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  1. Stumbled across this this morning and it's a nice replacement for the old Obakemono project. Lots of ghosts and other such for aspiring GM's http://yokai.com/
  2. I introduced a Fifth Bloodsword back in my previous campaign as a dark reflection of Zen nothingness called Kyomu (Oblivion), as a subtle temptation to false enlightenment and with mildly 'off' visions that could lead to what the client is wanting, with only occasional 'errors', which the player would interpret as a vision interpreted incorrectly. It also carried the curse of "May You Find What You Are Looking For". It typically ends badly eventually as the corruption quietly takes the person over, and influences them to do things that are...ill advised.
  3. One thing that is often ignored in the Rokugan setting, but is often implied, is the 'Mandate of Heaven'. The concept that The Heavens protect the Imperial Line by virtue of them staying in charge. Well, Hantei XVI happened, disasters and other things showed up as Heaven quietly showing it's displeasure by withdrawing protections over the land. When the Emperor's guards finally turned on him because he was just that evil. And the empire had problems for a few generations after that because the Heavens weren't very subtle in saying "Don't do that again." It followed down the Hantei line until the 38th. And we all know what happened there. Toturi might not have been a Hantei, but he was more in line with how The Heavens wanted things done. So he got to rule. And that's pretty much it. Plus all the shenanigans going on in the other realms
  4. Ritual Elements for Shugenja/preists Ema: a wooden tablet or plaque found at shrines and temples. The front contains a picture or blessing. On the back a person writes a prayer or wish. Next, the Ema is hung on a rack with dozens or hundreds of similar tablets. If the petitioner is lucky, a kami or bosatsu (shinsei spirit) answers the desire written on the tablet. If unlucky, a kansen answers the desire…. 4th Ed Mechanical effects: This is pretty much a GM’s option, but a particularly reverent prayer has a better chance of drawing a kami/bosatsu/kansen’s attention’s than a one made through rote. It will determine the difficulty for the shugenja reading it to determine what was really going on. Gohei: A Shinto wand. When a priest of the Kami chants the Kami’s names and shakes the wand, it is believed that the person becomes purified of any evil or corruption. The want is made of sacred hinoki cypress and is tipped with many tassels of specially folded white silk paper. 4th Ed Mechanical effect: The normal gohei wand will give the shugenja a free raise in banishing Shadowlands creatures or in performing purification magics. More elaborate or specially crafted gohei nemurani may provide other bonuses. The Asahina and The Agasha excel at crafting such items. Magatama: comma shaped beads. Long used in Shinto worship, magatama are believed to symbolize the primal essence of the world. Commonly made of Jade, but obsidian is not unheard of. One of the Three Imperial Regalia is in fact an egg-shaped variation of the magatama. 4th Ed Mechanical Effect: the magatama itself it often blessed and cleansed repeatedly in rokugan before being given to a priest, giving the jade the qualities of a finger of jade. Obsidian magatama have the peculiar effect of warding off the effects of Shadow (user may re-roll thee times to resist affects of Shadowbolts before the obsidian degrades becomes useless). Mayoke: a palm sized talisman or amulet, believed to dispel evil spirits or any misfortunes that accompany them. They often come in a cloth satchel with a prayer within. 4th Ed Mechanical effect: the normal Mayoke may or may not (gm’s option) give a person carrying it a free raise to ward off effects of kansen or angry spirits. Clever shugenja trained in the arts of warding might attach a Ward spell to the prayer and put it in the Mayoke, creating a mobile ward. O-mikoshi: a portable shrine, where a kami resides when it manifests in the world. O-mikoshi are carried in a litter-like fashion during matsuri festivals by 10-100 men in happi coats and loin-cloths. The purpose of this to encourage the kami to inhabit the shrine based on the spirit of the load bearers put into the effort. O-mikoshi tend to vary from being very basic to quite ornate, depending on the local. Often the tend towards the later; a single shrine about the size a large cart can cost thousands of koku, laced with soft silk scriptures and adornments. 