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Basic format for characters.







 - Agility

 - Intelligence



 - Stamina

 - Willpower



 - Reflexes

 - Awareness



 - Strength

 - Perception






School Skills



Other skills













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Basics of character creation.


All Rings (and traits in each ring) start at 2


Pick Clan.


Pick Family

Each Family gives a specified +1 trait bonus


Pick School

Each School gives a specified +1 trait bonus.

The school gives 1 level in all of the school's skills (occasionally 2 in a skill if specified).

The school also gives you your starting outfit.


Note: Any family within the clan can go to any school within the clan (with very rare exception). So you can have a Hida who goes to the Kuni Shugenja School.



Character Points

You then get 25 character points to spend on raising traits, skills, buying new skill and buying advantages. Taking disadvantages gives you more character points to spend, but remember, they ARE disadvantages.


Raising a skill or buying a new skill costs 1 character point per rank.


House rule: A skill cannot be raised by more than 2 ranks in creation. So a school skills at 1 can be raised to a max of 3. An entirely new skill bought with character points can only go up to 2.


Raising a Trait costs 8 characters point per rank.


Raising Void Ring costs 12 character points per rank.


Raising Honor Ranks costs 3 character points. (Lowering it by a Rank gets you 2 character points). Honor can only be raised or lowered by 1 Rank.


Raising Glory costs 5 character points per rank.


The costs and explanations of Advantages and Disadvantages start on page 72 of the Core book. Each clan book has some more, though some are clan specific.


Note: We are not using the heritage tables from the clan books, but looking at them can give you ideas for backgrounds.

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A couple of questions for everybody. You can list them on your character sheet or PM.

#1) Empire, Emperor, Clan, Family...

Put them in order of importance to your character.

To some, their personal oath of fealty to their lord is the most important. To some it is the family in general. To others it all radiates from the Emperor, so he is most important and so on. There is no right or wrong answer. It is all personal view

#2) Which sleeve of your kimono do you wear your mon on?

Your right, so your ancestors may guide your sword?

Or your left, so your family is always close to your heart?

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Examples of Item Qualties:

Most things a samurai or clan will own are of Average Quality.

Animals have a Quality Level, reflective of breeding, training and care.

Bandits, peasants and ronin often have items of Average to Poor Quality.

Poor Quality is usually due to hurried construction, and lack of skill in manufacture or a lack of maintenance (causing the item to decline in Quality).

The Crab Clan uses scores of poor quality (half cost) arrows on the Kaiu Wall. They are cheaper and faster to make. Quantity, not quality is important to the Crab when facing down an ocean of goblins and oni.

The only Quality level above Average generally seen in any significant quantity in Rokugan is Fine Quality.


Item Quality Chart


Quality                         Price                       Points

Poor                             x0.5 or less                 -1

Average                       x1                                 0

Fine                              x5 or more                   1

Excellent                       x10                              2

Exceptional                   x15                              3

Exquisite                       x20                              4

Superb                         x35                              5

Superior                       x50                              6

Legendary                    Priceless                     7+


So a Katana (20 Koku) of Fine Quality (x5+) would cost 100+ Koku and would have 1 point to purchase a benefit with.

A Katana (20 Koku) of Exquisite Quality (x20) would cost 400 Koku and would have 4 points to purchase benefits with.


Examples of Benefits and Point Costs


Cost                Benefit                                                       

1 points           +1k0 to damage

                        +1k0 to appropriate skill when used

                        +2 TN to be hit (for armor or possibly clothing)

                        Water resistant

                        Does not tarnish or fade

                        Small hidden pocket


2 points            +0k1 to damage

                        +0k1 to appropriate skill when used

                        +1k0 to Initiative

                        Negate heavy armor penalty

                        +5 TN to be hit (for armor or possibly clothing)

                        Edge does not dull


                        Large hidden pocket


3 points            +1k1 to damage

                        +1k1 to appropriate skill when used

                        +7 TN to be hit (for armor or possibly clothing)



4 points            +10 TN to be hit (for armor or possibly clothing)

                        +0k1 to initiative


Varies              Extravagant Ornamentation


Half Cost          Advantages and Disadvantages for animals. The other bonuses above still be purchased for animals. For example, a Fine horse may be well trained and give a +1k0 bonus to Horsemanship.


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Renamed skills:

In later books some of the weapon skills names are changed and condensed.


Old skill = New Skill                  

Tanto = Tantojutsu

Tessen = Chisaijutsu

Yari = Yarijutsu

Naginata = Yarijutsu

Tetsubo = Tusbojutsu

Archery = Kyujutsu

Gainjin Archery = Youmanri

Peasant Weapons = Nofujutsu



Money: 1 Koku = 5 Bu = 50 Zeni



Carapace: Most shadowlands creatures (and a few others) have a stat listed as 'Armor' in the early books. This is later renamed Carapace.

When rolling damage against something with Carapace, any individual dice results that are lower than the Carapace rating are treated as 1's.




- - - Tantojutsu - - -

Aiguchi - 1k2  -  2 Koku
Can be easily concealed.
Can be drawn easily giving a +5 to initiative for a character who has successfully kept the blade concealed.

Tanto - 1k2  -  3 Koku
Can be easily concealed.

- - - Kenjutsu - - -

Bokken - 2k1  -  2 Koku

Katana - 3k2  -  20 Koku

Wakizashi - 2k2  15 Koku

No-Dachi - 3k3  -  30 Koku
Used at -1 to Kenjutsu skill.
Counters the +5 TN to be hit bonus an opponent gains from being mounted.

- - - Chisaijutsu - - -

Tessen - 0k2  -  2 Koku
Adds +5 to your TN to be hit when in used Full Defense if skilled.
Subtracts your skill level from wounds received on the Battle Chart.
Characters may add their Chisaijustsu skill to their TN to hit if armed with a tessen.

