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Yet more L5R stuff

Special Attacks

Called Shot: you may may called shots, but at a penalty. Roll two fewer dice for attacks to arms and legs, four fewer for an attack to the eyes, etc.

Disarm: Roll three fewer dice. If you hit, you deal no damage. If you roll raises equal to your STR - opponent's STR, they drop their weapon.

(A common tactic is to use Full Attack for a disarm attempt. In "The Book of Five Rings," Miyamoto Musashi called this "The Red Leaves Cut.")

Feint: Not an attack, but an attempt to gain an advantage is combat. Roll weapon skill + AGL. Subtract your opponent's INT, PER, or weapon skill, whichever is highest, from your successes. Keep the remaining sucesses.

Push back: Roll one fewer die. If you hit, you deal no damage, but you push your foe back a number of steps equal to your STR - opponent's STR, plus your raises.


More L5R stuff


The basics:
The attacker rolls Agility + Weapon skill. The defender can choose to either "parry, " and roll Reflexes + Weapon skill, or "dodge," rolling Reflexes + Defense skill. If the defender rolls more successes, the attacker misses. Otherwise the defender takes damage equal to the base damage for the weapon, plus one for every extra success.

You can't parry arrows.

Total Damage taken: Effect
Earth x1 or less : None
More than Earth x1 : -1 dice rolled for all rolls
More than Earth x2 : -2
More than Earth x3 : -3
More than Earth x4 : -4
More than Earth x5 : Down
More than Earth x6 : Dying. Roll Stamina, with no penalties, each round. If you roll no successes, the character dies.
More than Earth x7 : Dead


Katana: STR+5.
Wakizashi STR+3.
No-Dachi or Daikatana (two-handed katana): 2xSTR+1. Roll 2 fewer dice when parrying or dodging.
Tachi (old-fashioned sword) STR+3. Carrying one of these is definitely a "style over substance" move. +1 intimidate.

Arrow: 5.
Armor Piercing Arrow: 4, but ignore two points of armor.
Rope cutting arrow: 3. Ignore the first two dice of penalty for aiming at a small target.

Kusari (chain): STR+2. If you successfully parry, add those extra successes to your next attack.
Kamagusari or Kusarigama: This is just a kama with a chain attached to the handle. Typically, a samurai will parry with the chain and then attack with the sickle.
Manrikigusari or Kusari-fundo (long chain with weights at the end): STR+3. Two-handed. If you spend a turn spinning it, it becomes a long weapon, and you may roll 2 more dice when using the Guard maneuver.

HEAVY WEAPONS All are two-handed.
Dai Tsuchi (warhammer): 2xSTR. Ignores armor. Roll 2 fewer dice when parrying or dodging.
Ono (great big axe): 3xSTR-2. Two-handed.
Tetsubo (literally, "iron staff." Sort of a long baseball bat with ridges and bumps to make it hurt more): STR+4. Two-handed. Ignores armor.

Blowgun dart: 3. These are typically poisoned.
Ninja-to (ninja sword): STR+3.
Shuko (tiger claws): STR+2. Roll two extra dice for climb checks.
Shuriken (throwing star): STR. You may throw multiple shuriken at once. Roll one less die for every extra shuriken.

Bo (Staff): STR+3. +2 to parry. Two-handed.
Jo (short staff): STR+1. +1 to parry. If you have another one in your off hand, you can trade in three success for a second attack!
Kama (sickle): STR+2. Instead of adding raises to damage, add 3 damage for every two raises.
Kumade (cheap spear. Often a piece of bamboo with one end whittled to a point ): As per yari, but if you roll no successes, it breaks. Long weapon. Two-handed.
Masakari (axe): 2xSTR.
Nunchaku (you know what these are): STR+2. If you have another one in your off hand, you can trade in three success for a second attack!
Tonfa: STR +1. +1 to parry. If you have another one in your off hand, you can trade in three success for a second attack!
Yari (spear): STR+3. If you or your opponent are in Counterattack stance, add two dice to your roll. Long. Two-handed.

Lance or Uma-yari: STR+2. If you're mounted and charging, add Horsemanship skill to damage. Long.
Naginata or Bisento (short sword blade on a pole): STR+3. Roll an extra die when attacking or defending. Two-handed.
Nagamaki (halberd): 2xSTR+1. Two-handed.
Pike or Nagayari: An extra-long spear used to deter cavalry charges. Not a hand-to-hand weapon; roll two less dice when attacking. Used almost exclusively with the Guard maneuver. Very long. Two-handed.
Yari (spear): STR+3. You can Guard with a spear, even if you don't know the maneuver. Long. Two-handed.

