One of the things I have noted is that some of my L5R articles get many more views than other articles. Add in that I often have to “set people right” on misconceptions about L5R mechanical analysis, and I decided to expand my previous article Bushi Analysis – Basic with minors, Spider, and Seppun corebook schools.

It may have been design intent that minor clans get hosed and imperials don’t, but the fact of the matter is that imperials get trashed in terms of useful techniques and minors are all over the map.

I also redid a few scores and recalculated total points by discounting R-4 by 50% and R-5 by 75%, which fits my “focus on young’un days” philosophy of what matters. Now, the totals make more sense for why Daidoji Iron Warrior used to be the best bushi school … yes, used to be.

**Seppun Guardsman**

The worst bushi school out of corebook. It’s close … in that Morito Bushi are hardly better. But, let’s just say that my experience playing a Seppun Guardsman didn’t lead me to realize any special awesome that makes it rise to being a real bushi school.

R-1 technique – worthless. Now, there’s an argument that a GM will make people’s techniques do something when they normally wouldn’t, which creeps into my rating the R-2 for Toritaka, but I have to be consistent with how I rated the dueling techniques from Kakita and Mirumoto. I have seen maybe twice situations where NPCs tried to sway a PC from their duty. I have seen maybe twice detecting an ambush. Even then, failing to detect the ambush only maybe mattered one of those times.

The R-2 requires spending Void … every round. VPs are far too precious to be cavalier with them. If Shiba Bushi could only double spend in combat, that ability would be atrocious, but, fortunately for them, their R-1 is strong outside of combat.

The R-3 is charitably useful. This was a case where I had to assume it would come up, otherwise another zero. If you want serious evidence for imperials not getting the goods, consider how this school doesn’t get simple attacks until R-4.

I charitably give the R-5 a rating of 3. Unlike Kakita 5 or Heichi 5, it doesn’t actually cost actions that could be attacks, depending upon how you interpret “guarding” with a lowercase “g”. As a fan of Guarding, I’m not going to be too harsh even if you do interpret the Seppun as actually Guarding someone.

**Morito Bushi**

The other worst meat. The must be mounted limitation caused me to ding the Utaku Battle Maiden heavily, so same deal. The low rank techniques are really weak, and only the R-5 is actually good.

**Suzume Bushi**

This gets so much grief, yet the R-1 is solid, better than a bunch of schools, and the R-2 is really good (I think). Maybe, I overrate the R-2, but, even if I docked a point, the school would rate better than either the Mirumoto or Kakita. The R-3 is next to useless. I try to make use of it with my R-3 Suzume Bushi, and it’s a challenge, nevermind that neither Lores nor Performs tend to matter. I have a hard time evaluating the R-5 as I think Center Stance is stupid, except in those specific cases where you outnumber the enemy and the enemy is crazy hard to hit or has a bunch of Reduction but neither Invulnerability nor Spirit.

**Toritaka Bushi**

I struggled with placing this school in the overall 2 camp or the overall 3 camp. The problem is that the R-2 is very, very specific. When it matters, it should matter a lot, though I’m running a game with a Toritaka and the R-2 hasn’t mattered much as I don’t give the player enough opportunity to act on the ability. I stick these guys in the “Moto camp” rather than the “Bayushi camp” for now because I may overrate the Bayushi. Of course, it really hurts that the R-4 is so limited and the R-5 is not terribly powerful.

**Heichi Bushi**

So, here’s the thing. The R-1 is terrible in isolation, but it’s key to the higher ranks. In isolation, I could just wield an ono, which means there’s no technique at all, here, other than getting the free first rank in the skill and the emphasis. But, then you start getting seriously speary. The R-2 is really hard for me to judge because I don’t actually understand what happens when you Entangle someone with a weapon. Do you get to attack the victim with the weapon? Assumedly, you don’t get to attack others with the weapon.

So, your Strength 4 Heichi is rolling 4k4 DR with the Mai Chong and gets a gross and unusual special at R-2 with simple attacks at 4k4 DR at R-3. That’s reasonable, if narrow.

**Usagi Bushi**

The R-2 and R-4 are hard to evaluate because they depend so much on needing extra movement to reach enemies. I have seen this occasionally matter, so I give them a mediocre score. The R-3 is surprisingly diverse, but the diversity isn’t important unless you often find yourself deprived of weapons – I guess it’s nice for the Usagi who frequents geisha houses, which I’m sure is a thing.

I really like the R-1, which is funny because I haven’t generally cared much about tactical movement. I guess I’ve become much more interested in it since it’s used so often in my play. Actually, if I give Utaku and Suzume 4’s for getting +5 to ATN, I’m not sure why I don’t give a 4 to this technique, which will easily be +5 to ATN and has an additional ability.

