mind, how does one make an effective as possible duelist starting out as a Kakita, as far as rings and skill choices go?

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Well being a Crane and from the Kakita dueling academy, you WILL end up with Air 3, so might as well make your peace with that ;)

From there, you can go several routes, but what I would go with is either Fire 3 / Earth 2 or Fire 2 / Earth 3. Almost any family in the clan will let you get there (you get +1 Earth from the school; then Kakita family for the Fire bonus and add another +1 with question 4; or take Air with the Kakita and when your school increase in Air would bring that ring to 4, convert it into any other ring; or take Earth with the Daidoji and shore up your Fire with question 4... etc.)

I would not aim for Void 2 at character creation. Derived stats will suffer.

With Earth and Fire being at 2 and 3 (in whatever order), you have a solid Endurance of 10. The pros and cons of each are:

  • Earth 3: better composure (8, but you will want to up your Water pretty soon, as soon as you get 6 xp), and you will be comfortable sitting in Earth stance to avoid being critted by a double opp, while perfectly able to crit yourself since you keep 3 dice in that stance. Lower initiative though, and the opportunities in Earth stance are not that great
  • Fire 3: better initiative (Focus 6), pretty cool opportunities for duels (dumping Strife on your opponent, forcing them to take more Strife if they make an attack or scheme action against you, making your crits harder to resist...), bonus successes with your Strife, BUT rather low composure of 6 (you will want even more to up your Water). And you are not safe from a lucky crit... So it's high risk / high reward.

Finally, don't discount your Air ring.. the opportunity that lets you add a kept die with an opp on your next roll is pretty good if you want to go for a quick crit. And adding +1 to your TN also makes it much harder for your opponent to both hit you AND keep 2 opportunities, so while it's not as safe as Earth stance, it's still pretty close, defensively.

Your school ability will not help much in first strike duels, but does give you an edge for first blood - getting that Crit 5+ is not easy when you rely on iai strikes that force you into a one-handed grip.

Skill choices: not much to say here... Meditation for the initiative roll, and martial arts [melee] are no-brainers.

Techniques: you start with Rising Blade, and can buy Crossing Blade from rank 1. Crossing blade adds damage with bonus successes, so it's a good one if you want to wear off your opponent into incapacitation, but it does not let you crit with two opps. Neither does Crossing Blade actually, but that one does crit if your opponent is Compromised. Not a very likely contingency though (you will rarely start a duel against a compromised target, and if they become compromised in the course of the duel, then the finishing blow is an auto crit anyway). What's interesting with Crossing blade is that the TN is your target's Vigilance (cf. the errata, btw). So it's still pretty nice for finishing blows, because a compromised character's Vigilance is 1: a sure thing. So long story short, it helps to have both of them available.

Also, they let you draw and strike in the first round of the duel without needing to be in Water stance - it's always nice to sneak one up early. But as said before, they don't crit, so you won't win during that round.

Hope this helps!

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Hehe.. choices, choices!

I'd say it also depends whether you start with some xp to spend (e.g. the "young heroes" creation option, that gives you 10xp). If you think you will have to survive a few duels without being able to buy Water 2, the Earth is probably the safer option, because with Fire and Composure 6, you're a finishing blow magnet 😛

This said, 6xp should be pretty quick to get... probably even after the 1st session - second tops.

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There is also alternate approach of going for Air 3 / Earth 2 / Water 3 (+1 Air from Kakita to get airoverflow into Water, and +1 Water from the question). With Air 3 on Initiative, you can use opportunity on Initiative to get one extra opportunity on your first turn strike, making it much easier to land that telling blow. You will get more Composure and Vigilance, but less Focus and Endurance. Both Fire and Water build are pretty good both in Intrigue, Skirmish and Duel, tho they require different tactics.

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Indeed, or use the Daidoji family to get Water (no mechanical difference, but you also get to show off as a badass yojimbo who trained at the Kakita academy).

Using Water to draw and strike makes the Iai techniques a bit redundant, but also does not limit you to one-handed grips. Be an anti-confirmist Kakita duelist who strikes with both hands for a 7 + school rank severity critical strike!

Oh and one point of note: someone made me realize that the school technique applies after the Fitness roll to reduce the severity (it increases the severity of a crit you inflict, not the deadliness of your weapon). Since Fitness can only reduce a crit to a minimum of zero, a Rank 3 Kakita will always land a crit of severity 3+, which with a Katana slaps the Bleeding condition on the target. Always useful ;)

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Indeed. 

