I am confused by the "Multiple School" advantage in L5R 4th Ed. It basically allows your character to stop studying in his current school and start studying in another one. It costs a whole 10xp, and the book warns several times that it can create really imbalanced characters.

However, I fail to see how or why. Are there combinations of "School-A rank 1 + School-B rank 1 + School-C rank 1" considerably more potent that "School-D rank 3"?

I'm the DM and am considering lowering this advantage's cost a lot, but want to know the possible abuse beforehand, as well as what to look for.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Not familiar with the system and can't give you an answer, but I know what I'd look for: front-loading vs. capstones. For example, in 3.5, the Monk gets a whole boatload of pretty decent class features by level 2... and gets not much else thereafter. Not much drawback to bailing, and plenty of other classes (Paladin, Ranger, Barbarian) are front-loaded too, making the combo much better than continuing. The Wizard, on the other hand, really wants the highest spell level possible, and won't want to deviate from that for anything. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jan 30, 2013 at 19:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ I do wonder what you are looking to achieve by increasing the availability of the Multiple Schools advantage. @KRyan capstones are less relevant here, since you can technically keep advancing forever. \$\endgroup\$
    – Simon Gill
    Jan 30, 2013 at 19:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SimonGill Oh, I don't plan on "achieving" anything, I just don't see the point of making it that difficult, when it's a rather cool option with not that many obvious advantages and quite a lot of social disadvantages. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 30, 2013 at 20:23

2 Answers 2


Rank 1 techniques generally add rolled dice in certain circumstances (The Way of the Clan techniques in particular) and have a defensive bonus.

Rank 3 techniques usually convert your attack from a Complex action to a Simple, allowing you to make two attacks a round.

Some combinations of these rank 1 techniques are more powerful than 2 or 3 ranks in one school. Rank 1 Akodo Bushi/Rank 1 Mirumoto Bushi will allow you to ignore armor (or get a free raise) and get a bonus rolled dice on some attacks from the Lion; the Dragon training allows dual wielding without penalty (which includes an armor increase), adds a small boost to armor defenses and nudges the TN of spells affecting you up or down by 5.

In comparison, a Rank 2 Mirumoto gets a bonus to Iaijutsu roll totals equal to his Kenjutsu skills and a Rank 2 Akodo gets to add his Honor Rank to one roll total per turn.

There are two reasons for that cost and caveat. One is that multiple school training is rare in the setting. The high cost helps point out that convincing people that your oath to your school is less important than you getting training from some other school - and that the other school should train someone whose clanmates killed the sensei's uncle's wife's cousin.

The other reason is that there are often unintended consequences when combining things that are not exactly intended to be combined. Adding the caveat encourages GMs to double check a particular combination in case the developers have missed something.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm a little out of practice with L5R, but I seem to recall Rank 1 in Phoenix was pretty well able to combine with just about any other school - unlimited raises, I think? \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Jan 31, 2013 at 3:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ Not in 4e - The Way of the Phoenix gives you the ability to spend 2 Void for +2k2 instead of 1 Void for +1k1 and may Guard for reduced effect as a Free Action. \$\endgroup\$
    – Simon Gill
    Jan 31, 2013 at 3:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ The Mirumoto defense bonus is not nearly as potent at rank 1 in the school as in 3e and back. You would only really get +2 to your Armor TN. Although I believe that Akodo 1 + Yoritomo 1 are pretty formidable. \$\endgroup\$
    – CatLord
    Jan 31, 2013 at 8:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is true that usually, it seems that Techniques of rank 1,3,5 seems better than rank 2 & 4. And thus a 1+1 would be better than a 2, but we can assume than on the next rank, a 1+2 might be weaker than a 3. Anyway, thanks for the answer and the examples! \$\endgroup\$ Feb 5, 2013 at 22:29

I am also of the idea that School Rank A – 1 + SR B 1 + SR C -1 is worse than SR A 3. But I think its power lays in having just one school rank from other place. For example being a tattooed monk for the first rank and then changing to be a bushi of the court (don’t remember the name and don’t have the book here, sorry) you could benefit a lot from certain tattoos, or being a bushi with the way of the crane and then changing to another clan will let you use Iaiutsu (probably misspelled) instead of kenjutsu for basically any bushi (eliminating the need to raise AGI to attack). I would choose as second school some one that has second attack at third rank because being one rank back it’s really hard, no need to go all the way to your fifth rank to get a second attack.

In the short run, I think it is very good (ranks 2-3), in the long run (ranks 4-5) not so much and probably necessary in higher ranks. The reason is that normally school technics of rank 2 are very soft and rank 4-5 very good (in most of the cases).

I tried something like this with a bushi mirumoto rank 1 and tattooed monk rank 2 but didn’t pay off as much as I expected. I believe you can do great combos with this advantage but the backslash of being push down once the players are getting ranks 4 and 5 is very hard, so at the end my opinion is that 10 points is worth it if you choose wisely (in mechanic terms, I am ignoring the background on porpoise for this question), but it is incredibly costly if you are using it not to combo and just for story.

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    \$\begingroup\$ In 4e you don't switch iaijutsu and kenjutsu for Mirumoto or Kakita. 3e and back you can though. \$\endgroup\$
    – CatLord
    Jan 31, 2013 at 8:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Whoops. I don't have the book with me right now and didnt remmember that, terribly sorry. \$\endgroup\$
    – Random
    Feb 4, 2013 at 6:59

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