Just really nothing going on after R-3.

**Ichiro Bushi**

I almost never hear people talk about this school. It’s a beating. The low rank abilities are fantastic, even more so when you start using Strength on attack rolls from the Strength in Arms Style kata, though including kata wasn’t a thing. What makes the low rank abilities so powerful is that they have no cost. Sure, the R-2 is limited per session, but how many times per session do you need to reroll damage? Hopefully not more than four.

The R-3 is terrible, of course, unless you find yourself routinely going after those in heavy armor or special armor. My concern with the R-5 is that I see a lot of combats where melee attacks aren’t possible in the first round, so being forced to use it for the first two rounds is a severe limitation.

**Daigotsu Bushi**

Ratings were based on an unTainted Daigotsu. That’s frightening when you consider that this ties with Matsu Berserker [let me make sure and spell berserker correctly this time] for third best bushi school.

While the R-1 is not explosive and the R-5 is narrow, the R-2 through R-4 are just brutal. I may be underrating the R-2. I don’t like spending a VP as a cost, but this is basically until you win combat a +2k0 on damage to everyone in the party. I’ve used the ability. It’s hot.

**Toku Bushi**

Simply the best. Better than all of the rest. Just like I played a 3r Mirumoto Bushi, I am deeply attracted to overwhelming power and how I can … make it fair by building a goofy character that doesn’t actually play to the strengths of the school, like my Mirumoto Bushi with two attacks of … 5k3+3.

The R-1 has constant noncombat application and would have combat application even without the reduction in Wound Penalties. The R-2 is easy to trigger – if you can’t trigger it, you will probably be fine – for a roughly +6 to attack and damage … at no cost. Suck it, Seppun!

I may be underrating the R-4. The R-5 applies to ANY roll, giving it amazing versatility even if it costs a VP and even if you rule that it can only be used in combat, which seems a legit ruling for fairness to me but suffers from some awkwardness when you compare to Shiba R-5 and being able to spend twice in one “turn”. “Round”, “turn” – shrug.

School | Data | Total |

Toku Bushi | Sum of Rating | 5 |

Sum of Rank 1 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 2 | 5 | |

Sum of Rank 3 | 5 | |

Sum of Rank 4 | 3 | |

Sum of Rank 5 | 5 | |

Sum of Total | 16.75 | |

Daidoji Iron Warrior | Sum of Rating | 5 |

Sum of Rank 1 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 2 | 5 | |

Sum of Rank 3 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 4 | 3 | |

Sum of Rank 5 | 0 | |

Sum of Total | 14.5 | |

Daigotsu Bushi | Sum of Rating | 4 |

Sum of Rank 1 | 2 | |

Sum of Rank 2 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 3 | 5 | |

Sum of Rank 4 | 5 | |

Sum of Rank 5 | 2 | |

Sum of Total | 14 | |

Matsu Berserker | Sum of Rating | 4 |

Sum of Rank 1 | 5 | |

Sum of Rank 2 | 1 | |

Sum of Rank 3 | 5 | |

Sum of Rank 4 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 5 | 4 | |

Sum of Total | 14 | |

Hida Bushi | Sum of Rating | 4 |

Sum of Rank 1 | 3 | |

Sum of Rank 2 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 3 | 5 | |

Sum of Rank 4 | 2 | |

Sum of Rank 5 | 3 | |

Sum of Total | 13.75 | |

Akodo Bushi | Sum of Rating | 4 |

Sum of Rank 1 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 2 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 3 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 4 | 0 | |

Sum of Rank 5 | 5 | |

Sum of Total | 13.25 | |

Ichiro Bushi | Sum of Rating | 3 |

Sum of Rank 1 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 2 | 5 | |

Sum of Rank 3 | 1 | |

Sum of Rank 4 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 5 | 2 | |

Sum of Total | 12.5 | |

Tsuruchi Archer | Sum of Rating | 3 |

Sum of Rank 1 | 2 | |

Sum of Rank 2 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 3 | 5 | |

Sum of Rank 4 | 1 | |

Sum of Rank 5 | 2 | |

Sum of Total | 12 | |

Shiba Bushi | Sum of Rating | 3 |

Sum of Rank 1 | 3 | |

Sum of Rank 2 | 3 | |

Sum of Rank 3 | 3 | |

Sum of Rank 4 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 5 | 4 | |

Sum of Total | 12 | |

Hiruma Bushi | Sum of Rating | 3 |

Sum of Rank 1 | 2 | |

Sum of Rank 2 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 3 | 3 | |

Sum of Rank 4 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 5 | 4 | |

Sum of Total | 12 | |

Utaku Battle Maiden | Sum of Rating | 3 |

Sum of Rank 1 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 2 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 3 | 2 | |