4th Ed Mechanical effects: Pretty much up to the GM on this one. Suffice it to say, any beneficial effects would be based on the Kami being worshiped. A O-mikoshi to Benten-No-Kami would have a different set of effects than one to O-Kaimetsuo-No-Kami. Shiemenawa: A thick hemp twine rope with folded white silk paper tassels at intervals used to demarcate a sacred spot or the gate way to one. In the ancient Rokugani past, this represented a white serpent, which was sacred. Of course, after the problems with the Chuda, Imperial priests have modified this somewhat to quietly ignore the serpent aspects while still maintaining the use of the object, so as not to offend the Kami. 4th Ed Mechanical effects: Ever wonder where shugenja might ground their Ward spells near a temple? Here you go. Give that nature of worship in Rokugan, there also may be beneficent spirits that inhabit the twine ropes. Serpent spirits… Shinseist Ritual Elements Bonsho: One of the most recognized Shinseist artifacts, this is a copper temple bell, usually 4-6 feet tall. The bell has no internal clapper, but is rung when a monk swings a wood log suspended on two chains at the bell. Often run during Festivals, this bell is rung During the New Year Joya no Kane Ritual, in which each temple rings the bell 108 times, representing the 108 sins of mankind. 4th Ed Mechanical Effects : Um…it’s a bell. But it is said that a bell rung by a devout Shinseist priest or follower of Shinsei may drive away evil spirits. Mechanics would be treated as a Banishment spell Gofu: a wooden plank wrapped in a slip of paper or a rectangle of paper stuck to any surface of a building or shrine. Planks typically have long prayers written on them, while papers have likenesses of a deity or creature upon them. Said to be more powerful than mayoke at keeping evil or bad luck at bay. D10 Effects: See Mayoke write up. Treat as a Ward Vs Shadowlands with a TN = to the Monks Rank x5. Hamaya and Hamayumi: Arrow and Bow. Yamabushi often use these specially prepared weapons in performing an exorcism. Many festivals in Rokugan also use such weapons in annual purification and exorcism of sacred spots. They are also very useful in harming Shadowlands creatures and Bloodspeakers, to which they are painfully aware of… 4th Ed Mechanical Effects: Treat as a magical weapon vs Shadowlands and Bloodspeakers that require such weapons to hit them. The weapons also a free raise during exorcism rituals. Juzu: Shinseist prayer beads. Resembling a rosary with a tassel on the end, juzu are often made of bodhi woof or bodhi seeds, but jade (often by Crab monks) and other materials are not unheard of. Juzu keep track of the number of times a sutra has been chanted. 4th Edition Mechnical Effect: A free raise for meditation rolls. Kyoten: Sutra books. Folded accordion style like most Rokugani books. The contain the wisdom of Shinsei, allegories, commentary. And teachings. 4th Edition Mechanical Effect: depending on the quality of the Kyoten, nothing to perhaps several raises on Shintao rolls. Markers: These take many forms and are considered very bad luck to desecrate. Gorinto: Wooden planks bearing the shinseist posthumous name of a deceased. Often found lining the walls of a Shinseist temple or in family shrines, butsudan, in homes. They are broken, burned, erased upon the thirty-fifth, fiftieth, or hundredth anniversary of a persons death by and ordained Shinseist priest. To do so at any other time is to cause the spirit to lose their way and become a lost soul or worse. Dosojin: Stone Obelisks or humanoid statues that mark the grounds of ancestral kami sacred to local inhabitants. Mokkan: Wooden tablets in the Shinto tradition of naming various kami. 4th Edition effects: None. Just markers. Breaking the markers, on the other hand, may have consequences. Senko: Incense. Prepared in many different ways (the Dragon being the most varied), senko is made with spices and herbs mixed with flammable salt peter. Used in Shinseist rituals to help focus the mind. Special types of incense are used at prayer markers of the deceased to pray for them. 4th Edition Effects: Perhaps a free raise on meditation rolls. Shaku-Jo: Five ringed staff. The definitive symbol of travelling monks and senior monks, the rings help monks focus the mind and symbolize the Five Realms of the Cosmos. The Sixth Realm is represented by the staff which ritually strikes the earth, our realm. It does well as a staff weapon in a pinch. 