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Rank 2 of the (Shark Clan) Jirozame Bushi school's rank 2 technique Eyes of the Predator states:

In the wild many animals are paralyzed when faced with a clearly superior predator, and the Shark bring this attitude to the fight, purging all emotion from their mind to establish superiority. Before initiative is rolled (or before the Assessment roll in a iaijutsu duel) you can make an Intimidation/Awareness roll, contested by your opponent’s Honor/Willpower. If successful, you can add +5 to your Initiative roll, or to your Focus roll in a iaijutsu duel.

Using Intimidation normally makes your character lose honor. Does using this rank still make me lose Honor?

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    \$\begingroup\$ A bit of Googling indicates that the Jirozame Bushi school is unofficial/"homebrew" content (originally posted on the old AEG forums by the author of the Minor Clans segment in the book The Imperial Archives, which itself didn't contain any schools for those clans). Is that correct? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Sep 28 at 1:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, the Lost Clans were made by the team responsible for the fourth edition of Legend of the Five Rings, so its kind of the Unearthed Arcana from DnD. \$\endgroup\$ – Fvalley Sep 28 at 10:23
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For my answer, I am basing it off of the following link Lost Clan Schools

Yes, You Risk Losing Honor

Pure RAW, it is a low skill use. Nothing in the School's description mentions honor loss from using intimidate or any low skill. However, you start with 2.5 honor, and none of the school abilities seem to be rooted in your honor. According to the honor loss/gains chart, using a low skill with a 2 Honor is only a -1. When combined with the Rank 5 ability, that -1 Honor also helps bump your initiative to +15, +25 if you centered the round before (re: iaijutsu).

The Loss May Not Qualify

The description of the ability sounds like the Jirozame in question just gets "ice water in their veins". Their intimidation factor comes from clearing their mind and being ready to attack without hesitation, which shakes their opponent, and not to bully or torture people. In combat, especially when it's openly declared or an iaijutsu duel, there are certain exceptions to what is considered "honorable".

My Personal Take

It would seem to be a weak rank 2 ability to lose honor for +5 init when you still have to make a roll for it to succeed. As stated in another answer, GM caveat would probably let you get away without the Honor loss (or forget). Comparing to something like the Matsu Berserker Rank 2, which requires a hit for damage then a target declaration, then they get a willpower roll and they can't use move actions until their next Reaction. Although the the technique does work best when picking on weaker opponents (low willpower, Honor), which could be considered a loss of Honor anyway based on circumstances. The biggest catch (hah) to me is how this applies in anything but single combat. Once again moving to GM caveat, but I feel like this would have been better served as "pick an opponent and give them -5", but that's not what's in dispute today.

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Given that some techniques such as rank 1 of the Shosuro Infiltrator school (L5R 129) or the Sesai Ninja Alternate Path (BoV 182) have reducing honour losses explicitly built into them I think it's safe to assume that the Shark get no special treatment here.

It's up to your GM but the way I see it you are staying from the tenet of Honour: On the one hand all you are doing is clearing your mind of all emotion, becoming the perfect predator, on the other; you know what you are doing is intended to manipulate your opponent and inflict them with that split second of sinful fear.

That said the Matsu Berserker School's second technique revolves around freezing their opponents with fear without any intimidation roll whatsoever so who knows?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The Yoritomo Bushi school is also a great example, since it is the same "family" of school. \$\endgroup\$ – CatLord Oct 2 at 12:26

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