Also, a note - with that high Air, even Water of 2 is enough to threaten a turn 1 Draw-Strike tactic. You go Air Initiative, add extra opportunity to your next Martial check, and spend a Void Point on it to keep 4 dice. Chances of getting 2 Successes and 1 Opportunity rolled are pretty good. A pretty big gain for 6 XP.

 

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I wouldn't start out with Void 1, unless you have some very good Disads to regain your lonely Void Point. Early on, Seize the Moment is a huge deal breaker, and you want to spam it all day erry day or get into uncomfortable surprises. 

46 minutes ago, Franwax said:

Oh and one point of note: someone made me realize that the school technique applies after the Fitness roll to reduce the severity (it increases the severity of a crit you inflict, not the deadliness of your weapon). 

This was just a rumored Errata entry. The severity of the critical strike is determined before the soak roll, so that's when the Kakita School Tech applies too. 

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52 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

I wouldn't start out with Void 1

Well if it's that or Earth 1, I'd rather have the Earth... If you go with Earth 3, and are fine to keep Fire at 1 for a start, why not.

But again, no Ring should remain at 1 for very long. Whether you go for Void first or the other Ring at 1 (Water for instance) is another choice.

55 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

This was just a rumored Errata entry. The severity of the critical strike is determined before the soak roll, so that's when the Kakita School Tech applies too. 

Oh, dang... I'll have to go revisit that!

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On ‎1‎/‎19‎/‎2019 at 9:50 AM, Franwax said:

But as said before, they don't crit, so you won't win during that round.

They do let you draw and perform a check, though, which is useful for acquiring opportunities to spend on whatever. Even if an iai strike can't win, it's nearly always better than a simple prepare action (aside from not being an option as a water stance 'free' action)

 

On ‎1‎/‎19‎/‎2019 at 10:07 AM, Suimaru said:

Choosing between earth and fire at 3 starting out is rather rough.

A lot of it depends on what kind of duel you expect to fight.

Earth is a superb stance for duels to first strike, since being able to fight effectively from earth stance basically requires you to be compromised or incapacitated before your opponent can inflict a critical strike. 

Duels to the death generally require a finishing blow, so fire stance (which is the best stance for inflicting strife on an opponent) is a better choice.

 

Also, consider what your character wants to do and excel at outside the duelling grounds! Both rings are very useful in non-conflict scenes and other types of conflict scene than duels. Fire stance is very useful in a skirmish since bonus successes = more damage (and Way of the Crane can be used with a bow, making Kakita fearsome archers) and has great opportunities, whilst you shouldn't overlook the fact that the Earth ring increases both composure and resilience (the only ring which does both).

 

 

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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Earth + Water is playing the game on easy mode. At least until rank 2-3.

For Kakita, you are stuck with Air 3, and that is a shame...
Since the dueling rules are absolute trash, I suggest you crank up Earth to 3 since this is basically your Composure + Endurance + I do not lose duels to first strike/blood button.
This is THE best stat for duels until later ranks when higher level techniques come into play.

so get that Earth 3. Use Iaijutsu strike with Earth, and flail away NON-STOP, every round.
that is all you have to do to win, really. nothing will be able to beat you (unless it is another earth duelist) because if they don't go earth you have a high chance to crit them (use your void point the moment they are not in earth stance).


 

Edited by Avatar111

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8 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

Also, consider what your character wants to do and excel at outside the duelling grounds! Both rings are very useful in non-conflict scenes and other types of conflict scene than duels.

This is very important, because you also want to make sure you control the conditions of the duel.  You won't always be in a formal court setting, so you might need to do some work to insure the duel follows the rules you're hoping for.

   New head-canon: A series of humorous poems and stories, about a great swordsman who travels the Empire, issuing challenges among the various clans.  He challenges a Crab in a sake house, who immediately stomps into the courtyard, stripping down to his underclothes, ordering the hasty construction of a Sumai ring.  He challenges a Unicorn, who accepts, saying, "I hope you can find a suitable horse and bow by dawn!"

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On 1/19/2019 at 3:13 AM, AtoMaki said:

This was just a rumored Errata entry. The severity of the critical strike is determined before the soak roll, so that's when the Kakita School Tech applies too. 

