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Masakiyo

Dueling Question

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I'm still going through the core book, but I have a question regarding duels.  It says that in the event of initiative ties the person with the lower honor acts first.  Why is this?  Logic would seem to indicate that having higher honor would be better.  Or is the assumption that someone with higher honor gives his/her inferior the advantage by allowing them to strike first?  Or is it something else entirely that I'm missing here?

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Posted (edited)

having high honor is mechanically bad (mostly, but not totally)

and this is right, giving too many incentives to just play Honorable would have been a mistake.

Edited by Avatar111

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55 minutes ago, UnitOmega said:

I think the intent is that the quote unquote "scummiest" individual gets to strike first, but the book sadly doesn't come with director's commentary. 

Yup, I made myself the same narrative... lower honor means less qualms / less mental blocks and may help go first via sheer disregard of good sportsmanship. 

High honor gives advantages (which help succeed in some rolls); Low Honor gives disadvantages... which is actually not that bad in that game as it means more opportunities to pump up Void points. I guess the initiative tie breaker (and you need a tie breaker anyway) is tilting the scales a bit in favor of lower honor, mechanically speaking. But given the less tangible rewards of a high honor score in the social setting of Rokugan, I agree with Avatar that it’s good that they gave a bit of extra challenge to being a paragon of Bushido. It’s supposed to be hard to walk the straight and narrow ;)

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Just so I dont start another thread: Unarmed Fist/Kick during duels to first strike/first blood, yes or no? Technically they are always readied. I d certainly consider it a honor/glory loss because its a cheap tactic to break somebodies nose for first blood, but would you consider it cheating?

Realistically, this is rarely useful, but I wondered if the technical rules of the Iaijutsu duel prohibit it. 

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1 hour ago, Kaiju said:

Realistically, this is rarely useful

Actually, someone here posted an example of punch-finishing blow in Fire Stance once :) This can quickly reach some decent crit level!

Now is it good form in a traditional duel? Probably not. Is it legit? I’d say yes. Maybe some Glory loss, but even more so for the target as this is basically a statement that “you’re so lame that I don’t even need my sword to take you down”. If you want to humiliate someone that’s certainly one way to do it!

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1 hour ago, Kaiju said:

Just so I dont start another thread: Unarmed Fist/Kick during duels to first strike/first blood, yes or no? Technically they are always readied. I d certainly consider it a honor/glory loss because its a cheap tactic to break somebodies nose for first blood, but would you consider it cheating?

Realistically, this is rarely useful, but I wondered if the technical rules of the Iaijutsu duel prohibit it. 

"Highly ritualized" and "only katana and wakizashi allowed". By the strictest technicality that doesn't prohibit punching and kicking (or even biting), but unless you have someone of considerable status overruling anyone that calls it cheating, I'd say expect to be named the loser. With a considerable honor loss on top of everything else.

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2 hours ago, Kaiju said:

Just so I dont start another thread: Unarmed Fist/Kick during duels to first strike/first blood, yes or no? Technically they are always readied. I d certainly consider it a honor/glory loss because its a cheap tactic to break somebodies nose for first blood, but would you consider it cheating?

Depends on the type of duel. If one of the people involved is Ise Zumi absolutely it's legal and no body blinks an eye when they kick you in the face.

2 hours ago, Kaiju said:

Realistically, this is rarely useful, but I wondered if the technical rules of the Iaijutsu duel prohibit it. 

Ah....now this is a good point. In an Iaijutsu duel i believe punching, to try to get around drawing your sword, is indeed a cheap shot. And probably results in you forfeiting the match. 

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Thanks for all the replies.  Now I'm thinking of concocting a forbidden, anything goes martial arts tournament along the lines of the classic Van Damme film "Bloodsport."  Maybe I'll have separate armed and unarmed categories.  Or maybe not.  May the most honorless dog win...

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18 hours ago, Masakiyo said:

Thanks for all the replies.  Now I'm thinking of concocting a forbidden, anything goes martial arts tournament along the lines of the classic Van Damme film "Bloodsport."  Maybe I'll have separate armed and unarmed categories.  Or maybe not.  May the most honorless dog win...

