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Uptown man

Shugenja In duels

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So I’m not quite sure how to deal with this. Looking for advice. 

If a shugenja gets challenged to a duel/challenges someone to a duel and they are not a shugenja  

 is it dishonorable to cast armor of earth/buff spells prior to the duel. Or even cast spells in the duel?

 

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My answer based on my interpretation of the lore;

If it is a ritualised, honor duel, then no. Kami should not interfere with that like they should not interfere with any form of law matters.

If it is a challenge on a battlefield, or basically, not an honor duel with anything at stake aside the prowess of both combatants, then yes, I'd allow it. Though these informal duels would probably be considered a "fight" more than a duel proper. As in the case of a challenge in a skirmish, any weapon is viable.

It is good to remember though that in a formal duel, one which have something bigger than the characters at stake, one that is done according to the rules of laws. A shugenja doesn't have to accept this and/or can have their yojimbo take the duel instead.

Personally, I see a wide gap between a "ritualised honor duel" and a "clash". But opinions may vary. If a bushi challenge a shinobi while pursuing him on a rooftop, if the shinobi feels like being honorable or feel that it is a good thing for him to duel the bushi, then it is a go. But such duel doesn't have "rules" per say and should be considered more as a 1v1 fight than a duel (though it can still use the duel conflict mechanics, and would probably be to the death by default. Now if you decide to kill the target is another matter altogether).

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On 5/9/2019 at 6:36 PM, Uptown man said:

So I’m not quite sure how to deal with this. Looking for advice. 

If a shugenja gets challenged to a duel/challenges someone to a duel and they are not a shugenja  

 is it dishonorable to cast armor of earth/buff spells prior to the duel. Or even cast spells in the duel?

 

The conditions of the duel need to be agreed upon by both parties (and sanctioned by their respective masters) before anything can commence. Duels are supposed to be between equals or individuals of equal standing, therefore it wouldn't traditionally even make sense. Now this game sometimes blurs the line between classes (at least mechanically) in this edition, so tradition might be going out the window and this "duel" is more of a formal skirmish for lack of a better term. If the bushi agrees to the request, I don't see why it would be dishonorable, but it would be unorthodox at best. Duels are meant to resolve a question, like who is the superior swordsman? who is the winner of a dispute? who is favored by the kami? When you muddle the variables of artistry in arms vs artistry in magic, the answer becomes less clear about vindication and only resolves skill in combat.. so what really is the point of that match up? In other words, why duel?

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There are a few different forms of duel in Core Book. In legal iaijutsu duel with official challenges and permissions from higher lords only weapons allowed are katana and wakizashi, so calling kami to help would be against regulations. The book also makes point about shugenja being rare and valuable, thus their lord is likely to forbid them from fighting in sword duels and may give them a yojimbo for this.

As others have pointed out, there is also more informal form of dueling called Warrior's Duel in the book, which has far fever regulations and basically just boils down to shouting a challenge and charging with whatever weapons you have. Calling kami for help in those could be perfectly allowed, if one sees them as extensions of shugenja's skill and will.

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The warriors duel could be formal. In Rokugan the iaijutsu is favored as the most "civilized and aesthetically refined" of the duels. But you can negotiate a different type of duel. If yojimbo are not involved, it would make a lot of sense for a mismatched pair like a Shugenja and Bushi to default to a warrior duel.

If it is a formal duel that has been set up ahead of time I do not think it is regarded as honorable to show up with pre-cast buffs up. I that's like already having your weapon drawn. That is mostly my opinion rather than something I can point to in a book. But I think you have to use an action to give yourself benies. On the other hand its possible you might agree in negotiating a duel that certain buffs might be legal for that duel. A bushi planing to show up in lacquered armor might give that to a shugenja as a matter of appearance/honor.

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5 hours ago, Void Crane said:

If it is a formal duel that has been set up ahead of time I do not think it is regarded as honorable to show up with pre-cast buffs up

Very few of them remain active between scenes, anyway, and the start of the duel is a new conflict scene, so by and large that's not an issue.

5 hours ago, Void Crane said:

On the other hand its possible you might agree in negotiating a duel that certain buffs might be legal for that duel. A bushi planing to show up in lacquered armor might give that to a shugenja as a matter of appearance/honor.

This. What is legal in the duel is what is either agreed between the duellists or decreed by the presiding lord. This can be any of the 'basic' forms of duel and include as many riders or exemptions as the defining party wishes.

It is quite mechanically feasible, and not especially out of character, to have an intrigue scene preceding a duel scene, where the courtiers in the party try to skew the terms of the duel in their combatant's favour.

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