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Kiso

Investigating recent use of invocations

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Is it possible to investigate if someone has used an invocation in the recent past?

The scenario that I'm thinking about is the following. There is a kyujututsu tournament being held. During that tournament one participant (A) noticed that the arrow of another participant (B) should have landed next to the target, but the arrow changed its trajectory on the last second and hits the bullseyes. Now A accuses B that they have used an invocation to alter the arrows path. Some hours later a shugenja player who wasn't at the tournament, has now been asked to investigate if the accusations are true. If we presume that in Rokugan the archery tournament is equivalent to the kyudo tournaments, then the field is 28m in length and let us say in this shooting hall 5 can shoot together. This would mean that there are a number of kami's in that area. The shugenja could determine which Air kami's are strong enough to change trajectories. But what would be the next step? Would a kami disclose that they have used their power to another person? Are there any other signs that an invocation has been used?

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4 hours ago, Tonbo Karasu said:

Which implies that they normally wouldn't be hidden.

That would mean that participant B wasn't the one casting the invocation, but someone else, for example in the crowd and probably at the back. Thanks that is helpful.
 

4 hours ago, Tonbo Karasu said:

That sounds like a reasonable question to ask as part of a Commune with the Spirits ritual.

Wouldn't this lead the shugenja when asking the question if an invocation has been used, to the answer is being yes (for example by letting a leaf drift into the shugenja's shoulder). That is useful information for sure, but we don't know were (somewhere within the range bands)  and when (today or 100 years ago). The location could be more specified if the shugenja searches for capable kami's, I assume. Would it be reasonable that NPCs need to give an offer to the kami when they cast an incovation and then bits of that offer could be found near the communicated Air kami's location?

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Posted (edited)

Even if it wasn't the participant per se, people would notice someone casting an invocation hidden in a crowd. Unless you are trained by the Soshi.

Yes, it is possible to find the rest of the offering to a kami in the vicinity, if you know what you are looking for. Then again, evidence means mostly nothing in Rokugan, so if both participant A and participant B are of relatively the same status, then the judge can decide either way. Ideally, the evidence presented can help the judge make a better decision, but again, no guarantees. Also, spiritual testimony is not accepted in a court. So asking a kami means nothing.

Of course, if participant A is given enough evidence that he was cheated and victory is still given to participant B. Participant A could call for a duel against participant B (with victory conditions and type of duel decided by the lord of the land).

Edited by Diogo Salazar

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Kiso said:

That would mean that participant B wasn't the one casting the invocation, but someone else, for example in the crowd and probably at the back. Thanks that is helpful

There's also the question of how the invocation effect was used. Performing an invocation is never stealthy (because soshi school) and as a rule if you're hidden enough not to be noticed you're also hidden enough that you're out of range, line of sight, or both.

If I wanted to discretely sabotage a kyutujutsu contest, I'd default to prepared wards. That way the noisy invocation happens elsewhere.

Assuming the other archer is good, put a ward of Blessed Wind on a prayer slip pasted to the back of the target, centre bullseye.

The first bullseye results in the arrow-tip piercing the ward, triggering the invocation, and applying obscuring terrain to their target for a few rounds.

Unlike something like Summon Fog for a smokescreen or Token Of Memory to 'move' the target a bit when you opponent isn't looking, there's nothing too obvious in the effect for a third party to see provided you've not set the targets up on sand or something.

I'd agree that commune with the Spirits (Air) would reveal the invocation was used, and for the less magically inclined (But more observant) the torn prayer slip on the back of the target is a decent "hmmm.....that looks significant" clue.

Neither carries enough legal weight to convict someone, but it probably will convince a genuinely impartial observer to commission a discrete investigation.

Since performing the obviously audible and visible invocation and offerings would have been done somewhere else private, finding that somewhere gives you a starting point to investigate.

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

I'd default to prepared wards. That way the noisy invocation happens elsewhere.

That is a nice idea and one that would work nicely in the Who-Casts-That-Invocation mystery (something different than the standard murder mystery).