LOL! That sounds like a great foundation for an adventure. Not only can PCs enter if they wish, but its a great setting for a slightly different take on a court scene as well. All these powerful but potentially shady individuals are together in one place to watch the fights. Lots of potential for business to be transacted that intersects with the interests of one or more PCs...

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5 hours ago, Void Crane said:

LOL! That sounds like a great foundation for an adventure. Not only can PCs enter if they wish, but its a great setting for a slightly different take on a court scene as well. All these powerful but potentially shady individuals are together in one place to watch the fights. Lots of potential for business to be transacted that intersects with the interests of one or more PCs...

Almost finished reading the core book.  Been jotting down campaign ideas in a little campaign notebook.  I'm going to read the Emerald Empire book next and Shadowlands is on pre-order.  So once I go through that as well I'm sure I'll have a slew of potential threads and plot hooks.  This shady underground tournament is going in there somewhere.  Could be a cool place for the party to recruit some muscle for a trip into the Shadowlands...

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On 3/18/2019 at 12:29 AM, Kaiju said:

Realistically, this is rarely useful, but I wondered if the technical rules of the Iaijutsu duel prohibit it

It's a great way to escalate a duel from first blood to the death ;)

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This is one of the problems with this edition. Previous editions made it very clear that only bushi carried katanas and only bushi took part in duels. So an iaijutsu duel would only ever be between two samurai who wielded katanas. For the most part, I am continuing this in my game. Outside of an iaijutsu duel, the rules are much looser and non-bushi could participate. So you might have a Togashi monk and an Ikoma courtier dueling, but such duels would always be nonlethal. But I'm also allowing for rare examples of courtier's duels where they debate a topic and the mediator judges the victor based on points made, quality of delivery, etc.

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11 minutes ago, KingHades said:

This is one of the problems with this edition. Previous editions made it very clear that only bushi carried katanas and only bushi took part in duels. So an iaijutsu duel would only ever be between two samurai who wielded katanas. For the most part, I am continuing this in my game. Outside of an iaijutsu duel, the rules are much looser and non-bushi could participate. So you might have a Togashi monk and an Ikoma courtier dueling, but such duels would always be nonlethal. But I'm also allowing for rare examples of courtier's duels where they debate a topic and the mediator judges the victor based on points made, quality of delivery, etc.

This is fairly covered in the Core Rulebook, sidebar p. 232:

"Symbolism of a Katana: Only samurai are allowed to wear the katana, and further, only dedicated warriors commonly do so in Rokugan - most courtiers do not bother to keep their katana on their person at all times, their lighter and more convenient wakizashi proving their status as samurai. Thus, openly displaying the long sword tells the world at large that the wielder is a dangerous individual who knows their way around a swordfight."

You carry a katana, you are expected to be able to use it because that's what you're telling the world. In previous editions, that was the same.

Courtiers and non-bushi, in previous editions, could still learn the Iaijutsu skill, and if they carried katana, would also be expected to fight their own duels. Nothing about the rules that I recall said "if you're not a bushi, would cannot fight an iaijutsu duel."

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Posted (edited)

We covered that subject long and large, and no matter what weapon or spell you are using, in a skirmish, if you are a participant, you can be challenged to a "clash".

"Honor duel" is another subject. People commonly have "champions" (gosh even the fkin emperor Hantei the fkin 1st made Togashi the "monk" his champion against Fu Leng).

Also, "honor duel" have rules and are fought according to those rules. Courtesy mentions that if the rules are "you must use a katana" then that is what it must be.

Aside the honor business, it is very political (and you guys know how politics can be!!)

So in the end, in an "honor/political duel" everybody can use a champion.

On a battlefield... Everybody is fair game and only one's honor matters.

 

Edited by Avatar111

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4 hours ago, Hida Jitenno said:

This is fairly covered in the Core Rulebook, sidebar p. 232:

"Symbolism of a Katana: Only samurai are allowed to wear the katana, and further, only dedicated warriors commonly do so in Rokugan - most courtiers do not bother to keep their katana on their person at all times, their lighter and more convenient wakizashi proving their status as samurai. Thus, openly displaying the long sword tells the world at large that the wielder is a dangerous individual who knows their way around a swordfight."

