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- - - Clothing - - -


The Kimono is the standard attire of the Samurai caste. Kimono are T-shaped, straight-lined robes worn so that the hem falls to the ankle, with attached collars and long, wide sleeves. Kimono are wrapped around the body, always with the left side over the right (except when dressing the dead for burial) and secured by a sash called an obi, which is tied at the back. Men wear narrow obi and women wear broad obi and tie them with large elaborate bows in the back. Samurai-ko can choose to wear either form of obi.


Kimono are generally worn with Tabi (split-toe socks) and Zori (flat sandals) or Geta (sandals elevated by wooden blocks to keep the feet out of water and mud).


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Some unmarried women, most often younger girls of the Crane Clan, choose to wear a type of kimono with almost floor-length sleeves (reaching the mid-calf roughly) called a Furisode.





Beneath the kimono a simple kimono of white cotton called a nagajuban is worn to soak up sweat and stains from the body, protecting the kimono. Since silk kimono are delicate and difficult to clean, the nagajuban helps to keep the outer kimono clean by preventing contact with the wearer's skin. Only the collar edge of the nagajuban shows from beneath the outer kimono. This undergarment (as well as tabi) can be changed out several times on a warm day.


There are additional garments that can be worn over the kimono. The most common of these is the Haori. A haori is, essentially, a thigh length kimono that is work open. Indeed many worn or damaged kimono are shortened and made into haori. In inclement weather, the haori is worn for warmth and to protect the kimono. Otherwise, it is won just to 'class up a bit'. A haori adds just a hint of formality to the outfit. It is the rough modern-day approximation of a really nice sweater or simple blazer. The sleeves of a haori can be tied/folded in such a way as to conceal them and make the garment sleeveless. in addition some haori are made sleeveless. A sleeveless haori (by design or folding) can also be worn over kataginu (see below).





The next most common additional garment are Hakama. Hamaka are pleated, loose pants that are worn to add a hint of formality, but also allow ease of movement. They are almost always worn by bushi in the dojo while training (but are not exclusive to the dojo by any means) and some bushi prefer to wear hakama for that freedom of movement in case the need for combat arises.





The Kataginu is another garment added to the kimono to formalize it. A kataginu is a vest with broad, exaggerated, pointed shoulders and is worn typically for formal occasions.


When kataginu and hamaka are both added to a kimono, it becomes an outfit called a Kamishimo. The kamishimo is the most formal outfit samurai will typically wear and it is usually only worn on formal occasions. Courtiers and high-ranking samurai will often wear it on a daily basis though. The kamishimo is the rough modern equivalent of a tuxedo or very nice suit.


a Jinbaori is similar to a sleeveless haori, but is designed to be worn over armor. Jinbaori are worn by daimyo and generals when they are armored and very ornate.





Those of lower castes do not often wear or even own kimono. On the off chance that a peasant does own and wear a kimono, it is generally very plain, often a solid, dull color with little or no pattern or design. often made of cotton. Peasants wear clothing appropriate to their work. This often means short pants, shirts and vests with headbands being common for more physical labor intensive professions to simply keep the sweat from the eyes.


Some samurai will wear peasant clothing, like pants, if needed. it is generally a matter of function due to a specific duty, but occasionally they are worn out of preference. The Unicorn often buck tradition by incorporating pieces of gaijin clothing into their attire, while the Scorpions often push the limit of what is acceptable with the cuts, collars and lengths of their kimono. Lady Kachiko is an example of this with her kimono often baring both shoulders and a part of her back while being slightly shorter and cut in such a way as to show her figure better and reveal more leg when she wishes.

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Law Enforcement In Rokugan


The most common member of law enforcement that most people in the Empire will ever see or encounter is the Doshin.  Drawn up from the peasant castes, the doshin are not samurai nor magistrates, but are empowered by magistrates (almost always Clan Magistrates) to serve and support them in enforcing of the laws. In theory, a doshin has the power to arrest, detain, and question anyone they suspect of a crime, but in reality a suspect of much higher rank than the doshin (i.e. samurai) would be treated with respect due his station... that was if the doshin did not simply inform his superior of his suspicions, thereby avoiding a public scene entirely.


Doshin are often skilled at intimidation, and groups of doshin are generally effective deterrents to crime. Occasionally, they are little more than thugs with a badge, but some peasants see serving a doshin in service to a magistrate as a way to try and elevate themselves and live up to more lofty ideals of law and order. Doshin form the foot patrols in many tows, guard the gates and even patrol the roads now the village, town or city they work in.


