L5R: The Cheese Wheel Schools

   Several players have asked if there’s a school or technique in Legend of the Five Rings – or at least in the point-buy variant – that lets you increase the number of techniques you can have above your rank limit. Of course, the answer to these questions is pretty much always “yes, if you can persuade the game master to let you get away with it”. So here are a few ways I’m approving in advance.

   The Ivory Kingdoms Meditations of Unity are one way of doing so. They allow you to double the number of techniques you’re allowed to learn – albeit at a definite cost and with some really odd side effects. A couple of characters are already using this method.

   There’s a Kiho which allows you to suppress some of your techniques, so that they don’t count against your technique limit. That way you can learn more techniques than you’re normally allowed, as long as you have the experience points to spend on them and are willing to put up with the fact that you can actually only USE so many of them at a time. One character is already using this method.

   Having “Great Potential” in a skill allows you to learn a related technique without it counting against your technique limit.

   You can even have a “Natural Mastery” advantage which lets you have a single 5-point technique as an innate knack. Sadly, you can only have one.

   Here are a couple of other methods.

   In point-buy, your Rank – and the number of technique slots you’re allowed – is equal to your (Total Rings/2 -4). Now, for a mere 5 points, you can buy an Enhancement Advantage of “+1 to a Ring for the purposes of calculating the number of technique slots you can have only”.

   A Martial or Courtier Technique costing 25 points can have 20 points worth of sub-techniques in it – and you can buy advantages as part of a technique at their base cost.

   Ergo: You can buy a 10-point technique, and 10 points worth of Ring Enhancements (only for the purpose of calculating your rank-based technique limit) , as a single Martial or Courtier technique – effectively allowing you to buy a 10-point technique that does not require a technique slot for a mere 25 points. More importantly, this allows you to buy a sequence of 10-point techniques, and take advantage of all those abilities which are based on your “school rank” effectively.

   Alternatively, you could construct an even more unlikely school – one that teaches the “Great Potential” advantage in an appropriate skill at each level. That would allow you to take a sequence of 12-point techniques without expending technique slots. It would be stretching the point to make the “does not cost a technique slot” bit semi-retroactive, to eliminate the slot cost of the technique itself – but the overall effect is pretty much the same whether the entire school costs one technique slot and provides an extra one at level five or whether it costs no slots at all. The “without a teacher” benefit of Great Potential is a bit more dubious; I’d have to say that linking the technique sequence together into a school – and thus allowing all those special technique benefits that run off of “school rank” to work – is going to require a teacher. If you just wanted to use this to acquire a string of unconnected techniques, you might get away with it, but you’d be better off to simply keep buying the “Great Potential” advantage directly.

   Unfortunately for the technique-hungry, such schools are rare. Low-ranking characters usually find it more efficient to buy up their rings, skills, and other abilities than to buy slot-free techniques at double the normal cost. If a high-level character wants such a technique or school, they’ll probably have to research it themselves – usually by spending extra experience rather than by taking the time, winding up with a net cost of 25 points (the base cost of a 20-point Martial or Courtier technique) + 25 points (for bypassing the necessity of researching or finding an instructor in a technique) + 5, 10, or 15 points if the technique being added is the third, fourth, or fifth in the sequence, for a net cost of 50 points each for the first and second ten-point techniques, 55 for the third, 60 for the fourth, and 65 for the fifth, or 280 points for the entire 50-60 points worth of techniques.

   At that kind of cost, I probably wouldn’t object to a character taking the “great potential” route. At a net cost of 280 experience points for a mere 60 points worth of techniques, it’s no bargain.