I think at my table we might stick with the "wrong" ruling (not that we have any Kakita).  Applying the technique after Soak makes it a little more powerful, but also much more versatile.  There will be a lot of times where you want to teach some punk a lesson without killing him, and you don't want a silly thing like a random die roll screwing that up.  Allowing the adjustment after the roll reflects the renowned precision of the Kakita school, instead of just the deadliness.

Edited by The Grand Falloon

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43 minutes ago, The Grand Falloon said:

This is very important, because you also want to make sure you control the conditions of the duel.  You won't always be in a formal court setting, so you might need to do some work to insure the duel follows the rules you're hoping for.
 

what duel conditions does a Kakita hope for ?

Kakita is ok at everything because of the rank 1 Iaijutsu kata and possibility to get 3 earth at character creation. But that works for all melee duels with a razor-edged weapon....

Kakita doesn't care if it is first strike, first blood, death...

edit: i'm honestly just answering the original poster's question in the clearest, easiest, most optimal way.

edit2: for skills, melee should be your absolute highest skill, if possible get it to 3 at character creation.
fitness and meditation, a 2 is best, but a 1 won't kill you. to start.

edit3: enjoy that early Iaijutsu Strike, because once the other schools are able to pick it up, then Kakita just doesn't have anything to make him better at dueling than all the other schools who also have nothing.
until Rank3, when you pick up Heartpiercing Strike, and your school ability is +3 crit. that starts to be scary because it is hard to resist that critical severity.
 

Edited by Avatar111

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17 minutes ago, Avatar111 said:

what duel conditions does a Kakita hope for ?

Well, taking @The Grand Falloon's example, definitely NOT  a 'warrior's duel' to incapacitation with otsuchi against a Hida samurai in full plate, where both sides start with double-handed weapons readied and critical strikes become almost irrelevant.

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1 minute ago, Magnus Grendel said:

Well, taking @The Grand Falloon's example, definitely NOT  a 'warrior's duel' to incapacitation with otsuchi against a Hida samurai in full plate, where both sides start with double-handed weapons readied and critical strikes become almost irrelevant.

kakita needs a razor-edged weapon.

armor is irrelevant, obviously the character with armor is advantaged.

Edited by Avatar111

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3 minutes ago, Avatar111 said:

kakita needs a razor-edged weapon.

Exactly so. Therefore finding yourself in a situation where you're presented with a warhammer and expected to duel with that is a bad situation to find yourself in. It's not so much 'condition to hope for' as 'conditions to avoid'.

A fair duel means they'd probably be provided with armour if they don't have any, but the difference between ashigaru or lacquered armour that a lord's armoury might have to lend and your opponent's custom-wrought plate is a big deal in a fight to incapacitation.

And as an aside - yes, heartpiercing strike is a critical technique to pick up (along with a high enough fire ring to use it effectively) as it's the best (arguably only) answer to the earth stance turtles.

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10 minutes ago, Avatar111 said:

kakita needs a razor-edged weapon.

armor is irrelevant, obviously the character with armor is advantaged.

If it's a "you do your thing, I do mine, last man standing wins" warrior's duel and the Kakita goes with his trusty katana vs an opponent with a weapon that does significantly more damage armor does matter, even if they both wear the same. The Kakita really, really wants as little armor as possible because it's a damage race and armour stops more damage from him - relatively - than from his opponent.

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16 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

If it's a "you do your thing, I do mine, last man standing wins" warrior's duel and the Kakita goes with his trusty katana vs an opponent with a weapon that does significantly more damage armor does matter, even if they both wear the same. The Kakita really, really wants as little armor as possible because it's a damage race and armour stops more damage from him - relatively - than from his opponent.

am I allowed to use a snaring weapon with coiling serpent ?

but yeah, if allowed to bring whatever you want, you open a can of worm! there are dozen of different scenarios and techniques. but probably the heaviest armor is favored in all cases.

Duel to the death are the best duels in the game; a lot of risk vs reward choices to make.
because critical strikes don't end the duel, you don't have to stay in earth stance to win. that alone, makes it cool because you can "risk" taking a critical hit. You could even take a void point to forcefully take a crit! that is really fun to me.

the only really busted duels are first strike/blood.

 

Edited by Avatar111

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40 minutes ago, UnitOmega said:

So some form of iaijutsu duel where both parties wear only ceremonial clothes and can unsheath weapons no sooner than turn 1 and it allows them maximum chance to engage in their fetish for one perfect strike?