There is not specific uniform for doshin, per se,  but something of a de facto uniform has come about mostly due to utility. As such, doshin typically wear short pants, vest or short sleeve shirt and a headband. They are armed with a jitte tucked in their belt and usually a non-lethal weapon for subduing suspects, such as a sasumata or sodegarmi (in more affluent areas) or jo sticks, tonfa or bo staff (in less affluent/more remote areas). Doshin are one of the few peasants that are permitted to wear armor. For example, if they are going to 'make a bust' where they expect significant resistance, they may don up to light armor. Some of the more affluent cities equip all of their their doshin with light armor which they may wear at all times while on-duty.



Two typical doshin, each armed with jitte (the de facto 'badge') and a bo staff.



Doshin report to, and are overseen by, a Yoriki (a catch-all term for aide). Yoriki are appointed by magistrates (usually Clan Magistrates), though like the doshin, are not magistrates themselves. In some larger towns and most cities, yoriki are typically samurai, though in many towns and most villages they are heimin.


The yoriki oversees the day to day operations of the doshin in a town or village, or they may operate a 'precinct' in a larger city (much like a police captain). They perform much of the leg work in the magistrate's absence, such as finding and interviewing witnesses, handling and questioning prisoners as well as overseeing doshin. A yoriki stationed in a town or village would also be charged with inspecting travel papers, and anyone traveling through would be expected to inform the resident Yoriki of their intent and destination.


A yoriki is not a magistrate though, and does not have the same levels of diplomatic immunity nor the right to render judgements that a magistrate does. As such a yoriki will secure prisoners until a magistrate can arrive to oversee a court proceeding or render judgement.


As a representative of law enforcement, yoriki carry a jitte as well.


Above the yoriki are the Magistrates. Magistrates are samurai directly empowered by the Emperor, Emperor's Champions or Daimyo to enforce the laws of the Empire or clan, as well as carry out certain official duties like collecting taxes.



Clan magistrates uphold the laws of their specific clan. They generally have defined duties that are similar from clan to clan. Higher ranking magistrates serve as judges and as overseers of their lower ranking magistrates. Clan Magistrates might be assigned to a specific area or city overseeing law enforcement in an entire city with yoriki 'precinct captains' reporting to him, or they might travel a circuit within their clan's lands, meeting with the yoriki in the towns and villages along his circuit, dispensing justice and investigating crimes where needed.


The authority of a Clan Magistrate resides only in the lands of their Clan, though they are typically permitted to purse fugitives of their own clan who flee into other parts of the Empire. Most clans have a school to specifically train their magistrates or they send their magistrates-to-be to a school of another clan  (such as the Crab and the Kitsuki Magistrate School of the Dragon Clan).


Clan Magistrates carry a jitte and an official badge of office, usually a large medallion with the Clan mon on one side with the Daimyo's chop and Family mon on the other side.


The relationship between Clan and Imperial, Emerald (and now Jade) Magistrates is generally amicable, as they may both assist the each other (usually with the Clan Magistrate aiding the Imperial, Emerald or Jade Magistrate). By and large though, Clan business is left to the Clan Magistrates. The various forms of Imperial, Emerald and Jade Magistrates only get involved in Clan matters if it involves more than one clan or of they are specifically asked to assist (by happening to be a magistrate on the spot). Otherwise, they enforce Imperial laws and leave clan matters to the clan.


Lower ranking Clan Magistrates report back to a Chief Magistrate. The Chief Magistrates of a province, family, or clan report directly to the samurai in charge of their assigned territory. For instance, provincial Chief Magistrates are under the command of Family Chief Magistrates, and they are in turn under the command of the Clan's Chief Magistrate.


The Imperial, Emerald and Jade Magistrates have a similar structure to the Clan Magistrates, though they do not answer to local (or even clan) leadership. Their Chief Magistrates report directly to the Emerald or Jade Champions, respectively. Their business involves imperial crimes, and as such, local authorities do not have purview over their affairs. Conversely, since the duties of these imperial magistrates involve imperial crimes, they typically do not interfere with local issues.

Some lower ranking magistrates (Clan, Imperial, Emerald and Jade) do not have a specific area assigned to them. Instead, they travel through assigned swathes of territory, dispensing justice where it is needed. Such magistrates often have duties that were more social than legal in nature, such as presiding over festivals, overseeing duels, and watching over the roads.


Above and somewhat beside the Clan Magistrates you have Imperial, Emerald and Jade Magistrates. It is possible, though rare, for one to be appointed a Clan Magistrate and an Imperial, Emerald or Jade Magistrate.



Imperial Magistrates are often from one of the Imperial Families and generally have little to do with actual criminal law enforcement. They serve, more or less, as an extension of the imperial bureaucracy. They perform duties like collecting taxes and overseeing the maintenance of Imperial Roads. They also serve as the 'Clan' Magistrates for the Imperial families and only rarely deal with actual crimes of any significance.