After thinking a little bit about the nature of casting invocations, I tend to drift in a different direction than what has been discussed here. I think the Soshi school ability would apply to people who can directly see you. If you would cast an invocation, they would easily noticed that, those kind of situation the school ability allows you to hide your prayers. But if nobody is paying attention to you, I think that any shugenja with a little bit of cleverness is able to hide their prayers. You can compare this with prayer to God, you can give your prayers while riding the train and have nobody notice you. Now a better way would to say it out loud. As far as I know that also apply how people are praying in Shintoism. I couldn't find anything in the core 5th rule book how prayers for invocations are done exactly, but the 4th edition on page 164 tells us the following:

Quote

Because the kami must hear the prayers, spells are normally spoken aloud. It is possible to conceal a spell, however, by muttering the prayers under one’s breath. See the Stealth Skill earlier in this chapter for details.

And the relevant text on the Stealth check:

Quote

The Spell Casting Emphasis allows you to make a Contested Roll against an opponent’s Investigation (Notice) / Perception when casting a spell. If you win, they are unable to determine where the spell originated from.

 

Edited by Kiso

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On 4/28/2020 at 9:45 PM, Kiso said:

That is a nice idea and one that would work nicely in the Who-Casts-That-Invocation mystery (something different than the standard murder mystery).

After thinking a little bit about the nature of casting invocations, I tend to drift in a different direction than what has been discussed here. I think the Soshi school ability would apply to people who can directly see you. If you would cast an invocation, they would easily noticed that, those kind of situation the school ability allows you to hide your prayers. But if nobody is paying attention to you, I think that any shugenja with a little bit of cleverness is able to hide their prayers. You can compare this with prayer to God, you can give your prayers while riding the train and have nobody notice you. Now a better way would to say it out loud. As far as I know that also apply how people are praying in Shintoism. I couldn't find anything in the core 5th rule book how prayers for invocations are done exactly, but the 4th edition on page 164 tells us the following:

Because the kami must hear the prayers, spells are normally spoken aloud. It is possible to conceal a spell, however, by muttering the prayers under one’s breath. See the Stealth Skill earlier in this chapter for details.

And the relevant text on the Stealth check:

  Quote

The Spell Casting Emphasis allows you to make a Contested Roll against an opponent’s Investigation (Notice) / Perception when casting a spell. If you win, they are unable to determine where the spell originated from.

 

I think this is very interesting in conjunction with the Soshi school.

Is it then implied that the Soshi does this(hiding the spell) without even having to roll, could they then use the stealth ontop of it our would it be instead of?

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Posted (edited)

Those are quotes from 4e and I'm not sure we should apply those rules to 5e, given how the Soshi school works here. Or rather, they definitely do not apply as such.

I might allow Air opportunities on the regular Theology roll for raising the TN to notice an invocation as a Soshi and something like two opportunities for a weaker version for everyone else. Maybe...

I'd say the trick to hiding that you're casting if you're not from the Soshi school is to have a distraction, so that people aren't looking at and listening to you. Hide it in a chant that is going on anyway or something like that.

Edited by Myrion

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3 hours ago, Myrion said:

Hide it in a chant that is going on anyway or something like that.

In that situation would probably allow some sort of check to notice it - in this situation probably Scrutinise/Theology - hearing the chant isn't the problem but knowing enough about prayers to the Kami to go ".....hang on, that prayer sounds suspiciously like an invocation rather than a generic blessing."

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The issue in either case is going to be timing and range. 

Assuming the archery contest is between decent archers, the target(s) will probably be at range 4-5, and no-one is going to be allowed closer to them whilst someone is shooting. I think that's out of range of most useful invocations.

Getting in range to use an invocation 'live' may not be easy.

If you're a walk-on shujenga blessing the target range beforehand, fine, but then you're kind of and obvious suspect even if no-one specifically noticed you perform the invocation.

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On 4/28/2020 at 9:45 PM, Kiso said:

After thinking a little bit about the nature of casting invocations, I tend to drift in a different direction than what has been discussed here. I think the Soshi school ability would apply to people who can directly see you. If you would cast an invocation, they would easily noticed that, those kind of situation the school ability allows you to hide your prayers. But if nobody is paying attention to you, I think that any shugenja with a little bit of cleverness is able to hide their prayers. You can compare this with prayer to God, you can give your prayers while riding the train and have nobody notice you. Now a better way would to say it out loud.

