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The Touch of the Void isn't meant to be a particularly deadly flaw, but one that makes spending void in combat quite a gamble - resulting in a good chance that your next round will be spent dazed:

TOUCH OF THE VOID [SPIRITUAL] (3 POINTS)

[...] Whenever you draw upon the Void, the effect is powerful, but can overwhelm you. When you spend a Void Point to augment a roll, you gain a bonus of +2k1 instead of +1k1. Every time you spend a Void Point, however, you must succeed at a Willpower Trait Roll (TN 30) or be Dazed for one Round.1

However, there's a problem: The potential of lacking a Round only endangers you really in combat. In situations where rounds - measured in seconds, and typically less than 102 - are indifferent because the action for the roll itself is measured in minutes, hours, or days, being dazed for one round becomes a non-factor: When you track a runaway, 10 seconds don't matter and the character plays over the dazed moment in which you get -3k0 3 as "I had to find my focus". When in court, you hide your short fainting with the fan... In fact, in many more social situations, there's little to no downside to calling upon the void to augment the pool!

Do I miss something or does nothing rein in the use of Void with Touch of the Void on rolls that represent things out of combat, where being dazed does not complicate things usually?


1 - Legends of the 5 Rings core rulebook, 4th Edition, p.162.
2 - Legends of the 5 Rings core rulebook, 4th Edition, p.81.
3 - Legends of the 5 Rings core rulebook, 4th Edition, p.89.

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2 Answers 2

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Combat is the most mechanically certain way this can be a problem. Notably, I think that caveat was more about not having the ability abused in Iaijutsu duels more than anything since Dazed explicitly forbids participating in one. (Although I did once make a Kakita Duelist with this disad solely to make things interesting.)

That said the main interference (without getting abstract) would be the restriction of only being able to take Defense or Full Defense stances. That means an inactive moment can't be used to "Center" for a later bonus (a stance that's far more useful outside of combat), and I would posit that when casting a spell being Dazed would constitute a distraction big enough to require a concentration roll. Although despite the "Daze" condition stating you can only use Defense/Full Defense they use a Dazed character making an attack roll in the Dice Penalties sidebar which sends mixed messages.

A gray area, but well worth consideration, is there could be adverse effects on things like cumulative rolls, especially for crafting which could cost a whole time increment and materials in that regard. If it only takes one moment's Void roll to apply to days of crafting, then multiple rounds of being Dazed must provide some effect. That is to say, you're losing focus for exactly as long as you've had a zen moment which would change the circumstances before the minimum crafting period expired and demand a reroll. It could turn into a game of void points vs willpower rolls since nothing says you can't VP a Dazed roll and still get -1k0/+0k1 in the end.

Some non-combat actions get critical quickly, such as athletics or riding where even a momentary slip up can be disastrous. For example, I would really not like to take -3k0 while swimming, climbing, doing parkour... for even as small as ten seconds.

Lastly, social "combat" can be by the moment. If you get into a battle of wits, a pause and disassociation could be seen as being rattled. Combat is a very subjective word, and I mean that solely as being there's opposition. It could be a haiku contest and you falter when it's your next turn, you could be in a game of kemari and drop the ball, you could be in a performance and not only miss your cue but might be doing nothing while everyone is watching. Thanks to the trappings of Honor, looking foolish in front of others even briefly can be "damaging".

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Problematic hiccup: You only roll the spell roll in the last round you need to cast the spell. So Dazed does nothing to the spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented Feb 8, 2023 at 14:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Trish: You roll on the first round according to "Actions & Casting Time" (163) because you need to be able to make raises to reduce casting time. "Mastery Level 3 ... Spell Casting Roll in the first round, expend another Complex Action the second round to maintain the casting process, and complete the spell in the third round" \$\endgroup\$
    – CatLord
    Commented Feb 8, 2023 at 16:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ huh... my GM was sloppy then when they told the Shugenja to wait... still... you don't seem to argue the problem about the rolls where the roll represents hours or days of work - e.g. crafting rolls. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented Feb 8, 2023 at 17:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ Or in other words: the question was specifically worded to situations ", where being dazed does not complicate things usually" - which is exactly what you don't answer about. Your argument is "In combat" (which was decidedly cut out), "in social combat" (which would be a complication, so cut out), and whatever you say about crafting - that sentence is anything but clear, especially with the rules on Touch of the void talking distinctively about "one Round", which is a single round of combat, less than 10 seconds. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented Feb 8, 2023 at 17:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Trish: It could have been a house rule, and I get if it was to curb metagaming ("I failed the spell so I won't do all 3 turns"). Social "combat" is more tongue in cheek. It's just an on the fly situation where timing matters. I will revisit my post though. \$\endgroup\$
    – CatLord
    Commented Feb 9, 2023 at 12:43
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My interpretation of it is that you spend the VP, roll Willpower, then make the original roll. That way if you fail and your action isn't nullified by being forced into a Defense Stance you then take the -3k0 to the roll in addition to the +2k1 from the Void point.

This makes spending Void Points on any dice pool that isn't rolling at least 2 more dice than it keeps disastrous (2k2 becomes 1k1, 3k2 -> 2k2, 4k2 -> 3k3). Ring and Trait Rolls to defend against spells or techniques are worth noting but essentially there is no point spending VP on anything you aren't already skilled in, so all your weaknesses are more glaring.

As for spending VP on actions that aren't time sensitive; I prefer to expand my definition of a Turn to encompass the whole action. Instead of flavouring it as blanking out for 10 crucial seconds you your character can't seem to enter a good flow state. Where your others spend VP and get into the groove you get overwhelmed and stumble, You follow a trains of though that makes sense to you but you can't explain to others, you fixate on meaningless details or get lost in thought and take twice as long to get things done.

I made a Shiba Bushi who's defining characteristic was this disadvantage so I have spent a lot of time thinking about what it would mean for a character's life and here is what I came up with;

On a meta level, you spend Void Points on things that are important to you and your character. Characters with this advantage that are unable to consistently pass a TN30 willpower roll1 are going to gain a reputation for not being able to pull through when it counts. You are the space cadet samurai that blanks out at crucial moments, no daimyo is going to risk trusting you with anything important.


1For the curious, Willpower 4 has about a 25% chance, Willpower 5 has ~50%.
Friend of the Elements bumps these up to about 45% and 70% respectively

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm now imagining a recursive loop of spending VP to make the WP roll. \$\endgroup\$
    – CatLord
    Commented Feb 16, 2023 at 17:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ You could... but it's never worth it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Saelvarath
    Commented Feb 16, 2023 at 18:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Agreed, but the notion amused me. \$\endgroup\$
    – CatLord
    Commented Feb 16, 2023 at 19:29

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