Imperial Magistrates have a similar structure to the Clan Magistrates, though they do not answer to local (or even clan) leadership. Instead Imperial Magistrates report back to their Chief Imperial Magistrates, who in turn, report back to the Emperor directly, though in practice the Emperor is rarely involved as long as things run as they should.


Imperial Magistrates tend to dress in full kamishimo and carry a jitte, though they almost never learn how to use it. For them, it is simply part of the uniform. They also carry a fan with the Imperial Chrysanthemum or one of the Imperial in black and white as their official badge of office. The Imperial Magistrates are under the aegis of the Emperor himself.



Emerald Magistrates are appointed by the Emerald Champion to adjudicate the Emperor's laws and they have broad powers to achieve this goal, including the standard powers to recruit assistance and to hold court common to all magistrates, but their powers are only applicable to cases where capital offenses have been committed or in multi-clan situations. The Emerald Magistrates are under the aegis of the Emerald Champion (Lord Doji Satsume) and therefore the Emperor himself.


Emerald Magistrates generally find themselves investigating three types of crime.  Murder takes up the largest part of their time.  If a samurai of a Great Clan dies under mysterious circumstances in lands that are not his own, such a matter immediately becomes the concern of the Emerald Magistrates.  Acts of Treason against the Emperor are also automatically matters for the Emerald Magistrates.  Finally, cases of Wanton Destruction (the definition of which is usually a matter of fierce debate) pose a threat to Imperial Security and are usually taken over by the Emerald Magistrates.


The Emerald Magistrates have a similar structure to the Clan Magistrates, though they do not answer to local (or even clan) leadership. Their Chief Emerald Magistrates report directly to the Emerald Champion. Their business involves imperial crimes, and as such, local authorities do not have purview over their affairs. Conversely, since the duties of the Emerald Magistrates involve imperial crimes, they typically do not interfere with local issues.


Emerald Magistrates carry a jitte and an ornately carved stone sphere (approximately 4" diameter) inset with several emeralds and engraved with the mon of the Emerald Champion as their badge of office. The sphere also doubles as a handy gavel for court proceedings.



Jade Magistrates are the investigators under the Jade Champion. They are tasked with crimes involving maho, magic and the arcane, and as such contain many more shugenja than any other from of magistrate. Their primary goal is the eradication of blood magic (maho and maho-tsukai) throughout the empire, but they also contend with the threats of the Shadowlands withing the Empire. The Jade Magistrates also help keep an eye on the development of new magics as well as the introduction of gaijin magics to the Empire, keeping a close eye on the dangerous and possibly blasphemous (Such as the Unicorn Clan's Meishodo) . The Jade Magistrates also have the responsibility of protecting the Empire from blasphemy and other forms of religious subversion, though they do not often have to execute this duty. The Jade Magistrates are under the aegis of the Jade Champion (Lord Kuni Yori) and therefore the Emperor himself.


The structure of the Jade Magistrates is still being set up by the Jade Champion, but it is likely to mirror that of the Emerald Magistrates, at least somewhat.


Jade Magistrates carry a jitte and an ornately carved jade sphere (approximately 4" diameter) engraved with the mon of the Jade Champion as their badge of office. In addition to providing a degree of protection from the taint, the sphere also doubles as a handy gavel for court proceedings.



Powers of the Magistrates

All Magistrates, and those that directly serve them, carry a jitte. It the generic symbol of their station and carrying one marks the bearer as a representative of law enforcement.


Magistrates do not need travel papers. They are free to go where they need in the execution of their duties.


Magistrates may wear armor at in the execution of their duties, regardless of their own clan and what clan's lands they are in at the moment. They are enacting the will of the Emperor and in the end all land is owned by the Emperor, who permits his Clans to govern it in his name.

Magistrates have the ability to deputize others or to appropriate items need to assist them in the direct execution of their duties.

Magistrates can also hold convene courts. In some rural areas prisoners are detained until a magistrate can either oversee the trial or simply render judgement. Trials of higher ranking samurai are typically overseen by a Chief Magistrate.

Though Emerald and Jade Magistrates have specific duties, they are still representatives of Imperial Law and sometimes have to carry out other, broader duties simply because they are the ones on the spot and it would take too long to send for a more appropriate magistrate. A Emerald Magistrate may have to deal with a maho-tsukai who just murdered somebody in front of him or a Jade Magistrate might have to investigate a murder of Lion by a Crane before extremely high tensions boil over into war, just because they are there when it happened.



Kuni Witch-Hunters, Asako Inquisitors and Wasp Bounty Hunters are all empowered by the Emperor or his Champions to carry out their duties. They are technically magistrates, but with very specific duties and narrow powers and responsibilities, each with their own medallion to reflect their position and duty.



A Note on Rokugani Justice...

