The Hiruma Slayers alternate path (from The Book of Earth) has the following line in it's technique:

You suffer no penalties for using a masakari in your off-hand (although you still suffer normal penalties for wielding two weapons).

The L5R 4th Edition Core rulebook has the following text about dual wielding:

A character’s handedness is determined by the player. A character attempting to make an attack with a weapon in his off-hand suffers a penalty of -5 to the roll if it is a small weapon, -10 if it is medium, and -15 if it is large. Additionally, attacks made with the character’s dominant hand suffer a penalty of -5 to attacks as long as a secondary weapon is held in the off hand. However, a character wielding two weapons is more difficult to hit due to the larger area covered. As a result, characters wielding two weapons add their Insight Rank to their Armor TN.

So what does this mean for the Hiruma Slayer? Does he:

  1. Have a -5 to his attacks with his primary hand, and no penalty for attacks with his off-hand?
  2. Have no penalty to his attacks with his primary hand, and a -15 to attacks with his off-hand?
  3. Have a -5 to his attacks, regardless of which hand he's using?

Have a -5 to his attacks with his primary hand, and no penalty for attacks with his off-hand

The Masakari is a medium weapon. This means that if we dual wield with it in our offhand, the character suffers a -5 penalty for his main hand and -10 penalty for his offhand. If the character looses / drops the Masakari, all penalties are removed (Off-hand weapons & Multiple Attacks p141).

The alternate path of the Hiruma Slayers cancels out the offhand penalty. This would result in the character only suffering a -5 penalty for the main hand as long as he's holding the Masakari.

  • \$\begingroup\$ whoops. I thought it was a large weapon. Great catch on that! Seems like eliminating the off-hand penalty only would just make the player make all of his attacks with his off-hand instead of his primary hand, which strikes me as strange... \$\endgroup\$ – Mickle Dec 14 '15 at 12:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ But the RAI is clearly meant to enhance the savage dual-wielding berserker feeling. By only attacking with the offhand, the player is trying to circumvent that with a very strict RAW interpretation. In that case he's no longer dual-wielding, but strictly attacking with his offhand. Enough cause to reinstate the -10 penalty. \$\endgroup\$ – Ahriman Dec 14 '15 at 12:58

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