Sum of Rank 4 | 2 | |

Sum of Rank 5 | 2 | |

Sum of Total | 11.5 | |

Yoritomo Bushi | Sum of Rating | 3 |

Sum of Rank 1 | 2 | |

Sum of Rank 2 | 2 | |

Sum of Rank 3 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 4 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 5 | 4 | |

Sum of Total | 11 | |

Usagi Bushi | Sum of Rating | 3 |

Sum of Rank 1 | 3 | |

Sum of Rank 2 | 2 | |

Sum of Rank 3 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 4 | 2 | |

Sum of Rank 5 | 2 | |

Sum of Total | 10.5 | |

Heichi Bushi | Sum of Rating | 3 |

Sum of Rank 1 | 2 | |

Sum of Rank 2 | 3 | |

Sum of Rank 3 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 4 | 2 | |

Sum of Rank 5 | 2 | |

Sum of Total | 10.5 | |

Bayushi Bushi | Sum of Rating | 3 |

Sum of Rank 1 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 2 | 2 | |

Sum of Rank 3 | 1 | |

Sum of Rank 4 | 5 | |

Sum of Rank 5 | 2 | |

Sum of Total | 10 | |

Toritaka Bushi | Sum of Rating | 2 |

Sum of Rank 1 | 3 | |

Sum of Rank 2 | 2 | |

Sum of Rank 3 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 4 | 1 | |

Sum of Rank 5 | 2 | |

Sum of Total | 10 | |

Moto Bushi | Sum of Rating | 2 |

Sum of Rank 1 | 2 | |

Sum of Rank 2 | 1 | |

Sum of Rank 3 | 5 | |

Sum of Rank 4 | 2 | |

Sum of Rank 5 | 4 | |

Sum of Total | 10 | |

Suzume Bushi | Sum of Rating | 2 |

Sum of Rank 1 | 3 | |

Sum of Rank 2 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 3 | 0 | |

Sum of Rank 4 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 5 | 2 | |

Sum of Total | 9.5 | |

Mirumoto Bushi | Sum of Rating | 2 |

Sum of Rank 1 | 2 | |

Sum of Rank 2 | 0 | |

Sum of Rank 3 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 4 | 2 | |

Sum of Rank 5 | 4 | |

Sum of Total | 8 | |

Kakita Bushi | Sum of Rating | 2 |

Sum of Rank 1 | 2 | |

Sum of Rank 2 | 3 | |

Sum of Rank 3 | 0 | |

Sum of Rank 4 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 5 | 2 | |

Sum of Total | 7.5 | |

Morito Bushi | Sum of Rating | 1 |

Sum of Rank 1 | 1 | |

Sum of Rank 2 | 2 | |

Sum of Rank 3 | 2 | |

Sum of Rank 4 | 2 | |

Sum of Rank 5 | 4 | |

Sum of Total | 7 | |

Seppun Guardsman | Sum of Rating | 1 |

Sum of Rank 1 | 0 | |

Sum of Rank 2 | 2 | |

Sum of Rank 3 | 2 | |

Sum of Rank 4 | 4 | |

Sum of Rank 5 | 3 | |

Sum of Total | 6.75 |

Hi, (english is not my native language, doing my best^^)

First I want to thank you for this very nice blog, always a pleasure to read you.

Second, how would you rate Matsu berserker with jade legionnaire on your scale ? Would it be like this ?

Matsu Berserker Sum of Rating ???????????

Sum of Rank 1 5

Sum of Rank 2 ? jade legionnaire

Sum of Rank 3 5

Sum of Rank 4 4

Sum of Rank 5 4

How would you rate Hida bushi with berserker as a rank 2 and going wall defender at rank 4 and 5 ?

Hida Bushi Sum of Rating ???????????

Sum of Rank 1 3

Sum of Rank 2 ? Hida berserker

Sum of Rank 3 5

Sum of Rank 4 ? rank 1 wall defender

Sum of Rank 5 ? rank 2 wall defender

How would you rate a Mirumoto bushi with Jade legionnaire rank 2 and sword master rank 4 and 5

Mirumoto Bushi Sum of Rating 2

Sum of Rank 1 2

Sum of Rank 2 ? Jade legionnaire

Sum of Rank 3 4

Sum of Rank 4 ? rank 1 swordmaster

Sum of Rank 5 ? rank 2 swordmaster

Thanks a lot for your answers !

Great post, sharp analysis. Thank you for sharing.