Justice in Rokugan is different from what it is in our day and age. The Emperor and the Daimyo establish the laws, and the magistrates and samurai enforce them. Punishments tend to be harsh, to prevent other from committing a similar crime. The farmer who is beheaded for touching a samurai's sword serves as an example to other Heimin. For peasants, there are virtually no rules of evidence, no reasonable doubt.

The law applies different to the various castes though. For the samurai, there are courts, magistrates and appeals. The rules of evidence are higher, though eye-witness testimony virtually always overrides evidence (if there is any). The word of somebody of higher Station/Glory literally does mean more. So when accusing a high ranking samurai of a crime, it is best to be sure there is plenty of evidence and many witnesses in good standing.

But if the criminal is a peasant, they can be killed outright, citing their guilt. It is very rare anyone will second guess a magistrate's actions. What's one more dead farmer? Peasants do their best to avoid displeasing samurai, lest they pay with their lives.

Perception more important than truth. Innocent peasants are convicted all the time, because a samurai says they're guilt. Truth is not part of the equation. They may even knowing punish an innocent, because it's politically expedient (or they can't be bothered to find the real culprit). Once a magistrate has enough evidence to satisfy his own honor and sense of justice, he is free to mete out punishment. If a magistrate believes a stable boy is guilty of a murder because he has an evil look about him, than that's that. If a criminal was known to be guilty, then a confession might be obtained by whatever means necessary so magistrates often employ eta who are professional torturers to obtain a confession.

Personal honor is the primary thing that keeps magistrates in check and doing their job well. They have been given a duty by their daimyo or one of the Emperor's Champions, and execute their duty to the best of their ability, though lazy and/or corrupt magistrates certainly do exist...

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Peasant Conscripts and Ashigaru

There are commonly two types of non-samurai found on the battle field: Peasant Conscripts and Ashigaru.

Peasant Conscripts

In times of war, when greater numbers are (often desperately) needed for battle, peasants are sometimes conscripted into service (and more or less sent to the battle front to die). They rarely have any combat training at all and tend to lack real courage and resolve. They wear little more than padding that serves as a laughable excuse for armor (or more often, no armor at all) and are typically armed with a crude bamboo spear (a bamboo pole with the end cut at a sharp angle to give it a stabbing point). If the spear needs to be sharpened for another battle, another couple of inches would be cut off to make a sharp point once more. These peasant conscripts are generally used to perform holding actions or merely charge at each other in large numbers (and serve as an interesting backdrop for dueling samurai).

Padded Conscript Armor

+1 to TN to Be Hit

Bamboo spear (Yarijutsu) - 2k1

+1k0 to initiative for the first round of combat.

After 1 round on the Battle Chart (or 10 rounds of skirmish combat) Armor/Carapace ratings are considered DOUBLED against the spear as it is now blunted.

Counters the +5 TN to be hit bonus an opponent gains from being mounted.


Illustrating the end of a bamboo spear, the typical weapon of peasant conscripts. A simple pole of bamboo, cut at an angle to make a stabbing point.


Ashigaru (literally, "lightfeet" or "quick legs") are professional peasant solders. They occupy a grey zone between the top of the Heimin and the bottom of the Samurai castes, as they are technically peasants, but strive to the ideals of samurai. Most of the Clans have families of Ashigaru who have served them for generations, and most of those in the family have a fierce pride and loyalty equaling that of most samurai. Some of these ashigaru families have even developed their own Methods or (in rare cases) crude Techniques over the years. In times of peace these hereditary ashigaru serve mostly as guardsmen, doshin, and scouts. Some individual and even groups of ashigaru are professional mercenaries, selling their services to Lords and Generals at times of war.

Some of the best, professional ashigaru actually acquire Light Armor and occasionally even a kabuto helm. Typically though, ashigaru wear Ashigaru Armor and a conical helmet known as a jingasa. For armament ashigaru foot soldiers often owned a yari, while ashigaru archers would own a yumi (or occasionally han-kyu). Ashigaru were typically permitted to carry a katana (usually Low Quality), and sometimes even a full daisho. The sword was used as a backup weapon when their primary weapon(s) failed or broke.

Occasionally an ashigaru is officially promoted to the rank of ji-samurai (Clan samurai, but with no family name) for exceptional service or great deeds in battle.


Ashigaru in service to the Scorpion Clan, with full Ashigaru Armor, Jingasa Helm, Sashimono (back banner) and Yari.

Ashigaru Armor

+1 to +3 to TN to Be Hit

Ashigaru Armor is light, flexible and cheap to manufacture. The basic form of ashigaru armor is simply a Do (cuirass) and Kusazuri (tassets) with a jingasa helm. Full ashigaru armor has addition protection consisting of metal plates laced or sewn onto cloth that covered the arms and legs. (Lower quality ashigaru armor used lacquered/painted bamboo in place of the metal plates.) Some samurai consider wearing ashigaru armor if a mission requires them to travel light and fast, such as scouting. Ronin are also noted for commonly using ashigaru armor because of it's availability and low cost.