- - - Tsubojutsu - - -

Die-Tsuchi - 2k2  -  4 Koku
Counters the +5 TN to be hit bonus an opponent gains from being mounted.
If user is skilled and Strength 3 or better, it ignores 5 points of body armor & 3 points of Carapace.

Ono - 3k3  -  5 Koku
Ignores 3 points of body armor & 1 point of Carapace.

Tetsubo - 2k2  -  6 Koku
If user is skilled and Strength 2, it ignores 5 points of body armor & 3 points of Carapace.
If user is skilled and Strength 3 or better, it ignores 10 points of body armor & 5 points of Carapace.

- - - Lance - - -
The user's strength is NOT added to damage rolls for lancing.

Lancing attacks can be made with a Uma-yari, Yari, or Naginata (or other suitable polearm)

Unicorn bushi may make Lancing attacks without the Lancing skill, but in this case the TN is 5 higher and 10's may not be re-rolled.


For a Non-Unicorn without the Lancing skill to make an Lancing attack, he must either have a Unicorn teach him, or else survive such an attack and make a Perception + Yarijutsu check against a TN of 30 (less 5 for every time he's seen it) and spend an Experience Point. Even then the attack is considered unskilled.


To figure damage dicepool for a lancing attack, add +1k0 for each round spent charging before the attack to the damage rating of the lancing weapon (Uma-yari, Yari, Naginata).

If a lancing attack is successful the user must make a simple Strength + Lance roll vs a TN equal to 5 x the number of rounds spent charging. On a failure, the grip is lost on the lancing weapon. On a particularly bad roll the rider may be unhorsed.



Uma-yari (heavy lance) while mounted - 3k4  -  ? Koku

The user always wins initiative on the round of the attack when charging with the uma-yari due to it's great length.

Ignores 5 points of body armor & 3 points of Carapace if one round is spent charging.

Armor/Carapace penetration is DOUBLED for each round after the first spent charging.


Uma-yari (heavy lance) while on foot - 1k2 

If used to attack while on foot the user suffers a -8 to Initiative and -2 dice to attack dicepool.

Uses Strength to figure damage dicepool.


Yari (if lancing) - 4k2  -  4 Koku
+1k0 to initiative for the first round of combat.
Ignores 3 points of body armor & 1 point of Carapace if one round is spent charging.

Armor/Carapace penetration is DOUBLED for each round after the first spent charging.
Counters the +5 TN to be hit bonus an opponent gains from being mounted.

Naginata (if lancing) - 3k3  5 Koku
+1k0 to initiative for the first round of combat.

Lancing attacks are made at -1 attack dice.

Ignores 3 points of body armor & 1 point of Carapace if two rounds are spent charging.

Armor/Carapace penetration is DOUBLED for other round after the first two spent charging. (4th, 6th, etc)
Counters the +5 TN to be hit bonus an opponent gains from being mounted.




- - - Yarijutsu - - -

Yari - 4k2  -  4 Koku
+1k0 to initiative for the first round of combat.
Ignores 3 points of body armor & 1 point of Carapace.
Counters the +5 TN to be hit bonus an opponent gains from being mounted.

Naginata - 3k3  5 Koku
+1k0 to initiative for the first round of combat.
Counters the +5 TN to be hit bonus an opponent gains from being mounted.

Nagamaki - 4k2  4 Koku
+1k0 to initiative for the first round of combat.
May use Kenjutsu at a -1 in place of Yarijutsu.

Sasumata - 0k2  -  4 Koku
+1k0 to initiative for the first round of combat.
On a successful hit, perform a contested Agility roll against the target. If you win, the target is trapped, and must make a successful Strength roll, TN 25, to escape. The wielder inflicts normal damage each round their target is trapped.

Sodegarmi - 0k1  -  5 Koku
+1k0 to initiative for the first round of combat.
On a successful hit, perform a contested Agility roll against the target. If you win, the target is trapped and must make a successful Strength roll, TN 15, to escape. The wielder may inflict normal damage each round their target is trapped.

Nage-yari - 0k2  -  ?
Can be thrown (with Athletics) to a maximum of 50 feet.
Beyond 30 feet the weapon's damage rating drops to 0k1 and you must drop the highest damage die.



- - - Bows (Kyujutsu/Yomanri) - - -
The user's strength is NOT added to damage rolls with bows.
To figure damage dicepool for a bow add the bow's damage rating to the arrow's damage rating.


Yomanri uses Agility (instead of Reflexes).

Yomanri allows one to aim. Each round spent aiming grants the archer 1 free raise on the attack roll.

The archer may aim for a number of rounds equal to his Yomanri skill.

The archer's base TN to be hit drops to 5 (+ armor) in any round that is spent aiming.



Han-kyu - 1k0  -  2 Koku
Range 50 yards.

Can be used from Horseback without penalty.

Past half range you must drop the highest damage die.

Armor/Carapace penetration is half (rounded down). Past half range it gains no armor/Carapace penetration.
It takes 2 actions to draw, string and ready this bow. An Agility + Kyujutsu/Yomanri roll, TN 10, allows it to be done in 1 Action. Failure means it takes 3 actions.


Yumi - 2k0   -  4 Koku
Range 200 yards
+10 to TNs to use from horseback.
It takes 2 actions to draw, string and ready this bow. An Agility + Kyujutsu/Yomanri roll, TN 20, allows it to be done in 1 Action. Failure means it takes 3 actions.

Dai-kyu - 2k0  -  4 Koku
Range 200 yards

+10 to TNs to use from the ground.

Can be used from Horseback without penalty.

It takes 2 actions to draw, string and ready this bow. An Agility + Kyujutsu/Yomanri roll, TN 20, allows it to be done in 1 Action. Failure means it takes 3 actions.