Note that the Soshi school ability is two-fold:

Quote

The Kami’s Whisper (School Ability): While you are performing an invocation technique or channeling, characters with a vigilance lower than or equal to your school rank plus one cannot detect any physical sign that you are in the act of invoking the spirits. They can still observe effects of the invocation, however.
Increase the TN of Theology checks to detect or study your supernatural activities by your school rank.

So it is implied that studying someone's supernatural activity is a Theology check. Since part one governs noticing active spellcasting, it must be assumed that it refers to studying an invocation after the casting has finished.

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On 4/30/2020 at 4:43 PM, Magnus Grendel said:

Assuming the archery contest is between decent archers, the target(s) will probably be at range 4-5, and no-one is going to be allowed closer to them whilst someone is shooting. I think that's out of range of most useful invocations.

You are right, the archers are standing 28m (30.6 yards) from the goal (mato) when shooting, so that would be range 4. The spectators will be standing or sitting around the shooting area, except for the behind the azuchi (the area of the goals). An example of this happening during a kyudo tournament: Link to Youtube
So a spectator can sit within 9m (10 yards, range 3) of the mato, just as an Air kami can. Making it possible for a spectator to perform an invocation. Now the invocation doesn't need to be anything flashing, if the invocation is used during the final shoot out between two people, the invocation can simply blow the arrow in the right direction. During the shoot out in kyudo only one person shoots at a time, this probably applies too in the Rokugani setting.

On 4/30/2020 at 10:00 AM, Myrion said:

I might allow Air opportunities on the regular Theology roll for raising the TN to notice an invocation as a Soshi and something like two opportunities for a weaker version for everyone else.

What ever the NPC did is not important, it just needs to be plausible. It is not like a PC helping with cheating during the tournament (lose honor if they did). A NPC doesn't have to be bound by PC capabilities anyway, or what if the NPC has used a rank 5 invocation and the PCs are rank 1-2, they wouldn't know which invocation has been used.

----
On another note, who is to say that the shugenja spectator isn't from the Soshi family or isn't using meishodo? If the spectator isn't using meishodo, then searching for kami capable of controlling wind at range 3 could be a part of pin pointing the location of the shugenja spectator.
 

On 4/28/2020 at 5:12 PM, Magnus Grendel said:

If I wanted to discretely sabotage a kyutujutsu contest, I'd default to prepared wards. That way the noisy invocation happens elsewhere.

Assuming the other archer is good, put a ward of Blessed Wind on a prayer slip pasted to the back of the target, centre bullseye.

The first bullseye results in the arrow-tip piercing the ward, triggering the invocation, and applying obscuring terrain to their target for a few rounds.

Thinking about it a little bit more, this solution wouldn't work. You see, during the tournament the mato's wouldn't be changed. After each round (the archers having shot 4 arrows) the arrows would be removed. In the next round another group of archers would use the same mato's. While the ward would effect probably the last 3 arrows, it wouldn't be enough to win the tournament. The more people there are, the more round there will be.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/30/2020 at 9:30 AM, Chilitoke said:

Is it then implied that the Soshi does this(hiding the spell) without even having to roll, could they then use the stealth ontop of it our would it be instead of?

How I'm reading the Soshi school ability, yes you can use the ability without having to make a roll (for people with a vigilance lower than or equal to their school rank). And I would say that it would be instead, but that probably depends on the narrative and how the GM would interpreted the situation. But you could argue that, when making a stealthy invocation in close approximation of a person with vigilance higher than them and the TN would be lets say TN 4, a Soshi shugenja could perform that invocation for TN 2. That would be in line with the lore I think.

Edited by Kiso

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You misunderstood me. I'm saying there's no stealth skill in 5e and so there's no way to use the stealth skill with an invocation to cast stealthily. That is entirely a 4e thing. An NPC can do whatever, anyway, but this is for PCs. 

 

Instead, I'd allow an opportunity spend to do so. Probably tied to the air ring, allowing Soshi to raise the limit on their school ability (so they fool people with higher vigilance than normal) and allowing non-Soshi to approximate the Soshi technique (but not as well).

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