Jingasa Helm

+1 to +3 to TN to Be Hit

Jingasa helms are typically made of hardened lacquered leather, but the better ones are made with iron. The jingasa is also commonly marked with the mon of the lord or clan to help identify the warrior's side on a battlefield. The metal jingasa would often be used to cook in by traveling ashigaru.

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Samurai (Part 1)



The samurai of the Empire fall into one of five groups: Imperials, Great Clans, Minor Clans, Unaligned and Ronin.


1) Ronin are samurai with neither a clan nor lord and are the lowest members of the samurai caste. Being clanless and lordless, they have nobody to fall back on or look to for support and so many ronin become skilled hunters and relax their dietary restrictions in order to simply feed themselves. Being a samurai without a lord, and therefore duty, is the worst possible existence in the minds of most samurai. Samurai are meant to serve, and so many ronin seek nothing more than to serve a lord once more, even if it means becoming Unaligned and/or a ji-samurai (see below).

Most ronin are of samurai birth, and were either banished from the Clan (clan ronin) or are the children of those that were (true ronin). Occasionally a ronin is a peasant who has taken up the study of bushido and tries to live with honor as a samurai (true ronin as well) even if a just a ronin. This is generally seen as a noble pursuit and typically at least humored by samurai.

Some ronin settle down in towns or villages, becoming their protector from petty bandits and the like. As such, they are given room and board and function has an unofficial doshin the rest of the time. Others become totally mercenary, wandering the Empire and selling their services to generals to bolster armies or to merchants as guards, yoriki or yojimbo (personal bodyguards). Occasionally a another samurai will hire a ronin as a yojimbo. These ronin yojimbo tend to be very dedicated to their job as they hope it may earn them a way back into the service of a lord. In their desperation, some ronin even become bandits.

Not all ronin are bushi. Any samurai can become a ronin, including courtiers and shugenja. Ronin courtiers may end up selling their services as yoriki to merchants, magistrates, minor daimyo or even minor clans as yoriki or even tutors in the ways of the court and etiquette. Ronin shugenja rarely have difficulty finding work, but as they lack a school, they do not have a reliable source from which to draw spells...


2) The Unaligned are samurai and samurai families (sometimes with a family name), who have a lord (and therefore duty) but do not belong to a clan. They individually (or in the case of a family, their daimyo) swear fealty to the Emperor. The Unaligned either have a specific function (like serving as Master of the Hunt to the Imperials) or they govern/protect much of the lands of the Empire that do not belong to the Clans. They are NOT ronin, as ronin are samurai with neither a clan nor lord.


3) Minor Clans are small clans, ranging from a few dozen to several thousand members. They usually consist of just one family (about 50% have a family name), as well as occasionally ji-samurai and vassal families (see below). In the case of a minor clan that lacks a family name (like the Mantis). calling a member of said minor clan "a ji-samurai" (see below) is a grave insult. Minor Clans have their own lands and mon, and a degree of wealth and prestige that comes with them. Most Minor Clans are allied with a Great Clan for support (Hare/Lion, Dragonfly/Dragon, Centipede/Phoenix), some just try to maintain a low profile and not draw undue attention and still some band together for mutual support (the Three-Man Alliance of Wasp, Fox and Sparrow).

And lastly, members of Minor Clans to be very proud of their clan. After all, their ancestors actually earned their clan status.


4) Great Clans are massive, hundreds of thousands samurai each, with each being  founded by one of the kami that fell to earth. The Great Clans comprise roughly 90% of the samurai of the Empire (with the Imperials, Minor Clans, Unaligned, and Ronin making up the other 10% combined). Each Great Clan controls a massive amount of land and resources and they all have representation at Imperial court.

Each Great Clan is made of major families, minor families, vassal families, and ji-samurai.

Most of the Great Clans have 3-5 Major families. These are the largest and/or most prominent families of the clan which everybody knows. They usually number in the tens of thousands each, though there are certainly larger families of hundreds of thousands and smaller families of several dozen. Each major family has it's own lands and is ruled by a family daimyo who swears fealty to the clan daimyo/champion. One of the families is the ruling family of the clan with it's family daimyo also being clan daimyo/champion who rules the clan and swears fealty directly to the Emperor.

Minor families are smaller and/or much less well known families of the clan, numbering from a dozen to a few thousand usually. They have their own lands family daimyo who swears fealty to the clan daimyo/champion. Often these minor families have a specific function or role they fill. They are formed either by the clan daimyo or (rarely) Emperor himself.

