I have been playing in my first campaign of Tenra Bansho Zero (TBZ) and have ran into a disagreement with my fellow players and the GM regarding how far stats can be increased in the game, since there is little specification that I've found in the book.

For spending Kiai points to raise stats, this is all that it says in that section (Tenra Bansho Zero, p. 60–61):

10 Kiai can be spent to raise any attribute by one point. This can be done at any time. Armour attributes can only be raised in this manner during intermissions: It is expected that the armour was tuned-up or upgraded by a skilled armour-maker or onmyoji.

My question, as seen in the title, is can an attribute be raised above 10 by this method?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't know the game well enough (or at all, really) to offer an answer, but the publisher makes available on its Web site the adventure "Lotus Blossom's Bridal Path" that includes an NPC with a score above 10 that seems wholly natural (no armor, no samurai transformation, no parentheticals). However, the NPC's a big bad, and I don't know if PCs follow different rules from NPCs. (Thank you also for introducing me to a new game.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jul 22 '16 at 3:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for this input @HeyICanChan , I hadn't really looked at premade adventures of the campaign so perhaps I haven't investigated as far as I should've. Also you're welcome, if you are into a system that focuses more on interactions and drama narrative than combat-centric narratives, you may really enjoy playing TBZ. The setting itself is pretty interesting. \$\endgroup\$ – D. Sorrim Jul 22 '16 at 3:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan, that's actually a good point you bring up. I'll add some additional information to my answer to address that (as I think you are correct in that an NPC, especially a boss, does not necessarily play by the same rules as a PC when the GM is statting them out). \$\endgroup\$ – Zhuge Jul 22 '16 at 3:48

To quote the other relevant rules passage for context (page 17):

The lowest you can have an attribute is 1, and the highest is 10.

There is no explicit explanation of how this interacts with the Kiai spending option you have quoted, and so I would be inclined to think it does not interact in any special way; that is, the minimum and maximum values for an attribute still apply.

That said, though you did not ask this, it is possible to raise attributes above 10 through temporary means (e.g., as a Samurai, Kongōki, etc.).

Hey I Can Chan noted that one of the sample adventures ("Lotus Blossom's Bridal Path") contains a character ("Flying Razor") who has a base Attribute exceeding 10. This character happens to be an NPC, which the rules explicitly state are flexible when being created by the GM as compared to a PC. Notably, written on page 154 is:

Heroes, paragons and others will have higher attributes, including 10 or more. Major enemies may have attributes ranked up to 20!

This character is main antagonist for that adventure, and as far as I can tell is meant to be fought by the entire party at once. (Note also that he gains additional Vitality per character in the party, a feature generally reserved for important boss characters.) When fighting him, the characters are expected to be making use of their Kiai in order to win rolls; if the PCs could improve their base stats far enough, the contests would be less concerning, which I think would harm the drama of that confrontation.

In general, I think the 10 Kiai cost to raise attributes balances it enough that this is unlikely to be an issue in play (spend Kiai now to win rolls regardless of attribute, or raise attributes for long-term gains), but your experience will probably vary depending on the particular game.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ A good answer, I hadn't looked back in the Attributes section, just Kiai. Shows how thorough I had looked into it. It doesn't really say if that's only the maximum for character creation or for characters in general though, so it still leaves me wondering a bit. Since this is under Assigning Attribute Points I still feel like it might be just in creation. Regardless, +1 for some info I hadn't found earlier. \$\endgroup\$ – D. Sorrim Jul 22 '16 at 3:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ NPCs are definitely explicitly different. \$\endgroup\$ – Airk Jul 22 '16 at 14:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ That said, I think the answer to this question is, really, "It doesn't matter." Boosting your attributes is often a questionable use of Kiai anyway, and the benefits are strictly linear - you roll one more die whenever you use that attribute, regardless of whether you are going from 1 to 2 or 19 to 20. So I don't think there's any reason limit it to 10. \$\endgroup\$ – Airk Jul 22 '16 at 14:59

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