You carry a katana, you are expected to be able to use it because that's what you're telling the world. In previous editions, that was the same.

Courtiers and non-bushi, in previous editions, could still learn the Iaijutsu skill, and if they carried katana, would also be expected to fight their own duels. Nothing about the rules that I recall said "if you're not a bushi, would cannot fight an iaijutsu duel."

If you carry a full daisho, that means you consider yourself a bushi (or at the very least style yourself one, whether you can back it up or not) - it literally just means warrior. You might not be the kind of bushi that serves on the Wall, has a position in a Lion legion or acts as yojimbo to a dignitary of your clan, but you still fight your own fights.

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50 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

If you carry a full daisho, that means you consider yourself a bushi (or at the very least style yourself one, whether you can back it up or not) - it literally just means warrior. You might not be the kind of bushi that serves on the Wall, has a position in a Lion legion or acts as yojimbo to a dignitary of your clan, but you still fight your own fights.

Given that "bushi" is a specific tag on a school in both this edition and prior editions, I took the post saying "bushi" to mean "bushi" and not generically "warrior."

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27 minutes ago, UnitOmega said:

Non-bushi tagged schools can get a daisho though. 

School tags had a mechanical function in previous editions (at minimum preventing certain multischooling options), but otherwise didn't really matter. As far as I can tell they are pretty much meaningless in this edition.

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Well, they're there to help the GM and players at least. Even if you do get a daisho set, if your school is only tagged Shugenja, you know your primary focus is supernatural stuff and you may or may not be appropriate for a total war campaign. Something to think about for pre-game/Session 0 type stuff, and to help you figure out Duty. 

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1 hour ago, UnitOmega said:

Well, they're there to help the GM and players at least. Even if you do get a daisho set, if your school is only tagged Shugenja, you know your primary focus is supernatural stuff and you may or may not be appropriate for a total war campaign. Something to think about for pre-game/Session 0 type stuff, and to help you figure out Duty. 

Did you play the game? How many players?

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15 hours ago, nameless ronin said:

School tags had a mechanical function in previous editions (at minimum preventing certain multischooling options), but otherwise didn't really matter. As far as I can tell they are pretty much meaningless in this edition.

Shugenja schools usually only get 3 skills; monks 4, and bushi 5. 
Likewise, taking a literalist read, only shugenja tagged schools can get conversational answers from Kami and/or channel invocations.

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3 hours ago, AK_Aramis said:

Shugenja schools usually only get 3 skills; monks 4, and bushi 5. 
Likewise, taking a literalist read, only shugenja tagged schools can get conversational answers from Kami and/or channel invocations.

Shrinekeepers can channel invocations as well, even if fluffwise (but not mechanically) they do something different. Regardless, it's not like tags have any kind of effect here: take them away and everything stays the same.

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Posted (edited)
26 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

Shrinekeepers can channel invocations as well, even if fluffwise (but not mechanically) they do something different. Regardless, it's not like tags have any kind of effect here: take them away and everything stays the same.

I think he means that some of the invocation stuff, like "offerings" includes the word "shugenja" somewhere in its text while importuning invocations for example, doesn't.

and only "shugenja" are vulnerable to spiritual backlash, because it mentions "shugenja" in the text ?

this again, is just a proof of the trashy editing of the book....

imo, it is fair to assume that anybody who can cast invocations can channel, importune, spiritual backlash, offering etc.
BUT, it ain't clear nor logical, so you can interpret it as you want. (the 2 options are probably to allow everybody who can cast invocations to have all the tools or, none of the tools)
I opted to give all the tools to anybody who could cast invocations as part of their school curriculum. The only "thing" that I give to Shugenja only is the ability to directly communicate with the Kami... And this is more for Roleplay purpose. Mechanic-wise; you can cast invocation? you can do whatever people who can cast invocations can do.
 

Edited by Avatar111

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28 minutes ago, Avatar111 said:

The only "thing" that I give to Shugenja only is the ability to directly communicate with the Kami...

Wouldn’t “communicate with the Kami” fall under the ritual Commune with spirits? Then pretty much anyone with 3xp to spare can do it 😛

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