4th Edition Effects: There are many legends associated with the Shaku-jo. One of the more interesting is the rattling of the staff causing pain to evil spirits. This particular legend is accurate as the striking the Earth purifies it and wracks the offending spirit with the energies of the Earth. Treat as magical attack of a strength = XkX of the Monks Earth Rank against malevolent spirits. Roll Earth + Shintao, Keep Earth. Radius of the attack is Monks Earth Rank x 2 in meters. Tepatsu: Shinseist Alms Bowl. Many monks are expected to forsake all earthly goods, as they represent earthly attachment, thus desire. Typically this will be the only possession of a monk aside from the Robes on their back. Esoteric or Fallen Shiniest Ritual Elements These items are rarely seen out of some of the more Esoteric sects of Shinseism influenced by the Ivory Kingdoms, twisted Shinseist sects that follow broken paths of enlightenment, or the corrupted followers of the Shadowlands and Fu-Leng. It is thought that the items date from a time from before the Fall of the Kami when bloody practice was far more common among the tribes of Rokugan, both terrifying and intriguing to behold. Some Sects state that Shinsei taught them how to purify the remains of a fallen brother to allow them to consult their spirits to assist on the paths to enlightenment (there have been instances of older masters speaking through aspirants during meditation when using the items. At least that what it seems to be....) Most of the implements are crafted from human remains. On one level, the represents the impermanence of the mortal shell in the endless cycle of rebirth. On a level more mystical, the remains imbue certain Shinseist rituals with more power. Not to mention Shadowlands rituals. Typically a Gaki or Yorei of a particularly vengeful spirit is bound into the Shadowlands implements. Dojre: Vajra (Daimond Thunderbolt): This ritual object represents complete stability and order and is always paired with a ritual dojre singing bell representing Ying and Yang Energies. The Dojre is the double ended “thunderbolt of Enlightenment” causing sudden and irrevocable changes in perception, leading to sudden awareness of the true nature of reality, often experienced only by saints and mystics. This is often referred to a as the “Great Death” by Shinseist preists, and the “Great Awakening” by followers of the Shadowlands. D10: as one might expect, such a tool is mechanically hard to represent. During a Shinseist ritual, it might give Two free raises to rituals as well perhaps offer a great insight. With more twisted rituals, it might open the mind to corrupted influences, and perhaps inflict mental disadvantages as a result. Kangling: Femur Trumpet: made from a human thigh bone, this item is used by the faithful to drive away wraithful spirits and by the fallen to summon them. Regardless of the use of the item, even regular Shinsei praciticioners are circumspect in the usage of the kangling as the unenlightened would tend to think (incorrectly, but reasonably) the priest perhaps is a Shadowlands practicioner. The Kangling can be used as ritual element to summon Gaki, Oni, and Yorei. The Kangling is played using the left hand while pounding a damaru (a hourglass shapped drum made of two human skulls) in the right hand. D10: have the character roll Void + Shintao, keep Void to banish wraithful spirits.....or Taint + Shintao to summon the creatures mentioned above. Kapala: Skull Alms Bowl: It is rather uncertain exactly where this tradition started among the Shinseists, but it has raised more than one eyebrow among the Rokugani that do know, in spite of no Taint ever being found in the ritual itself by the few shugenja who have observed the highly secretive rituals (often under threat of bodily harm if the practicioners had known about it). Highly ornate Kapala have gold and silver inlays with the dome carved with important ritual symbols, used often to aid in Prophecy and Clairvoyance. Fallen monks use it for the passing of blood and other body fluids. Sealed by ritual, the bowl has the good and evil karma of the dead owner. The karma is easily transferred to any handling the bowl, often with ill results for the untrained. D10: The item will add perhaps one to two raises for meditation rolls or divination rolls, but most monks are rather circumspect about it's use around the unenlightened.... The Three Imperial Regalia of Rokugan With the Fall of the Kami and the establishment of the Hantei Dynasty, symbols of Imperial Power had to be forged in for recognition of the Hantei's right of rulership to be evident to all. There had been much contention over the attack on Lord Moon by the O-Kami, but Lady Sun could not truly blame Hantei for wanting to protect his brothers and sisters. In order to show her blessing upon the founding of the new Empire of Roguan, she had gifted Hantei a mirror made of a polished substance not unlike jade named Yata no Kagami (The Mirror of the Eight Handed Flower) from which her light could shine and that the