In theory. But unfortunately Earth Stance is a thing.

edit; and predict action is flawed and iai kata can't crit.

I do enjoy your utopia thought. If I had you as a Kakita player I would not make you face high earth duelists. You know, to be nice.

Edited by Avatar111

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A lot of folks take issue with two key points of duels: first, that Iaijutsu cuts can't Crit by spending opportunity.  The second is that Earth Stance seems exceptionally strong.  Some have suggested allowing Iaijutsu cuts to Crit for two opportunity.

   Here's a crazy thought: what if, instead, we remove the ability to Crit on a Strike action?  By flipping that switch, it becomes a race to either Incapacitate your opponent so that he can't Defend against your next attack, or to Compromise him so you can land a Finishing Blow.  You can't hope for that one lucky "2 Success, 2 opportunity" roll, and turtling in Earth isn't as helpful.

   There's almost certainly a lot of fallout I haven't considered, so lay it on me.

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1 hour ago, The Grand Falloon said:

A lot of folks take issue with two key points of duels: first, that Iaijutsu cuts can't Crit by spending opportunity.  The second is that Earth Stance seems exceptionally strong.  Some have suggested allowing Iaijutsu cuts to Crit for two opportunity.

   Here's a crazy thought: what if, instead, we remove the ability to Crit on a Strike action?  By flipping that switch, it becomes a race to either Incapacitate your opponent so that he can't Defend against your next attack, or to Compromise him so you can land a Finishing Blow.  You can't hope for that one lucky "2 Success, 2 opportunity" roll, and turtling in Earth isn't as helpful.

   There's almost certainly a lot of fallout I haven't considered, so lay it on me.

Your idea is a route that requires much more "reworking" since it affects a lot of mechanics in the game.

Thinking about it, earth stance is not "that strong", it is just broken, as it makes the whole Iaijutsu duel about, well, the earth stance.
in a duel to the death, earth stance is perfectly fine.


simply adding 2 opp to crit to Iaijutsu tech is a nice way to help the problem (you can also increase the TN of crossing cut to 3, fair deal).
at least with that, the first round predict action becomes "kind of" interesting. But it isn't an ideal fix, at least not by itself.

I also agree that the "Strife game" can be fun to play, an issue right now is that there isn't many ways to play the "Strife game" since predict action is atrocious and easily... predictable.
So you are left with the 1opp or 2opp fire spending as the only way to do it. Decent in itself, but not really fun since you will probably make checks (strike, or some social check/shuji) you intend to fail just to get opportunities.

maybe some player can come up with an elegant, simple, and fun houserule to make duels great again.

here what needs to be done;
- iaijutsu technique need to be able to crit. it is part of the fantasy.
- there need to be a way to play the strife mindgame that is simple and fun.
- there need to be a way to take people out of their stance effect. bonus point if it is itself counterable.
- the duel should become about getting the initiative, or strifing your opponent. these should be the major point so that both players feel encouraged to bid during the staredown, creating a tense moment, fun gameplay, and not drag down the duels to a "strike fest" that last for multiple rounds. An Iaijutsu duel should be lightning fast, all about the right initiative and mindgame.
-duel to the death should be mostly left unchanged, meaning that the above rules should not make a duel to the death all about mindgame, a duel to the death should encourage the players to do exchange of blows instead of mindgames, thus the mindgame purpose needs to be geared toward getting critical hits (or finishing blows) more than anything else.


and... I really should stop trying to convince people that the duel rules need to be better. What do I gain from it at this point ? Silly me.

Edited by Avatar111

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13 hours ago, The Grand Falloon said:

I think at my table we might stick with the "wrong" ruling (not that we have any Kakita).  Applying the technique after Soak makes it a little more powerful, but also much more versatile.  

It also makes the technique really weird with how it suddenly bypasses Shattering Parry. If I had to meddle with the technique then I would simply double its bonus.

10 hours ago, The Grand Falloon said:

Here's a crazy thought: what if, instead, we remove the ability to Crit on a Strike action?

I'm not sure if the game needs to be even less lethal, if you know what I mean. 

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I'm looking to GM this game sometime soon, and am a bit puzzled by the choice made regarding iaijutsu not being able to crit.

Would the simplest fix by far not be to simply allow iaijutsu to crit like a normal strike?

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