Vassal Families are branches of a major family and still show respect to the 'parent' family. Family daimyo typically create vassal families, often as a way of honoring one of his own by giving them a family name. Vassal families are occasionally ronin 'families' that a Family Daimyo of a clan may accept into their family as a vassal family. In these cases, the ronin family often become ji-samurai (see below), but occasionally a family name is granted to them as a vassal family. Vassal families have their own family daimyo who swears fealty to the daimyo of the parent family (as they are technically part of the parent family) and they control some of the parent family's land, holding it in trust for them.

Members of vassal families honor their parent family when introductions are made.

For example:

Takeda Isomu is a member of the Takeda family, vassals of the Kakita. He would be introduced as "Takeda Isomu no Kakita" (Takeda Isomu of the Kakita). After introductions were made however, one need not reference the Kakita again when addressing him or speaking of him.

For example:

Hideki is a ji-samurai (see below) and vassal of the Daidoji. He would be introduced as "Hideki no Daidoji" (Hideki of the Daidoji) which is not the same as "Daidoji Hideki". After introductions were made however, one need not reference the Daidoji again when addressing him or speaking of him


Ji-Samurai are individuals or sometimes even vassal families who belong to a clan, but have not earned the right to bear a family name. Ronin who are taken into a clan and ashigaru who are promoted to samurai status are often ji-samurai. They are the lowest level of samurai within a clan, and and as such, ji-samurai tend to be extremely ambitious. (Ujimitsu could have been a ji-samurai had the Emperor not personally made him part of the Bayushi family).

(Ujimitsu could have been a ji-samurai had the Emperor not personally made him part of the Bayushi family, since he lost his family name (Kakita) when Lord Doji Satsume made him a ronin.)

Members of vassal families and ji-samurai do not often get to attend one of the prestigious schools of the major families, though this can vary from family to family a bit. Most of them are trained in small schools run by their family (with either a method or a fairly weak/limited technique reaching no more than Rank 3) or receive instruction from an elder family member in the fundamentals of their duty (often meaning they receive no technique).


5) The Imperials are the noble families of the Empire. Each Imperial family numbers only a few thousand members (at most, with the Hantei being a special case) and is ruled by a family daimyo. Even Great Clan Daimyo tend to differ to Imperial Family Daimyo. Though the Imperial Families are technically Unaligned (clanless samurai families with a lord), they are effectively "The Imperial Clan" with the Hantei as the ruling family as they are all of noble blood. Nobody would dare call them a clan or even unaligned though.


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A Map of Rokugan...






HERE is a link to a bigger version of the map that you can zoom in on, making the numbers easier to read.


This is essentially the map of the Empire that any PC would have access to. The lands of all of the Great Clans and more prominent Minor Clans are indicated. The map does not list every road, village, town, castle, palace and shrine in the Empire by any means. The ones shown are just some of the most well known or important.


The numbers on the map correspond to the numbers for the map locations in the back of the 1st Ed Core book (pg. 230-245)


Tsuma is located at #52 on the map (just above the Crane Clan Mon).


Niwa Shita No Kage Toshi (Garden Under Shadow City) is located at #129 on the map (the southernmost tip of the Crane lands).



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Money in Rokugan...





Rokugan uses probably the worst possible economic system one could ever think up. The system is based on the rice harvest and the standard of measure is the koku, or the amount of rice to feed a man (at subsistence level) for one year (roughly six bushels). In years of poor rice harvests, a koku is worth more. In years of large rice harvests, a koku is worth less. For simplicity, the value will be constant unless the size of the harvest is a plot point. Also, for simplicity, I broke down the coinage a little more, changed some values and added some coins since before the smallest coin represented several days of food. The prices in the book say the same, your money just goes farther now. Rarely is the minutiae of small coins an issue though. The small purchases, like a cup of tea, are rarely worth recording. Generally the only time money will matter much is when you are buying things koku of bu..


Rokugan operates on a lunar calendar with 12 months of 4 weeks each (7 days per week or 28 days per month) for a total of 48 weeks or 336 days a year.


Each coin is based (in theory) on a measure of time (from one meal to one year) worth of rice to sustain a person.


Rokugani coins are either circular or rectangular with a hole in the center of the coin, which allows for the coins to be strung for easy carrying and counting. Each clan mints their own coinage, and uses distinctive marks on them. The theory is that the coins can be redeemed for an amount of rice equal to their value at any time, although this practice is rarely enforced. The coins remain in circulation, and are more commonly used as a medium of exchange.


The coins of the realm...


The Koku represents roughly the amount of rice to sustain a man for one year (about 6 bushels of rice).


The Bu (Ichibukin) represents roughly the amount of rice to sustain a man for one month (about half a bushel of rice).