- - - Arrows - - -

Ya - 2k2  -  1 Bu

The standard Roukugani arrow.

Armor Piercer - 1k2  -  2 Bu
Ignores 10 points of body armor & 5 points of Carapace.

Watakusi - 3k3  -  3 Bu
If the target is wearing armor, they get DOUBLE the TN bonus from the armor.
If the target's Carapace is 6-10, treat the target's Carapace as DOUBLE.
If the target's Carapace is 11 or higher, ignore the arrow completely.

Karimata - 1k1  -  5 Bu

This arrow grants 1 Free Raise for shots like cutting ropes.

Humming Bulb - 0k1  -  5 Bu
On the battlefield this ammo grants a Free Raise for all Battle rolls involving movement or organization of troops.

- - - Bojutsu - - -

Bo Staff - 2k2  -  5 Zeni
+1k0 to initiative for the first round of combat.
Armor bonuses and Carapace ratings are DOUBLE vs this weapon.

Jo Stick - 0k2  -  1 Zeni
Armor bonuses and Carapace ratings are DOUBLE vs this weapon.

- - - Nofujutsu - - -

Jitte/Sai - 2k2  -  2 Koku
Grants 1 free raise for disarming.
Grants +5 to the user's TN to be hit when in Full Defense.

Nunchaku - 2k2  -  25 Zeni

Tonfa - 1k2  -  1 Bu
Grants +5 to the user's TN to be hit when used in Full Defense.
Characters may add their Nofujutsu skill to their TN to hit if armed with a tonfa.

Kama - 2k2  -  3 Bu

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Modifiers to fighting from horseback:


- When mounted you suffer one less dice of damage when rolling on the Battle Chart.

- When mounted you gain a +5 to your TN to be hit. (Polearms, like yari, counter this bonus.)

- You gain a +1k0 bonus to melee damage.

- Charging while mounted gives you a Fear rating (usually 1-3).

- Using a Yumi from horseback incurs a +10 TN penalty to the attack. (Dai-kyu and han-kyu have no penalty.)

- When mounted you can only use combat skills up to a level of your Horsemanship skill.

   So 3 Horsemanship and 4 Kenjutsu means that while mounted, your Kenjutsu is effectively 3.

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Hand-to-Hand (Juijitsu, Mizu-Do, Kaze-Do, Kobo Ichi-Kai)


Any character with Hand-to-Hand can perform these attacks.



Attack: Agility + Hand-to-Hand vs opponents TN to be hit.

Damage: Strength + 0k1.



1.) The grappling character must make an Agility + Hand-to-hand roll vs. his opponent's Agility x 5.

2.) If successful, the opponent is grappled and automatically takes normal Hand-to-hand damage (Strength + 0k1).

3.) The grappled character will continue to stay grappled and take damage unless he makes a Contested Strength or Agility + Hand-to-hand roil vs. the grappler's Strength or Agility + Hand-to-hand.



1.) The throwing character makes an Agility + Hand-to-hand roll vs. opponent's Agility x 5.

2.) If the throw is successful, the thrown character must make an Agility (+ Hand-to-hand or Athletics) roll vs. 15 + 5 per Raise the thrower added to his attack.

3.) If the thrown character succeeds, he takes no damage and is on the ground, but may act normally

4.) If the thrown character fails, he takes (Strength + 0k1) damage and is stunned (base TN to be hit = 5).



   Any character with Hand-to-Hand can perform these techniques, though they are frequently taught to Crabs and others fighting at the Kaiu Wall.


Shove (Agility)

   Shoving may be done with or without a weapon, which appeals to Crabs since the bushi doesn't necessarily touch a Tainted opponent The bushi rolls Handi-to-Hand at normal difficulty and declares he is shoving. This technique does not work on opponents who weigh more than what could lifted with the character's Strength +1. Armor does not at to the TN.

   If successful, the opponent backs up one yard for each-point of the bushi's Strength. For each Raise, the bushi can, add a yard. choose to knock the opponent down, choose the direction of the shove, or increase their effective Strength by 1. Being shoved or colliding with a shoved person prevents one of a target's attacks.

   Shoves do no Wounds. but... tumbling down stone steps does 3k2. Plunging into a twenty-foot-deep spiked pit does 4k4. And falling off the south side of the Kaiu Will does 10k10. Just so you know.


Hadaka Jime (Agility)

   Hadaka jime, or the "naked strangle." is so called because it is not one of the many choke holds that uses the victim's own tough-collared Rokugani kimono. The bushi gets behind his opponents wraps one arm around his neck, and squeezes, using the bicep to cut off the blood in the carotid artery, depriving the brain of oxygen. Their other arm can reinforce the technique (a "sleeper hold") or keep track of the victim's weapon hand. Mizu-do and Kaze-do refer to this choke as "Autumn Leaves," since the victim's face reddens as it progresses.

   To apply the choke, the bushi attacks with Agility + Hand-to-Hand with one Raise. If successful, the opponent is considered grappled and cannot attack with a weapon. The victim may make contested Strength or Agility + Hand-to-Hand rolls to escape.

   At the end of each round of choking, the victim's Stamina drops by 1, though Wound Ranks do not change. When it drops below zero, he falls unconscious. A successful Intelligence + Medicine roll, TN 10, can wake him up again. If the choke is broken off, Stamina returns at 1 point minute. If it continues, the bushi does 1k1 Wounds every round.

   Hadaka jime is greatly valued at the Wall; though not good for general melees. it can bring down goblins and ogres for later Kuni research, or subdue insane bushi. Oni Invulnerability, bushi using Mountain Does Not Move, and zombies ignore choking.