Hantei could reflect upon the Wisdom of the Higher World's, as well as keep track of their family line. The tale behind the Second Imperial Regalia known as Ame No Murakumo No Tsurugi (Sword of the Gathering Clouds of Heaven) aslo called Kusuanagi No Tsurugi (GrassCutting Sword) is much darker tale as it is the former property of Susa-No-O , the Raging God of Thunder, given over to the Hantei after the thunder god lost a Wager against Hantei during the formation of the Empire, as Susa preferred the chaotic mess of the various tribes as opposed to the more organized Empire. While handing the blade over to Hantei, he silently prosribed a curse upon the weapon, that the Sword would indirectly doom the Hantei Emperor once every few generations, but other wise lend it's power when needed. There is some speculation as to what exactly happened in Heaven when Lord Moon found out about the Curse upon the blade, but a majority of Susa-No-O's portfolio was passed onto Osano-Wo when he came into being. The most popular answer Legend is that Lord Moon had Susa stripped of his titles and locked away in Toshigoku for his Treachery. Fortunately (or unfortunately), the curse chose to manifest itself early on, due to the rather tempestuous nature of the curse. Sadly this caused the death of 4 of Hantei the Fourth's siblings and family, but given the rather unusual circumstances involved with their deaths, suspicions arose over the nature of the sword itself. While unable to unearth the curse itself, it was divined that the sword was restless much like it's previous owner and could possibly turn upon the Hantei if not given proper respect. After much debate as to what could be considered respect by the blade, it was decided to make it on of the Imperial Regalia to be viewed, but not actually wielded, during important ceremonies, and brought out only when absolutely needed. This policy appeared wise during the time that Kusanagi was in the Empires possession. The Last of the Regalia is referred to as Yasakani no Magatama (The Necklace of Immortal Jade), also called the Gyoku. It is a rather large necklace composed of unique variants of Immortal Jade (red, black, white, yellow, and green) carved into the shapes of magatama beads. It was rarely missing from the various Hantei's side or proximity during their early reign up until the Advent of the much reviled Hantei the XVI, when they along with Kusanagi and the Mirror disappeared from the Imperial capitol, Otosan Uchi. The Empire would regain much if the Regalia would be returned to the Empire....assuming one could know where to look and what they were looking at. Yata no Kagami : The Mirror of the Eight Handed Flower is rather plain in appearance, but notable for it's high polish that never seems to go away, as dust and other filth seems to slide off it, with the back decorated with early Rokugani script and magatama D10: The Mirror is one of the few things that can contact The Sun with little preparation other than meditation. A Meditation + Void Roll or Etiquette + Void Roll of the GM's determination can be used to garner the Sun's attention. Of course, depending on the Era, this might not be the wisest course. Secondly, the Mirror can be used to scry for people or objects that are known to the person utilizing it with a accuracy approaching that of the Oni's Eye. And lastly, the Mirror has rather unusual property to it that if anyone who walks in front of it is not of the Imperial Line, they will not show up. Those that are will appear in the mirror as normal. Needless to say, this can cause no end of confusion or suspicion on more paranoid players parts. Ame No Murakumo No Tsurugi: There is much speculation as to how Kusanagi was forged, but the most popular legend has it being forged in the heavens by Shiba after catching a shooting star (his skills at forging weapons, or even paying attention long enough being open to question) as an attempt to forge a sword shortly after the concept had come into being. As a result the sword is not of the popular Katana form , but of a much earlier form referred to as a Jian, or straight sword. As a design, it is rather plain, but it is notable that it does not appear to have degraded over time, and it is of such a fine edge that few objects on the earthly plane could resist it's fine edge. The handle is forged of a mysterious dark jade that occasionally have flares of green script which while similar to Rokuganese, are as yet unidentifiable. D10: Kusanagi is a blade of Legendary Quality and would use the Specialization (Jian) to be wielded properly, as it's balance is unusual to most modern bushi. One of it's many properties is that it treated as a Kaiu blade for