The Shu represents roughly the amount of rice to sustain a man for one week.


The Zeni represents roughly the amount of rice to sustain a man for one day.


The Ichi (Ichijiki) represents roughly the amount of rice for one meal (a riceball).



1 Koku (Year) = 12 Bu (Months) = 48 Shu (weeks) = 333 Zeni (days) = 1,000 Ichi (meals)

1 Bu (Month) = 4 Shu (weeks) = 28 Zeni (days) = 84 Ichi (meals)


1 Shu (week) = 7 Zeni (days) = 21 Ichi (meals)


1 Zeni (day) = 3 Ichi (meals)



Some typical prices:


An Average cup of tea = 1 Ichi


An Average cup of sake = 2 Ichi


A cup of Friendly Traveler Sake = 2-10 Zeni  (depending on area)


A mochi (sweet rice) cake = 2 Ichi


An Average meal at an inn = 1 Zeni


A night in an Average inn = 2 Zeni  (breakfast or dinner included)


A night is a Fine inn = 4 Zeni  (breakfast or dinner included)


A night is a Fine inn = 1 Shu  (meals and drinks included)


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  • 2 weeks later...

Geisha and Geisha Houses...






In Rokugan, samurai are expected to conduct themselves with honor and integrity. They do not cry, complain, show their fear or many other things. They are to be stoic and dutiful. It can be very difficult to keep so much bottled up inside and so to deal with that the geisha came into being.


Geisha, “woman of the arts”, are women, and very occasionally men, who are paid to entertain and they date back to the second and third centuries. Geisha converse with and entertain samurai, with dance, music song and other arts, allowing the samurai a time to relax and 'let their hair down'. In private a samurai could complain, voice fears and even cry with the geisha there to soothe and comfort them. The geisha house is the only place a samurai could put aside the mask of his duties and be "only a man" during conversation with geisha. A samurai never opened his heart to his wife. A samurai could open his heart to a geisha, who was trained to listen to his woes and console him. Geisha provide a much-needed way for samurai relax and de-stress. What is witnessed within the walls of a geisha house by samurai stays there as well. Everybody understands and respects the need for such places.


Geisha are a part of the Hinin caste in Rokugan (and therefore peasants), although they are generally treated with far, far more respect than other groups within their caste. As such, the life of the geisha is an odd mixture of high-society pleasantries and low-born indentured servitude. They live in a sort of pocket reality, called by outsiders as the “floating world,” but the geisha have their own name, karyūkai, the “World of Flowers and Willows.” They are constantly surround by samurai and the trappings of the samurai caste, virtually treated like samurai, but know they are not one themselves. Geisha traditionally have simply, playful names that are easy for their customers to remember.


When the harvests are poor, many farmers are hard pressed for cash, and sell their daughters to a Okasan "The mother" (effectively the boss and/or owner of the geisha house. almost always a retired geish herself) to become a geisha. They are trained as entertainers, and with time, they can purchase their own contract, to conduct their lives as they wished. Geisha still under contract to a Okasan sleep in a special building called Okiya, where they are cared for as an investment. A geisha only move out of the Okiya when a rich samurai becomes her patron. To become the honored concubine of a great samurai lord is the life-goal of most geisha.


Geisha in training are called Maiko, “dance child,” referring to the first art the girl must master. They are recognized by their distinctive facial make-up, skin white with rice powder, with bright red lips and black eyebrows. Maiko are bonded to their Okaasan, who holds their contracts until someone else bought them, becoming her servants during the entire time of her training with experienced geisha mentor the maiko in the manner of older sisters.


There are three different ranks of maiko, and each one is designated by a different hairstyle and style of dress.

Shikomi, literally a “servant,” was the lowest rank of a maiko. She must do all the house chores such as cleaning, cooking, and helping the geisha to dress and prepare themselves.


Minarai,  “learn by watching,” is the middle rank of a maiko. They dress in subdued clothing that does not draw attention, and follow the trained geisha around to watch their examples. The okaasan taught her the many arts which geisha were expected to master. After a period of several years, the minarai would graduate and become an official Maiko.


Full Maiko can begin to receive clients, generally in a common room or by assisting a senior geisha in the common room or in private with a client.


The geisha are the Rokugani epitome of femininity, the personification of beauty, culture and sensitivity. They spend decades rigorously training in dance, singing, etiquette, and playing the samisen. Their job is to entertain wealthy patrons, often bushi, offering a fragrant fantasy.


"The whole idea is perfection. That's why we need so much training. We can't charge guests to look at imperfection. It has to be perfect." - A geisha's thoughts on her profession.


