The Spellstorm School:
As recently demonstrated by a few of the Ronin who were trying out for the position of Jade Champion – or, more accurately, hoping to make a good enough showing in the opening stages of the tournament to attract a patron or land a position with whoever the new Jade Champion turned out to be – there are several specialized minor schools or techniques which have recently popped up in Rokugan. Two of the most impressive were developed by Harusue, a ronin specializing in plant-related magic, and Seiji, who specilized in blasting his opponents with impossibly large numbers of low-level spell strikes thanks to his Spellstorm Technique. While Harusue was defeated by Kochige, and wound up signing up with Shigure and Ninsei, Seiji did more than well enough to secure an imperial position in the service of Yogo Turuoko, the new Jade Champion. Seeing as how he was entering the Imperial Service, he was willing to share his technique with other interested Jade Magistrates.
The Spellstorm School focuses on just that – blasting a target with several independent copies of a low-level spell with a single casting and on casting two such first level spells per round. While it also helps a bit with multicasting higher level spells, that’s hardly its primary purpose.
First Technique/Smite the Multitude: One free raise to reduce the casting time (to 1/2 a spellcasting action) when casting any first level spell (5), Reduce the number of Raises necessary to add additional targets to a spell by 1 per target (to 1 per target for damaging spells, 5).
Second Technique/Storm of Spells: Gain (Void) Free Raises when casting any level one spell, however these are only usable to add additional targets (5).
Third Technique/The Tsunami: Immunity/The restriction on targeting a spell which can target multiple opponents on the same target more than once, but only for first level spells and up to a maximum of four strikes on any single target (5).
The Spellstorm School contains a mere 20 points worth of technique components, but counts as three techniques: depending on how you look at it, that’s either a ridiculously easy way to reach a third-level technique or a fearsome waste of technique slots. Of course, since many Shugenja never use most of their technique slots, they may regard it as a good deal. Alternatively, they may start research on fleshing out the techniques.
As it stands, the Spellstorm School has a research cost of a mere 35 points – a mere two years and eleven months of concentrated effort. It can also be pretty powerful against single targets – or when you want to use a basic spell on several people at once – but the higher-level spells remain more generally useful. It’s probably usable – with some caution – in most games.
Of course, you can also achieve the same result with a pile of raises: the usual +2 per “additional” target (+6 to get three extra targets) and another +2 per extra strike (a total of 12) to bypass the usual restriction of each extra strike being against a separate target and focus those additional strikes on the same target. Can that be squeezed into a single technique? Lets see…
The Spellstorm Technique: Reduce the number of raises needed to to Multi-target spells, Focus Multi-targeted spells, and Cast without using a Spell Slot by one each for first-level spells only (5) and Gain (Void) Free Raises when casting any level one spell to spend on these improved maneuvers only (5). Ah! One ten-point Shugenja Technique, all ready to go. If you have a 6+ Void it allows you to hit a single target four times with a first-level spell. If you can afford another raise on each spell, and to spend the spell slots, you can even get off two such first level spells in a single round.
That’s probably a bit too good for most games – but given that ours is currently approaching session 70 and 500 XP or so, it shouldn’t be much of a problem.