purposes of shattering it, as well as it ignores all forms of Carapace, and Armor when striking a target. The GM may tailor the bonuses of the weapon to their campaign as needed Secondly, if a lethal blow is struck with Kusanagi, the targets soul is consumed by the blade, preventing them from passing on to the next cycle. This property is not generally known outside of the Imperial family and will not be spoken of unless absolutely necessary. Yasakani no Magatama: As one might expect, The Necklace of Immortal Jade does have the properties of Immortal Jade and should be treated as such with the following modifiers. The sight of necklace causes Fear 6 in all Tainted creatures, (Shadowlands, Shadow, or any other being with Control of other than Tengoku) as it represents the purity of Heaven. Failures to pass a fear test will cause the tainted to run in terror aware from the bearer of the necklace. Secondly: the necklace causes purification of water of ALL impurities within 100 feet due it's nature Peasant Items Hachimaki: (Headband) Worn Across the forehead, typically emblazoned with a bold Kanji of a Desired quality such as “Persistence”, “Perfection”, “Stamina”, etc. Designed as a possible ward against evil spirits. D10: While mostly peasant superstition that works more as a psychological goad, some clans have actually worked to make these bands a form of actual protection that can be worn. At the GM's discretion, various wards could be incorporated into such an item. Of course, such items would be rare and draw perhaps unwanted attention.... Mawari-Dohroh: (Revolving Paper Lantern): a item of the Lower Castes which has notably spread through out the Samurai, particularly in area's afflicted by unnatural spirits, as there have been too many instances of the lanterns revealing hidden threats to be ignored. It is thought that that the first of the lanterns was designed by one of the first practicioners of Onmyodo in the Crane lands who assisting the Crane in tracking particular vexing mujina and yorei for banishment. D10: when constructed, lit and hung properly, the Lantern has an effect similar to By The Light of Lord Moon within the Lanterns area of illumination with regard to that which is supernaturally hidden via virtue of being in a near-plane or magically hidden. It would not reveal anything hidden by more mundane means, such as below a floorboard, or a ninja hiding in rafters. Tohroh-Nagashi: (Paper Lantern Boat) During the Time of the Festival of the Dead, these small paper boats are said to carry the Visiting Spirits of the Dead back down stream to their homes in the spirit world. Some Clans have been known to place the ashes of loved ones within these boats for burial. D10: umm....it's a small paper boat used in a ritual to honor one's family. Possible Free Raise in assisting in banishing malevolent spirits to their home planes. Wara-Ningyo: Straw Doll. Old wives tales state that if you take a lock of hair from an enemy and put it into a small straw doll made to look like that person, you can exact revenge. Four nights in a row, those seeking retribution pound nails into the Doll, pinning it to a Tori Arch or Shrine Gate. On the fourth night, something horrible is supposed to happen to the victim. While dismissed by most Samurai Caste as rubbish (as direct causation is hard to prove), it is seen as a declaration of a threat and most Bushi will respond accordingly D10: This is the one instance where the Samurai caste, both Bushi and Shugenja are completely wrong. The Wara-Ningyo nail pounding ritual (for indeed that it's what it is) summons malevolent spirits of various types by the force of sheer hatred embodied in the ritual. The particulars will vary, but the GM's should feel free to be cruel to the target should they so choose...even a few months after the ritual is completed. Evil never sleeps.
  5. for more fun and games Much of this information is kibbled/modified from The Samurai Archives Wiki as supplementary material for the information provided with the current line of L5R books Han (n): The feudal domains ruled by daimyô are most commonly throughout Rokugani history referred to as han. During the age of Exploration, the term as fallen into relative disuse, and domains are instead referred to by a number of terms including: kuni ("country", "state") (Much to the Crabs amusement) ryô or ryôbun ("territory", "portion of territory") (the play on the term for coinage is often used in jokes) shiryô ("private territory") (Typically used to refer to Samurai residences) ie (“house”) (used to refer to peasant housing, usually farming housing) zaisho ("place where one is resident") (often used interchangeably when referring