Jitte (sword catcher): STR+2. After a successful parry, all raises turn into kept dice on your next attack, IF you make an attempt to disarm.
Gunsen (war fan): STR+1. No penalty when trying to parry arrows. If you have another one in your off hand, you can trade in three success for a second attack!
Tessen (large war fan): STR+2. No penalty when trying to parry arrows. Two-handed.

STANCE: Anyone may assume the following stances.

Defensive stance or Full Defense: You give up your attack, but until your next turn, you defend by rolling Reflexes + Weapon skill + Defense skill.

Offensive stance or Full Offense: You roll Agility + Strength + Weapon skill to attack, but until your next turn, your TN to be hit is 1. Gulp.

Counterattack stance: You give up your attack, but until your next turn, you may defend with Reflexes + Weapon skill. If you roll more success than your attack, you hit them. If you roll the same number of successes, you hit each other!

If they have to move to attack you, and you have a longer weapon, add 1 to your weapon skill.

N.B. stance is fairly obvious. NPCs will often avoid attacking characters in defensive or counterattack stance, targeting those in full attack stance instead.


Curiously, that's also how samurai dealt with peasants. Anyhow, I need a place to store the rules for the game I'm running, so they might as well go here.


Character creation rules are available under "Book of Earth" on LastHaiku. Spells and kiho (Martial Arts Moves) are in "Book of Void."

I'm messing with the skills, like so:

I'm dropping "Mastery" abilities, except for Bugei skills.

All "Lore" specialties are separate skills.

"Temptation" is now a High skill. The nobility spend a lot of time tempting each other.

There are also three new skills, The first is a High Skill: Bun-bu-ichi, otherwise known as "Obtuse." Much of this courtly stuff won't affect you if you don't care about it. This is the skill of ignoring it, or dismissing it as a waste of time. (BTW, bun-bu-ichi was real thing. It's literal meaning is "The pen and sword are one." Irony is not a modern invention.)

The second is also a High skill: Games. The nobility have a lot of ways to pass time, don't they. Specialities include Go, Shogi (Japanese chess,) Kite Flying, and Kemari (an ancient Japanese game indistinguishable from hackysack.)

The third is a Bugei skill, Tactics. If one person is being attacked by many, the attackers may all also add their Tactics skill to their weapon skills.

Something about skills that's not changing is that Courtier is the "make some guy do something" social skill. Etiquette, according to the L5R rulebook, is the defensive social skill, the ability to say "Thank you, I'd rather not" and make it stick.


Roll Stat + Skill on any-sided dice. Evens are successes, odds are not. You want to roll successes equal to a "target number" (TN). Each success above that s a "raise" under the standard L5R rules.

(Most of the time, I'm not going to roll the dice, and instead assuming that NPCs get 0.5 successes per die.)

If you want, you can turn those extra successes into kept dice. Kept dice may be spent by adding them to a later roll, if you can justify it, i.e. "My haiku made him think about the impermanence of life, so his mind is not fully on this combat." You have to decide to add them before you roll the dice, though.

You can only keep the dice from a single roll. If you get raises later, you can't add them to your pool of kept dice. You can, however, replace your kept dice with the raises from another roll.

Many times, raises can be spent on Glory points (see "Glory" below.)


Rolling an extra die is still rolling an extra die. Keeping an extra die means rolling two extra dice. Rolling and keeping an extra die thus means you roll three more dice.

An TN of 5 equals one success. An TN 10 is two successes. You get the idea.

There are a bunch of School abilities that say something like "add your Agility to your roll." In these cases, roll extra dice equal to half your ability, dropping fractions.

VOID: After you see the results of a roll, you can choose to spend a Void. This has one of two effects:

- Reroll all your dice that do not show successes.

- Roll another dice. If that dice is a success, roll it again. Keep on rolling until you fail. Add all successes to your total.

If you have special abilities that let you roll 2K2 when you spend void, you may do either of these twice, or one of each.

COMBAT: Fights start with rolling for initiative, namely Reflexes + Iaijutsu. Raises from this roll are usually kept, but they can be spent on Glory instead.

Combat is usually Agility + Weapon Skill vs. either Reflexes + Weapon Skill or Reflexes + Defense. Each raise is usually added to your damage dice, but you can also keep dice, or use them for a variety of special abilities.