If a geisha sleeps with her patron, it is the geisha's own decision, not part of her contract. The geisha appearance is designed to evoke the Rokugani ideal of feminine beauty; light skin, rich black hair, brilliant and deep eyes. Maiko, the geisha apprentices, bare a white-painted face. Inside the geisha house a only tabi are worn by geisha. Outside a Geiko (full geisha) wears either zori or geta, while maiko wear Okobo.



Okobo worn by a maiko.


Geiko wear rich, multi-layered kimono with vibrant colors and patterns, with the obi brighter than the kimono with their hair worn up in elaborate styles, each denoting their rank, that could take hours to prepare. Some of the large towns and most cities have a family of artisans specializing the obi bow. These artisans often have a repertoire of dozens or sometimes even hundreds of bows (some of which are family secrets) and spend the hours going from okiya to okiya (or a geisha's private residence), tying their obi bows for them for a monthly fee.


Geisha Houses can be found in in every city and most towns with decent commerce. Ryoko Owari Toshi (Journey's End City) and the Imperial City, Otosan Uchi, are renown as having the best geisha in the Empire. Some geisha houses have an open door policy, allowing anybody to enter the establishment, but others are more exclusive, requiring an invitation from the Okasan (usually after offering gifts to her for some time), a referral from a current patron or rarely an invitation from a geisha herself. Regardless of how entry was gained, one is still expected to pay. Payment at a geisha house is also done with money. One does not have their lord billed for their visit to a geisha typically, though wealthy locals may have a monthly tab.


Geisha houses tend to be very well decorated and appointed (generally everything of at least Fine Quality), often with very large, well-manicured gardens for strolling and sitting. The common room of a geisha house often has several tables with halls leading off to private rooms. Much like sake houses, a samurai's weapons and even daisho and spell scrolls are left at the door.


In the common room patrons can sit in groups at a table and hire a geisha to entertain them with conversation, music, dance and the like (sometimes accompanied by a maiko in training). A maiko near the end of her apprenticeship is often permitted to entertain a table in the common area by herself. Entertainment in the common was just that. Tea, sake and food could be served while the geisha poured the drinks, conversed, or entertained with various arts. This is a much more casual time at the geisha house and done quite often just to relax, often with soldiers each chipping in to hire a geisha (or often a less expensive maiko) for the table.


A samurai could hire a geisha privately as well. This often resulted in sitting or walking through the beautiful garden or retiring to a private room where she would serve him food and drink, entertain and converse with him. This was also with a samurai could open his heart to a geisha and voice his fears, anger and pain with her there to soothe and console him.


Samurai-ko would also seek the company of a geisha for the exact same reasons as a man might. A samurai-ko hiring a female geisha was not unusual in the slightest.

There are also male geisha in the Empire, although they are rare, they are respected by their peers within their profession.


Due to their interaction with the samurai, many becomes a favorite of a particular samurai, and as such, the samurai is often rather protective of the geisha, not taking any slight against them well at all. Those of high station (governors, generals, and daimyo) often have an arrangement worked out with the Okasan of a geisha house and have a geisha brought to their chambers (sometimes in the middle of the night if they are particularly discrete) if they have not purchased their contract already.


There is no social stigma to visiting a geisha, even for a married man or woman, but at the same time it is not something one goes blabbing about. It is seen as a necessary diversion for the samurai. Some try to be more discrete, but that is usually to ensure enemies do not learn of a favorite geisha of theirs.


And lastly, in case it was not clear before, geisha are NOT prostitutes. Granted, in any town or city with a significant number of unmarried, male soldiers, prostitutes can be found, but they are NOT geisha. Occasionally house of ill-repute tries to masquerade as a geisha house for the sake of appearances (perception is more important than truth, after all), but the locals likely know just what it is.

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  • 10 months later...

A basic map of Ryoko Owari Toshi. As with most maps, do not assume it to be to scale nor all that accurate. It does give an idea of the city though. The population of the city is roughly 100,000.

Purple is the Noble Quarter... where the estates of the wealthy can be found.

Blue is the Temple Quarter.. with the huge Temple of Daikoku (Fortune of Wealth) and the Sun Temple.

Green is the Merchant Quarter... more or less the heart of the city.

Yellow is the Fishermans' Quarter... where the fishermen and peasants live.

Gray is the Leatherworkers' Quarter... essentially the large eta village outside the city walls.

Red is the Licensed Quarter... aka: Teardrop Island.

There are neighborhoods in each Quarter too (like Toshimoko told Zoyu that Kitsuki Jotomon's dojo was in the "Downhill" neighborhood), but it would take a local or somebody with a good knowledge of the city to know them.

The Inn of the Apple Blossom is in the bottom left corner of the Mercant Quarter (green). If you go directly up from the top of the tower with the dragon coiled around it, there is a single larger building. That's the Apple Blossom.

I can post/link to a bigger/higher quality version of the map if you like.





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