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The Rule of 10


You can only roll a maximum of 10 dice. If you would ever roll or keep more than 10 dice, then this rule is applied in any combination of different ways depending on circumstance.


1) If you would ROLL11 dice, the you roll only 10 dice and the extra die becomes a +2 to the roll.

So.. 11k4 becomes 10k4 +2


2) If you are KEEPING less than 10 dice, then every TWO dice rolled past 10 becomes an additional KEPT die (to a maximum of 10 kept dice on the roll).

So... 12k4 becomes 10k5


3) If you are KEEPING 10 dice (either naturally or once modified by Rule of 10), then each additional ROLLED die becomes a +2 to the total.

So... 14k10 becomes 10k10 +8


4) Each additional KEPT die past 10 (BEFORE the Rule of 10 is applied), becomes a +5 to the total.

So... 10k11 becomes 10k10 +5



Combine it all (in some extreme examples)...

With the help of a number of spells, abilities, Void and sheer ingeniousness you're going to make a roll with 19k9 dice! The rule of 10 turn 2 of the rolled dice into 1 kept die (making it a total of 10 kept dice), which changes this to 17k10. Then the 7 extra rolled dice are converted to a +2 for each. You now roll an obscene 10k10+14.


If you were rolling 19k11 then the 1 extra kept die becomes a +5 to the total and the 9 extra rolled dice become a +18 to the total, making it 10k10+23.

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House Rule change to Kakita Artisan Academy because somebody being so good at origami that they can fold paper into an actual living, breathing animal because they are really good at folding paper is just... no. Just no.

So here is the Kakita Artisan Academy as it exists in this game. They are still amazing artisans.


Kakita Artisan Academy

The Kakita artisans are the finest creators of art and literature in Rokugan. They are known throughout the Empire as teachers, instructors and tutors, and their skills are welcomed in every court in Rokugan. Among their artistic endeavors are the highly skilled Kakita Master Swordsmiths and the students of the art of the sword - the famous Kakita Iaijutsu Masters.


Kakita Artisan Academy

Benefit: +1 Intelligence

Beginning Honor: 3.5


Calligraphy, Courtier, Etiquette, Lore: Myth and Legend, any 1 artistic/performance skill (Weaponsmith, Armorer and possibly other skills may be acceptable as well), any 1 High skill



At each Rank, the Artisan picks an art/performance skill. The Artisan gains a +1k1 bonus for that skill whenever a skill check is called for and may take an additional Raise with the selected skill. He or she is not limited to the number of times a skill can be improved in this manner. The only limits are the GM's discretion and the character's willingness to specialize.

for example, a Rank 2 Artisan could opt to roll and keep an additional die for Dance and for Weaponsmith (being able to take up to Void+1 Raises for each), or opt to roll and keep two additional dice for Weaponsmith only (being able to take up to Void+2 Raises for Weaponsmithing).


Outfit (All items are of fine quality)

Wakizashi, kimono, traveling pack, Artisan's satchel, basic equipment as suited for their Artisan specialty (paintbrushes, makeup kit, etc), 10 koku

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is partially a clarification made in errata and partially house rule tweaks made from playing the game for years...



Iaijutsu Duels



Iaijutsu duels are formalized and follow several steps. These rules are written not considering alterations due to Techniques.



1) Each party may make an Awareness + Iaijutsu roll, TN 10 to 'size up' their opponent.


A successful roll allows you determine any ONE of the following:

  • Opponent's Agility
  • Opponent's Reflexes
  • Opponent's Iaijutsu
  • Opponent'sVoid
  • Opponent's Current Wound Penalty

Each Raise taken on the roll reveals an additional piece of information.




2) At this point either party may acknowledge defeat. This is not a dishonorable act.


The other party may or may not accept the acknowledgement.


Accepting the acknowledgement is an honorable act. If the acknowledgement is accepted, then both parties disengage and the duel is over and the matter is considered settled. Period.


If the acknowledgement is not accepted, then the duel continues. The conceding party may still disengage, but this is an act of extreme cowardice. If you were not ready to duel, then you shouldn't have let it come this far.


Not accepting the acknowledgement is virtually always a dishonorable act (typically due to things like grievous insults and long-standing blood feuds) and the outcome will almost certainly be the death of one or both parties.




3) The party with the highest Reflexes has the option of going first or not.


Starting at a base TN of 5, each party takes turns selecting either Focus or Strike.


If Focus is selected then that party is raising the TN for the duel by 5.


A party may only Focus a number of times equal to their Void Ring.




4) If a party selects Strike (or is forced to select Strike by no being able to Focus any more), then their opponent must attack.


The attacking party rolls Reflexes or Agility + Iaijutsu to hit.


Void may be spent on the attack (or damage) roll, but only one Void may be spent per action.


The TN for the attack is the last TN that the party making the attack roll raised to.


Damage is determined like normal with an addition +1k0 damage for each time the attacker focused.




5) If the party that selected Strike is still standing, then they may attack rolling Reflexes or Agility + Iaijutsu to hit.


Void may be spent on the attack (or damage) roll, but only one Void may be spent per action.


The TN for the attack is the last TN that the party making the attack roll raised to (which should typically be 5 lower than his opponent's TN)


Damage is determined like normal with an addition +1k0 damage for each time the attacker focused.




6) If both parties are still standing what happens next depends on the combatants.


If it was a duel to the death, then it proceeds as a Kenjutsu duel.


If it was a duel to first blood or a contest of skill, then there may already be a winner and both parties may be satisfied.



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To clarify wound ranks and penalties...


Everybody has 8 Wound Ranks:












Each wound rank can take a number of wounds/damage equal to your Earth Ring x2.



At Earth 2, your would ranks are 4 points each. So the first 4 wounds/points of damage you suffer will fill your -0 would Rank.