SPELLCASTING: roll Ring + Insight Rank. If you're casting an Air spell, roll Air plus whatever your Insight rank is. For a Fire spell, roll Fire + Rank. To successfully cast a spell, you need successes equal to the spell's level. Each additional success is a raise, as usual.

If you have a scroll of a spell you don't know, you can cast it by reading the scroll, but you have to take it out of whatever you're carrying it in, and then unroll it. This is going to take at least a round. Also, you're looking at the scroll, not the target. If the spell has to be aimed, you'll need an extra success, or it will go off somewhere in front of you.

Once you have a scroll, it takes 2 XP and a week to learn it.


The rulebooks says these are very important, but they don't have much of an effect in game. Let's fix that.

These three attributes have a decimal place. They appear on the character sheet like "4.3" or "5.5". The number to the left of the decimal is your Rank, i.e. if you Honor is 5.8, your Honor Rank is 5. If you have to roll one of these, you roll dice equal to your Rank. If you have abilities that work if your Honor or Glory is higher than someone else's, that refers to your Rank in that attribute..

Honor, Glory, and Status are gained and lost in tenths of a Rank, usually referred to as points. If you gain 3 honor points, your Honor goes up by 0.3.


STATUS measures your position in Rogukani society. Its prime game-mechanical effect is, if someone with a higher status tell you to do something and you refuse, you lose the difference between your Status in honor points!

HONOR is basically your social hit points. If it drops to zero, you kill youself, or at least decide the life of a wandering samurai is terrible and become a monk or a farmer or something. In any case, the character is out of the game.

GLORY is your public face, your social reputation. In the gift-based economy of Rokugani nobility, it's also the money equivalent. You do glorious deeds, and then subtly hint what you might like to have. Some noble gives it to you, and everyone thinks "Oh, samurai-sama did that on the orders of that daimyo." Your Glory drops, his goes up. But you have a new, shinier sword!

Spell scrolls cost 1.0 Glory Ranks per level.


A Badger, a Crab, a Crane, and a Dragon enter a lord's castle. The decorator had an Awareness of 2, and Artist 4. (2+4)/2 = 3, so that's the TN the PCs need to be unimpressed.

The Badger doesn't have any applicable skills, so he rolls his Willpower, and gets 1 success. 2 dice will be kept against him.

The Crab rolls Willpower + Bun-bu-ichi. 3 successes. Feh, money that could have been spent on spears has been spent on flowers and paint.

The Crane rolls Intelligence + Artist, and gets no successes. He spends a Void. His first roll is a success, so he rolls again. That one is also a success, so he rolls a second time, which is also a success, so he rolls a third time. That one is a failure, leaving him with a total of two successes. One die will be kept against him.

The Dragon rolls Willpower + Meditation, gets 4 successes. He's paying attention to the nothingness beyond self, and ignores the art on the walls. His inner calm allows him to keep a die.

They're ushered in to the Lord's presence. He informs them that his court is sharing their poetry, and "invites" them to participate.

The Crab responds that his poetry is written with a sword, not a pen. Uh-oh. That's the sort of statement that could make things go very wrong. Also, the lord is Status 5, and the PCs are all Status 1, so a simple refusal would cost him 4 honor points. The Crab rolls a second Willpower + Bun-bu-ichi roll, and gets 3 successes. Ordinarily, this would mean he'd lose a point of honor. Instead, the lord accepts his offer to use his sword skill for the lord, in place of his skill at poetry.

The Badger actually has Poetry 1, and rolls Awareness + Poetry. ("Awareness" is the system's Charisma equivalent) and get a success.

But then, one of the Lord's courtiers tells a better poem, with 2 successes. The dice that were being kept against the Badger are rolled. They add another success, for a total of 3 successes. That two more than the poor Badger had, so he loses two glory points!

The Crane has no interest in losing either Honor or Glory, he he trots out the all-purpose defensive social skill, Etiquette, and suggests that his poetry is not grand enough for his lordship's ears, but his companion, the Dragon, is a poet of some renown in his homeland. His Etiquette + Awareness roll gives him 4 successes, but the die that was kept against him is rolled, and is also a success. This puts him a success down, but his throwing the Dragon under the bus means that instead of his losing an honor point, another die will be kept against the Dragon.

The Dragon gestures for silence, and sits in quiet meditation. He's not refusing the Lord's request, but he's not fulfilling it right away, either. He loses half the honor points a refusal would have cost him. His Honor drops from 4.0 to 3.8.