to Merchant housing and places of business) fu or seifu ( "government") (used to refer to governing clan residences or governmental buildings), and kôgi ("government", "public affairs") (typically used when referring to Imperial Holdings), among others. The use of these terms was often governed by omote and uchi (or "external" and "internal") concerns; a term such as kuni might be used in internal domain documents to refer to the domain, but when speaking to the Emperor about one's domain, kuni would be used to refer to Rokugan as a whole, and another term, such as zaisho, would be used to the daimyô's humble appointed territory The han are largely autonomous in terms of their internal affairs, but were subject to numerous strictures originally imposed by Hantei III, as well as taxation and ritual obligations. Hantei XVI , officially acknowledged (for tax purposes and control) 185 major domains during his reign; by the reign of Hantei XX, the number of major domains stabilized around 260, but the total number of distinct domains that existed at one time or another over the course of Rokugani History exceeds 540. Though many daimyô continue to hold their ancestral territory as their han, in theory all han are fiefs granted by the Emperor of Rokugan. The Emperor reserves the right to give and take away lands from daimyô, and often makes use of this power, reassigning a given territory to a different samurai clan, and assigning the former lords of that territory to a different domain elsewhere in the archipelago, or simply denying them a territory entirely during political turmoil or as a possible reward for service. This occurred particularly frequently in the Reign of Hantei XVI and during the Heresy Era, with 281 instances of clans being moved from one domain to another, and 213 instances of clans losing daimyô status, and their domains, entirely during that fifty-year period. The latter was most often due to the absence of an heir; though Imperial policies were relaxed in later eras, initially, deathbed adoptions were not permitted. The power or status of each han (and of their daimyô) was determined by its kokudaka, normally a measure of agricultural or commercial production in units of koku; in some cases, domains were assigned a kokudaka out of proportion to their agricultural production, in recognition of their importance strategically, diplomatically, or otherwise. The smallest domains, by definition, had a kokudaka of at least 10,000 koku, while the largest domains, boast a kokudaka of 1,000,000 koku or better. The vast majority of domains were closer to the lower end of this range, and only a handful of domains were assessed in the hundreds of thousands of koku. On the Kokudaka: Kokudaka (n): a measure of the agricultural production of a daimyô domain, or "han," expressed as a measure of koku of rice. As a representation of the domain's wealth, kokudaka determined the amount of the domain's tax obligations to the shogunate, and the domain's status relative to other domains. The smallest daimyô domains, by definition, possessed at least 10,000 koku, while some samurai retainers were granted sub-domains within a han, with a much smaller rating in koku. The majority of han were officially assessed at a kokudaka in the range of 10,000 to 200,000 koku, though the kokudaka of the most powerful domains exceeded 500,000 koku. This figure, though ostensibly based on the actual agricultural production of the domain's territory, often did not change over the course of the period. A domain's kokudaka might be changed as a political reward or punishment, but the Empire does not engage in regular surveys of agricultural production, and did not update domains' kokudaka on the basis of their production. Multiple different figures for the kokudaka thus often existed simultaneously for a single domain. The official figure determined and recognized by the Empire and used as a marker or indicator of the domain's wealth and status can be referred to as omotedaka, using the character omote, meaning "official," "surface," or "outside." Meanwhile, nearly all domains maintained their own internal figures for agricultural production, called uchidaka , using the character uchi, meaning "inside" or "internal." The uchidaka was often a higher figure, more regularly assessed and more accurately reflecting increases and expansions of agricultural productivity within the domain. It was generally in the best interests of the domain to not report the higher figure, and to allow the omotedaka recognized by the Empire to remain at a lower figure, since this means lower tax payments owed by the domain to the Empire; though this seems deceitful or deceptive, such behavior is widely condoned by the Empire, as part of the philosophy of omote and uchi, allowing internal matters to remain relatively private, so long as a domain's obligations on the official, external are properly observed.