If you were to suffer even one more wound (putting you at 5 wounds), you would be into your -1 Wound Rank and would now lose 1 dice from your dicepools.



The wound penalty takes away dice from all dicepools.



If you normally roll 6k3 for Kenjutsu and are at -2, then you roll 4k3.



If your dicepool is reduced below the number of dice you keep, then you lose that too.



If you normally roll 6k3 for Kenjutsu and are at -4, you would roll 2k2



The penalty does not reduce your Initiative dicepool, but is applied to the result of your Initiative roll as a static penalty instead. (If you are hurt, you are not acting as fast)



At Down, you are alive and awake, but incapable of anything more than groaning and crawling meekly on the ground.


At Out you are an unconscious heap slowly bleeding to death.


At Dead you are on death's door and need medical attention or healing pretty quickly or you will expire.

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Rokugani magic..



Shugenja are a mixture of priest, wizard and scholar and occasionally courtier and/or diplomat.
Shugenja spells are actually prayers to various kami asking for effects.

The scrolls that shugenja use are the prayer in its written form which they work off of.


Spells per Day:

A shugenja can cast a number of spells of any given element per day equal to their Ring (with exceptions. See below)
Sense, Commune and Summon can be used with any Ring. The Ring used dictates the effect.
To Counterspell, you must use a spell slot of opposite to that of the spell you wish to Counterspell.
The spell slot is used regardless of if the Shugenja makes the roll and successfully casts the spell or not.


Regaining Spells:

Eight hours of restful sleep or two hours of meditation restores one spell slot of each element to the shugenja.


Conserving Energy:

A shugenja make take three Raises to conserve energy. Doing so allows them to cast the spell without expending a spell slot.

You may not attempt to cast a spell in this manner if you have no spell slots remaining.

The shugenja is still limited by their Void.


So if a shugenja's Void is 2, they need to gain at least one Free Raise in order to take three Raises.


Void Use With Magic:

A Void Point may be spent to add to the casting of a spell, adding +1k1 to the roll.
Alternatively, a Void Point may be spent to gain a Free Raise on a spell instead of gaining the +1k1 bonus to the roll.
A Void Point may also be spent to temporarily gain an additional spell slot of any element.

Note: If you are out of spells for a specific element you cannot spend a Void Point for a temporary spell of that element and then take 3 raises to conserve energy and keep the temporary spell slot.



A shugenja has a Mastery Rank for each Element equal to that Ring + School Rank.


Innate Abilities:

An Innate Ability is a spell that the shugenja has mastered to the point of not even needing the scroll anymore to cast the spell.
To take a spell as an Innate Ability you need to meet or exceed the Mastery level of the spell and spend 3 xp.
If you have a spell as an Innate Ability, then you do not need the scroll to cast the spell.
If you have a spell as an Innate Ability then you get 1 Free Raise when casting the spell any time you choose to use the scroll.


Fortifying A Spell:

A shugenja can fortify a spell to make it more difficult to counter spell.
For each Raise taken to fortify the spell, the counterspelling shugenja must take an equal number of Raises to counter spell.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Different Kinds Of  Rolls



Unskilled Rolls: Unskilled rolls happens when there is a relevant skill but the character lacks it. In this case, they are using just their Trait (Agility, Intelligence and so on) to make the roll. There are 2 major drawbacks to an unskilled roll. First, any 10's that result from the roll DO NOT 'explode' (they are kept but not then rerolled). Second, Raises may not be taken for the roll. Keep in mind that any wound penalties still apply and Void Points may still be spent.



Blind Rolls: Occasionally the GM asks for a blind roll. The Trait and Skill to use are given by the GM, but NOT the TN (and often what the roll is even for). In the case of these rolls, the player is considered to have taken every Raise that would have been possibly allowed by the result of the roll. Often the GM may even make the roll on the character's behalf without telling them until after of if they succeed.


For example: The GM asks for a blind Intelligence+Shadowlands Lore roll. The TN is secretly 20 (unknown to the player). The player rolls a 33, so then they are considered to have taken 2 Raises as well and will get extra information/success as such.



Working Together: Character may work together to accomplish many tasks. When doing so, one character is elected to be the leader and make the roll, and each character assisting adds their skill ranks to the dicepool.


For example, the leader for the Hunting roll has a dicepool of 5k3. They have two others assisting, one with 2 ranks of Hunting and another with 1. So the leader gains +3k0 to the roll making their dicepool 8k3 as they all work together to find the elusive Tsu Fish egg.



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Techniques, Methods and Maneuvers



Specialized training typically takes form in one of three ways: Techniques, Methods and Maneuvers.


Maneuvers are special attacks taught by various martial arts. The books refer to them as 'techniques', but to limit confusion, the term Maneuver works better. They are typically special attacks, throws, chokes and so forth. As the skill in the martial art is raised, the character may select a new Maneuver. In addition, if the character selects a martial art at character creation, they get to select an additional Maneuver.



Methods are a refined/methodical way of doing something, usually created by an individual and they often die with that individual. They are typically narrow in application typically and often require an Advantage, Disadvantage or some combination thereof to learn. For example, a Method might give a bonus to Stealth rolls if you have the Small Disadvantage (taking advantage of one's smaller size), or a Method may grants a bonus against anybody who rolled a lower initiative than you, but requires the Quick Advantage to learn (because you strike before they are prepared). Another might be a Method that gives a character an actual Fear rating, but they must have the Large Advantage and the Benten's Curse Disadvantage (because they are so big and intimidating).


Methods are stand alone and not multi-ranked. Methods often form the basis for Techniques or the improvement of Techniques. Indeed, the Rank 1 Technique of some schools actually use the term, like the Rank 1 Kitsuki Magistrate Technique "Kitsuki's Method". Most schools have small libraries of Methods that it's students and sensei have developed over the years. They are kept for reference when working on techniques and sometimes taught to special students that are capable of learning them as a reward (and to to keep other clans on their toes).



