Saturday, July 3, 2010

L5R 4E - Samurai Weapons

L5R 4E - Samurai Weapons
Togashi Shinjitsu

You may be asking "why are there so few Samurai weapons?" when so many of the schools hang their simple action attack hat on them.
The simple answer is that we wanted the general focus to be on swordfighting. Samurai are supposed to be good with their swords.
Tradition in rokugan places epic respect on the daisho, and this then feeds the following chicken and the egg arguments:

Samurai are given swords because they are respected. Samurai are respected because they have swords.
Samurai are skilled in the use of their katana because they use it all the time. Samurai use their katana all the time because they are skilled in its use.

So, in order to place serious emphasis on the Daisho in general use, most schools allow simple attacks with Samurai weapons at some point.

We then carefully considered whether or not *most* schools should have equal proficiency with any other weapons.
To maintain the flavour of each school, we debated each potential weapon hotly. Much reference to fiction, potential enemies and setting were made during these debates.
I'm happy to say most of the time, schools start to look, move and feel like they should by the time their simple attacks come up.

This means that we didn't assign the Samurai keyword to many weapons at all.
We wanted to make sure that the flavour of schools was maintained. There is a reason for stereotypes, and especially in Rokugan, where tradition holds a LOT of sway.

This also allows for future 'paths' that replace the 'simple action attack' rank to provide a different weapon array.
This has the benefit of instantly changing the focus of the character, and providing a lot more flavour than just "oh, I'm an Akodo that uses bows rather than a sword".
Suddenly it can become "I am a student of the Akodo Starfall Kyujutsu Ryu! When I draw my yumi and fire, it is as if the heavens rain death upon my target!"

All the "traditional Samurai" weapons were given a good going over to determine whether or not they should be given the Samurai keyword. Most didn't make the cut.
We also wanted to keep the power level from escalating, and by providing ranged simple actions to only a few select schools, we were able to prevent our combats devolving into ranged exchanges.
We paid close attention to the idea that schools should maintain their 'flavour', even in a ranged combat.
For example - Tsuruchi maintain their dominance of footsoldier archery, the Otaku make terrifying horse archers, Akodo and Kakita make wonderful snipers.

All without giving simple attack carte blanche to all the traditional weapons.

That being said, this is Rokugan-for-the-Players, so if you want to widen access to the weapons that most people can use simple attacks with, designate them Samurai weapons.

1 comment:

  1. I think part of the challenge of L5R is persuading players that the Katana and/or wakizashi symbolizes the samurai like no other weapon.
    If you are playing a samurai from a great or minor clan there is an obligation that you carry one and know how to use it. I have an in-house rule that if any of my samurai PCs desire to be a specialist in a particular chain weapon (for example) they will begin to accrue infamy levels and attention from indignant Crane and Matsu duelists! What school they belong to is the obviious caveat to this 'ruling' and no-one has complained so far and they still play in my games....
    Miya Suko