Meanwhile, the Dragon's player rolls Willpower + Meditation, and gets 3 successes. He keeps them all, losing the kept die from his previous roll. He rises to speak, The character has no Poetry skill, but rolls his Awareness plus the three kept dice he's spending, and gets three successes. That's one more than the previous high roll, so he takes a Glory point.



Games I want to run:

Legend of the 5 Rings. The Seven Clans plot and war against each other, while Fu Leng, the Abandoned One, waits to destroy them all.

Why I want to run it: First, I already promised I would. Second, the background is both seriously nifty and massively described online. If anyone wants to know something about the gameworld, they can look it up themselves.

Why I don't: I want to rip out the roll & keep system, and put something else in its place. I've played in games with roll & keep and been fine with it, but I have problems with GMing that system. It handles physical combat well, but glosses over social conflict, and I want that to be a major part of the game. I need a game mechanic that will give you an actual, measured-in-numbers advantage if your character comes up with a better haiku than the next guy. Just like in real life! (Around the two hour mark, meetings around here get a bit strange.)

I've got a pretty good idea of what mechanic I want to use, but it may require Fudge dice, or something similarly strange.

Ironclaw. Anthropomorphic animals in a neo-Renaissance setting swashbuckle their way to wealth and fame! And fight dinosaurs!

Why I want to run it: Because the last time we played, the players left great steaming piles of plot hooks everywhere: A wealthy banker and his teenage sorceress daughter are miffed at them. The Advanced Magic class at Miss Terwilliger's Academy for Young Ladies has been arrested for witchcraft and arson. Archimedes Strix is still out there in dragon-form.

And I never even got into all the religious conflicts in the setting, or the emerging middle class' struggles with the old nobility!

Why I don't: Not everyone is as interested as I am in stories about Renaissance theology and economics, even/especially when told through the medium of furries.

Annals of the Torchwood Society. Victorian adventurers, aided by the scientific discoveries of Doctors Moreau, Cavor, and Jeckyll, defend the Empire from otherworldly threats!

Why I want to run it: It'd be appealingly gruesome, with players boiling werewolf parts to make Dr. Bluer's Therianthropic Regenerative Lotion and the like. There's also a system for building steampunk gadgetry I'd like to try. Besides, I've got the plot already mapped out.

Why I don't: Might share too many tropes with the Pulp game we finished last year.

Pirates! Put D&D-esque characters on a ship. Give them a Letter of Marque, and cannons. Then start the End the World. Hijinks will ensue.

Why I want to run it: I have a LOT of miniatures. This would be a chance to use them, as well as Savage World's 50 Fathoms and Pirates of the Spanish Main, which I can mine for plotty goodness. Now that i think about it, the only game I don't have fully plotted out is the one I'll actually be running. Hm.

Why I don't: Trying to put a maximum on the "games I want to run" list. Not succeeding, but trying.

What games haven't you got around to running yet?

Where the weekend went.

So I don't forget...

Friday: Dinner at Bernadette's. That woman can cook. Stuff I wouldn't have thought of, either.

Saturday: Lunch with Vval and Michel. He and I have been hanging out a bit recently. I've know him since I was...six? eight? Something like that. He lives in Hamburg these days, and until he came back to town, I hadn't seen him in twenty years. That's a lot of catching up.

Halloween party with B that evening. Great party, but I wasn't into it for some reason. Couldn't really connect with anyone, had a hard time starting conversations. You know how it is. Or maybe you don't, in which case you're luckier than you'll ever know.

Sunday: B & I went for a walk along the Potomac river and the canal. Ten miles, I think. At least nine, which is respectable. Collapsed at her place afterwards, watching Netflix. We don't like the same shows, which makes finding stuff to watch a bit of a challenge, but we manage.

How was your weekend?

Where the Weekend Went

Friday: a reading of The Vagina Monologues. Probably the only time I'll be asked to read for that.

Saturday: Had brunch with the guy who was my best friend when I was in 4th grade. He's changed a bit since then.

That night I picked B up after her conference, and took her out to dinner. I wasn't feeling well, so I couldn't eat anything; she was starving, so she ate what we both ordered. Nothing goes to waste.

Sunday: RenFest with Vval. RenFest is RenFesty.

Where'd your weekend go?

Yeah, I still exist.

It costs about ten bucks to bribe the DJ at a wedding to play "The Rains of Castamere." Best money you'll ever spend.

It's B's birthday!

So everyone wish her a happy birthday here, whether you know her or not. It'll be fun!

Where the weekend went

The parties were great this weekend. Everything else was awful.


If you can't win the game, change the rules

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