Techniques are reflective of specialized, long-term training and philosophy toward combat, court, investigation or some other duty/profession. The multi-rank Techniques of the clans are the results of many sensei and exceptional students refining and contributing to the techniques over years or even centuries. Each Rank of a Technique builds on the previous Ranks. In addition, some schools have "Secret Techniques", which are alternate Rank 3, 4 or 5 Techniques that are taught to exceptional students as a reward (and to to keep other clans on their toes).

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  • 4 months later...



Most samurai have two forms of annual income: A stipend from their family and pay for their job.


Family Stipend

Each samurai gets a annual stipend from hie or her family. The amount can vary great from clan to clan and family to family. Vassal families and ji-samurai often receive less as well.

Without any special titles or anything, the rule of thumb for the yearly stipend from your family is:

Family Stipend: (Amount of koku from your starting outfit) + (any ranks of the Wealth Advantage) x (Glory) koku per year



Pay is based on military rank and/or appointed position. The amount can vary great from clan to clan.

Army organization and ranks can vary a bit, but here is a general idea of ranks and their range of pay:

Rikugunshokan (General): 1,000-5,000 koku per year
Shireikan (Colonel/Lieutenant General): 500-2,000 koku per year
Taisa (Captain/Major): 250-500 koku per year
Chui (Lieutenant): 100-200 koku per year
Gunso (Sergeant): 20-50 koku per year
Nikutai (Corpral): 10-20 koku per year
Hohei (Private): 2-5 koku per year

Note: General Yataro was designated by Fumiya as his General (because he advised Fumiya, developed battle plans, commanded the Hideji troops, and his general experience), but he was more like a Taisa (Captain/Major) based on the number of troops he actually commanded. In this case, General was more of a title, as he was not an actual general in the Crane army.


Shugenja, Courtiers and Clan Magistrates have a similar pay scale as well (such as "aide" to "Ambassador to Imperial Court" for courtiers ).


Jade Magistrates...

Jade Magistrates are not part of your clans' individual army (essentially) for the time being and receive a salary from the Jade Champion. As traveling Jade Magistrates your yearly salary is:

Traveling Jade Magistrate: 100 + (Rank x20) koku per year

Higher positions within the Jade Magistrates can be reached through promotion and make more, but have greater responsibilities as well, just like the military.

The pay is quite high because it is an Imperial Job and you are expected to hire any help you need with it, be it hiring a yojimbo, a yoriki and/or doshin to watch over an area, personal assistants and so forth.

In general, you are not given a bag of koku by the Jade Magistrates. Instead you essentially have an account which you can have billed. For example, if you needed a large quantity of jade (like 20 koku worth) to combat an oni, you would 'buy' the jade with what is essentially an IOU. The merchant would turn it in to his lord, who would pay him. The Lord would then hold onto the IOU and at tax time would hand it over to the Imperial Tax Collector to have the 20 koku deducted from his taxes. The tax collector then submits the IOU to the Jade Magistrates who then take the 20 koku out of your pay.

It is good to have some money on you though, as smaller things should be paid for (and paying for information with an IOU is more than difficult).


And for those wondering about hiring people, here are some general ideas about proper pay for different positions. Again, these are rough values and can be adjusted up or down depending on region, skill level and so on. As with pretty much any job, people would are paid well do not want to ruin a good thing, so they often work a bit harder.


Ronin Yojimbo: (Rank) koku per month

For those wishing some additional personal protection (like shugenja and courtiers), a a yojimbo is not provided by your clan, then a ronin yojimbo can usually be hired to travel with and protect you. Youjimbo are bodyguards though, not minions to sick on other people (though some ronin yojimbo, in either an eagerness to please or friendship/dedication may go beyond their normal duties). Ronin of great skill and/or those Clan ronin with actual techniques command a higher price (sometimes significantly higher). Above is the price for a typical 'true ronin' yojimbo with competency for his or her rank.


Yoriki: 1-3 koku per month

Hiring a yoriki to help watch over a small area (a few small villages or a town) or to travel with you as an aide (usually for paperwork and as a 'gopher')


Doshin: 1/2-1 koku per month

Hiring heimin doshin to police a town or village (they typically purchase they own weapons, often a bow staff, though a jitte should be provided by the magistrate)

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  • 9 months later...

Kobo Ichi-Kai Jiujtsu

   In the reign of Hantei III, the famous monk Togashi Kaze taught an unarmed fighting style called "hands and feet" to the peasantry of Rokugan. A number of brutish Hida were, of course, on the receiving end of his throws in altercations, and the young Hida daimyo of the time. Tekien. respected any man with the self-discipline to achieve such power.

   "That man is a weapon against the Shadowlands," he told Hida Shinmen, his most trusted yojimbo.

   "Learn from him"

Hida Shinmen approached Kaze, but Kaze would not show him anything, for he refused to teach samurai. Shinmen's Inquiries brought Kaze before the Emperor where he died never showing a samurai a single technique. Shinmen returned In failure.

   "You are a disgrace," Tekien declared. "You have failed me utterly and you are denied seppuku. At my order, you are no longer a Hida."

   His yojimbo was aghast, until the daimyo leaned very close to him, his breath hissing out from the grinning mempo of the Armor of the Shadow Warrior. Also at my order," he growled in a very low voice, "you are a peasant who is very angry at me."

   The yojimbo handed over his swords, and thirty years passed...

   One day, an old rice farmer named Shinmenko came to Hida castle and requested permission to speak to the Daimyo. After a day-long demonstration of unarmed techniques, he was named Hida Shinmenko, and he began teaching jiujutsu to the samurai.

