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My group and I have been playing L5R for some months now, using the d10 system and rules from the first edition.

In the core rulebook it is clearly stated that, in a iaijutsu duel, the base TN to hit a character is 5; such value is then raised by subsequent 'Focus' actions.

I understand the point: in an iaijutsu duel you don't dodge hits, so there's no (Reflexes × 5) TN to be hit, but even then armor should count, right? Still, I could not find this exception written anywhere.

Can anyone enlighten me?


For anyone cringing at the concept of dueling with armor, you'll have to agree that this happens all the time in a field battle: on such occasions even a Kakita blade master will wear armor, and he might find himself dueling with an opponent. (There's a specific event in the Battle table, as you surely know.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It still lacks honour. \$\endgroup\$ – Len Aug 23 '16 at 9:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Len So... when you roll the 'Duel' event you remove your full armor, then duel, then have your servants help you wear the armor back again? \$\endgroup\$ – Tom Aug 23 '16 at 17:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Depends on the character, if it was a crab removing the armour would lose honour. \$\endgroup\$ – Len Aug 24 '16 at 8:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Len Removing it in the middle of the fray sounds funny either way to me. Anyway, honorable or not, we still need rule coverage just in case ;) \$\endgroup\$ – Tom Aug 24 '16 at 9:06
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Except on battlefield, duels are thought without armour. In fact except for the Crab and guard on duty, nobody wears armour outside of battlefield.

That said, the errata for the 4th edition clearly states that

  • armour is counted.
  • defence is not.

I can't copy it from my phone, I'll edit later if I can and if nobody did it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Here is the link you're talking about. Anyway the thing is we're playing with the first edition, which has a completely different set of rules for iaijutsu, so I was hoping to find some specific indication in the first edition documents. Of course this is more a question of common sense, so it's somewhat sufficient to find a rule regarding a late version, but I was still hoping to get my hands on a clarification specifically regarding the first edition. :) \$\endgroup\$ – Tom Aug 22 '16 at 9:03
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Other than referring to the 4-ed Errata Corrige, one could use this optional rule from the 1-ed GM Guide:

Rokugani Armor

In L5R, the system is fast, and the samurai who draws his sword often will find himself dead due to the devastating nature of the game. Below are a couple additional armor rules that GMs may include in their games to keep PCs alive a little longer.

Armor always adds to your TN
No matter what happens: full attack, backstab, called shot, etc., armor is always there. The abstract nature of the L5R combat system infers that no matter where a shot it targeted, the armor must be taken into account.

In this case, "No matter what happens" would cover for Iaijutsu duels as well, answering the question with "Yes, armor does apply.".

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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you edit the answer to explain how this “somewhat answers [the] question”? It is not necessarily clear to everyone what this quote implies to you, so to be a good answer for everyone else on or visiting the site, saying directly what you are thinking it means is important. That will also help make it an independent answer from the other answer here, another way answers are expected to be written (after all, the other answer might change or be outright deleted in the future, leaving this one orphaned if it doesn't explain itself). Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Aug 22 '16 at 16:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good point, will edit. \$\endgroup\$ – Tom Aug 22 '16 at 17:23

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