   But something went wrong. Shinmenko's students were asked to give a demonstration for the Emperor. They fought hard and they painfully defeated a group of monks chosen for the match. But the fourth Hantel was skeptical of jiujutsu's battlefield use and ordered it demonstrated on a captured troll. which promptly killed one of Shinmenko's students Shinmenko was granted permission for seppuku.

   Tekien was ashamed. "I will not fail: he told the Emperor.

   "I do not care if it takes one hundred years. I will never quit until my bushi can use every weapon in Rokugan against your enemy."

   It was Kaiu Dokushojin, Shinmenko's student who hit upon the answer. "The deepest truth; he quoted Shinsei, is that everything I have taught you Is wrong!" Kaze's students, he concluded had taught Shinmenko flawed techniques that worked in stylized form but not actual combat.

   With that in mind, he took Hida Kakki, Kuni Jisso, and Hiruma Jotaro throughout Rokugan, storming peasant jiujutsu schools and dishonoring themselves by brawling. Kakki and Jotaro fought, while Dokushojin watched match after match, seeing the structure of the body at its strongest and weakest, finding a way to fight using economy of motion. Jisso nursed the defeated, or dissected their corpses to find out which techniques were fatal.

   It took them sixteen years. and they returned missing teeth and eyes and fingers. Tekien, now gray with age, demanded they choose a fearsome bushi for a demonstration before the Emperor. Dokushojin looked throughout the castle, reviewing the hordes of armored Hida bushi, and the four chose as one, bringing forth Hida Akemi, Tekien's shy, asthmatic, fifteen-year-old granddaughter, who stood perhaps five feet tall...

   In sandals.

   They took her into a cave in the mountains and no one heard from them for two years. When they emerged. they held a match at Kyuden Hida before the Imperial Court. The Kuni brought forth another captive, an ogre that had torn through two iron cages and bellowed its rage from a very deep pit. Eyes downcast in the presence of the Emperor. Akemi took off her sandals, put aside her fan, and descended. She blinded and killed the ogre.

   And three samurai...

   From each Clan...

   The court was disgusted, stunned into silence at the ears and other pieces she had torn from their soldiers. She had not even wiped the black ogre bleed from her fingertips before driving them into the bushi's eyes and throats.

   The Emperor turned and spoke without speaking. Hida Tekien, who had watched the proceedings silently from inside his metal shell stood. throwing aside the tetsubo he had been using as a crutch.

   "There is a final test." the daimyo said to the four creators of the style, and he stepped over the bodies of the fallen warriors to the center of the pit, where his granddaughter still stood in her casual combat stance.

   Slowly, Tekien drew Chikara, the ancestral katana of the Crab Clan, its blade glowing hotly as it neared the dead ogre. He stared her in the eyes and the only sound was beating hearts. At last the daimyo made the first movement

   "Teach that to my bushi." he ordered. and handed her the sword.




   Kobo ichi-kai jtujutsu. also called 'Kaiu-ryu" "Morote-kai," or simply "kobo," teaches that the physical principles of armed and unarmed fighting, whatever the weapon, are one and the same. It was designed to train the largest number of bushi as fast as possible, as well as possible, against multiple competent opponents twice their size and weight. It blends hard soft styles, and is the hand-to-hand system taught at Hida and Hiruma schools.

   Kobo ichi is the Crab martial principle that all defenses should inflict damage, making defending and attacking one and the same. "Kai," like "ryu." means "house" or "school. Kobo teaches eight principles: commit only after opponent commits; reduce the number of weapons facing you; straight force must be turned aside and round force blocked; straight lines are faster than arcs; surprise comes in the changing of range and altitude; the second joints (elbows and knees) control the balance; disrupting balance creates time; touch reflexes are faster than visual reflexes.

   In practical application, this means Crab bushi do not use committed movements such as leaps in the air or sacrifice throws where they drop to their back. Such moves would get them killed on the Kaiu Wall against multiple opponents. "Blows should be felt and not seen." is the kobo motto.

   While kobo can theoretically be used by captured and disarmed bushi to fight off goblins and ogres, Crabs prefer weapons when dealing with Shadowlands creatures. Phoenix historians state that kobo's most common actual application is on other samurai in brothels, opium dens. and the back corridors of the Kaiu Wall after somebody just gambled away ten koku.

   While technically a Bugei Skill many other samurai disdain this style of jiujutsu: the Crane and Dragon because it's cruel., the Phoenix and Lion because it lowers reverence the sword, and the Scorpion because it makes Crabs harder to assassinate (most Unicorn think it's pretty useful).  A kobo practitioner loses one point of Honor for every rank have in the skill; when he or she learns a new rank the honor continues to drop. Thus, a character with Kobo 1 drops 0.1 Honor; when experience takes it to Rank 2. she loses 0.2 more Honor. However, this does not decrease further simply by using the skill and may be regained over time. (Brawling in tea houses still drops Honor.)

   Many of kobo's teachings have found their way into the general juijitsu practiced by other samurai, though the Crab reserve several "secret teachings" for themselves. When a character purchases the Hand-to-Hand skill at creation, she may throw, sweep, kick, and punch as detailed in Way of the Dragon - but if she has served on the Kaiu Wall, she should record the skill on the character sheet as "Hand-to-hand (Kobo)." This allows her to choose two of the following maneuvers  with which to start play. Each successive rank of the skill allows an additional maneuver. Those characters who learn kobo after character generation learn only one at the first rank and one per rank normally thereafter.



   Note: After achieving 3 ranks in Kobo ichi-kai, the kobo practitioner may no longer choose to keep any but his highest dice when delivering damage without spending a Void Point or taking a Raise specifically for that purpose. Lethal responses are automatic.

Break the Bones (Agility)

   When fighting enemies who are already dead. the only sure way to disable them is to literally break them apart The bushi hyperextends an opponent's joint and either cranks it beyond its capacity or braces and smashes it. This requires two Raises to the attack when unarmed or using paired weapons, three with a single weapon. If successful, the damage roll adds an extra die and does a minimum of 12 Wounds, either crippling the wrist, elbow, or shoulder, preventing future attacks, or the knee, rendering the target effectively immobile. This allows normal damage to zombies; even they cant fight very well with two broken. This can be done during Contested grappling rolls if the bushi exceeds the opponent's roll by the necessary Raises.

   Invulnerability stops crippling damage completely.

Drunk Bushi (Reflexes)

   Samurai use the Drunk Bushi maneuver to grab an enemy's swinging katana at the hilt and overextend its arc to disarm and strike the wielder in one movement. This requires two free hands, and takes the user's attack for the round, but takes effect at the opponent's initiative rather than his own. Drunk Bushi can also be used against any one-banded, non-flexible, single weapon.

   The bushi makes a contested Reflexes + Defense roll, with a TN of 5 x the opponent's Agility + Weapon Skill, with one Raise. If the bushi fails, the opponent's attack succeeds normally. If he succeeds, he has hit the attacker with his own weapon. The bushi rolls his Strength + weapon damage, but drops the highest die, and any armor the original wielder is wearing subtracts directly from the Wounds inflicted (e.g -5 or -10). No further Raises may be made to increase this damage.

   Note: Scorpion Bushi with Strike at the Tail may do a similar maneuver at their normal TN (Weapon Skill x 5) with three Raises.

   The maneuver's nickname comes from the standard report given by Yasuki magistrates the morning after a brawl. ("Drunk bushi! Fell on his own katana!")

Hida's Lesson (Reflexes)

   This maneuver allows a bushi to stop an opponents grab by striking him. If an opponent attempts to grapple or throw the character and she has not yet acted that round, she may declare she is using Hida's Lesson, and make a reactionary roll of her Reflexes + Hand-to-Hand against the opponent's Agility x 5, doing damage and Raises normally.

   In addition. if the bushi wishes to attack a target she suspects will counter with a throw (i.e. a Crab attacking a Kakita dancer who just gave a Mizu-do demonstration), she may declare she is using Hide's Lesson and take one Raise on the attack. This raises the TN for the opponent's reactionary roll to (Reflexes + Hand-to-Hand) x 5. Such an attack does damage normally.

   This maneuver can only be used if the bushi has empty hands or a weapon tanto-sized or smaller. If the bushi wishes to drop his larger weapon in order to do so, he may, but few Crab recommend this.

Slam the Gates (Fire)

   The bushi traps the opponent's limbs to cut off future attacks, pinning the elbows or stomping on the knee or foot. This attack does no damage, but for each Raise, the bushi's opponent is at -2 to their Initiative (dropping it for that round if they have not yet gone, or the following round if they have already had their action). In addition. for each Raise, the bushi may either get a Free Raise on his next attack on that target, or add 5 to his opponent's TN to hit him that round (or next round, if the opponent has already acted).

   If the bushi can attack more than once a round, he may use this technique more than once (getting a progressively better position). Bonuses or penalties are cumulative.

   Example: Hida Takuan is ignoring all precepts of an honorable duel. He wins Initiative, and takes two Raises on his attack to stomp on Mirumoto Matahachi's foot and slam a hand on his arm so he can't back up or draw his sword

   The roll succeeds, dropping Matahachi's Initiative by 4 for this round (useful if Takuan has friends dishonorably helping out), and giving Takuan the choice of either getting two Free Raises on his next attack or giving Matahachi's attacks this round a +10 TN penalty. If Matahachi had already acted the TN penalty and -4 Initiative would have applied the following round.

   Unfortunately for the Dragon, Takuan knows the Two Pincers, One Mind technique, and immediately uses the two Free Raises to try Break the Bones on Matahachi's arm.

Tear-Giving (Agility)

   This Is a secret maneuver, and Is taught only to Crab samurai.

   It was invented due to a serendipitous side effect of coating weapons with jade powder and oil - one's fingertips become covered with the tears of Amaterasu. When her weapon was lost, such a bushi could still flick her fingertips out and drive them into an ones eyes to do unhealable Wounds.

   If already grappling an opponent, this maneuver can be done with one Raise to hit eye and two Raises to hit both.

   In normal hand-to-hand, this requires two Raises for one eye, three for both eyes.

   Without this maneuver, it is still possible to target eyes with hands or weapons. but requires three to four Raises.

   As long as the attack does at least one Wound, the opponent is in pain. adding 10 (one eye) or 20 (blinded) to all TNs for a minimum of one minute. If the target has more than two eyes, halve the penalty. Delivering more than three times a targets Stamina in Wounds destroys the eye(s) permanently for oni and human alike.

   Throwing a cloud of lade powder In the eyes of Shadowlands creatures requires one or two raises on an Agility + Athletics attack and gets the same reaction, but with no actual damage.


Wearing Down the Mountain (Reflexes)

   This Is a secret maneuver, and Is taught only to Crab samurai.

   The bushi learns to unload a stream of short, rapid hand techniques on the opponent the moment she has a clear shot. While the target pauses in shock from one blow, she hits it again and again. The movements are too small to use with any weapon larger than a tanto. This takes two Raises, and grants an additional two dice of damage, with the following effects: It adds 10 to the TN of a target trying to use Mountain Does Not Move and does 3 Wounds to an invulnerable target rather than 1. The target also subtracts the bushi's Reflexes from his Initiative every round they are hit by such an attack.

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  • Matt changed the title to OOC: L5R: Blood and Jade - Notes & Updated/House Rules Refrence


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