  6. Shinobi Tools Box While the game has captured some of the more commonly known tools of the Ninja, I have come across some of the more esoteric tools and techniques to help fill out the arsenal of the stealth artists Tsui-giri: Large Picks about a foot long consisting of a wooden handle and a long thin, tempered metal spike that could be used as a weapon as well as for quietly carving spying holes in walls. Torinoko: Smoke bomb. Gunpowder wrapped in a paper much like a firecracker with a paper fuse. Could be used like a grenade or smokescreen. Maru-kagi: Round Key. In spite of the name, a hand held item with a wooden handle and curved hooks coming out at 90 degrees from the handle. Used to jimmy though doors and latch onto early locking mechanisms, to allow the ninja to open the door lock from the outside. Ibushi-ki: Smokepot or Smudgepot. A cylinder device made of ceramic with 8 holes along the side and one at the top, when gunpowder was put in and lit, a thick curtain of smoke would rise from the holes. Tekko-Kagi: One of several climbing claw variants. This particular version could be used in battle against an incoming samurai blade as when fitted over the hand and fingers, the ‘claws’ would protect most of the hands and fingers. When used for climbing, it could me attached to the hand like a crampon Kagi-nawa: Hook Rope. While the four spiked climbing rope variant is more well known, this one was known as more stealthy version, and used for climbing up and down. Often used in quiet getaways. Ikari-kagi: Grappling hook. A four pronged metal anchor hook attached to a hope. Used for climbing roofs or over walls. Uchi-Kai: Prying hook: a small metal hook and wooden handle. The hook was driven into a wall to help the ninja climb and open doors. Kiri: Pick. Smaller than those normally sold. The easy-to-conceal item was used to cut holes. Maki-hashigo: Roll-up Ladder. Something of a misnomer, this was a pulley-mechanism with a pointed spike thrown over a wall to anchor the rope and wheel. Once secured, a person (or items) could be drawn up like a bucket from a well Misshio-ire: Secret Document Holder. Designed to look like the sheath of a small sword (Tanto or thereabouts), it contains a small pipe would could be used to conceal secret documents from enemy forces. That certain clans that remain nameless could use this to seen messages in court is, of course, scurrilous rumor. Zouri: Sandels. A style of slipper made of pleated rope and cotton souls. Used for walking in absolute silence. Hoguchi: Tinder Box. A small box used for carrying hot coals. Given the general construction in the empire, no much is needed to start a fire. Seoi-bukuro: Shoulder Bag. Pretty much the ninjas backpack for carrying tools. A woven net bag of strong rope. Typically slung over the left shoulder to allow right hand freedom of movement. Tenohira-Taimatsu: Hand-held torch. A compact touch made from pine resin and bamboo skin, notable for staying alight even in rain. Gando: Searchlight. While this is technically translated as ‘flashlight’, it is another misnomer to the modern user. This item is a candle-holder consisting of two hoops with in a wrap used to conceal the light. The hoops move to keep the candle upright, no matter the users movements. Tobacco-ire: Tobacco pouch. While commonly used to actually carry tobacco by many, it is used by the ninja to carry gunpowder. One the job, the ninja would not use tobacco as the strong smell would given them away. Kusuri-ire: Medicine pouch. Used by ordinary people as well as ninja. Some would even have the medicine type listed on the pouch. Mizu-gumo: Water Spider. A foot device used for traversing water. The device was made of four curved planks of either wood or inflatable animal hide that were strung together with a fifth plank in the middle. While not allowing the user to walking on water, it can be used to traverse swampy areas relatively quickly. Saoto hikigane: Nicknamed the “ear trumpet” because that’s exactly what it looks like. Saoto hikigane were cone-shaped and were made of metal or sometimes wood. The size of the tool varied, with some being more concealable than others. The ninja would place the wide end to a wall so that the sound coming through was magnified and funneled into his or her ear. It worked the same way cupping a hand to the ear or placing a cup to a wall does. Donohi: Body Warmer. Ninjas often used body warmers named donohi to survive long stakeouts in cold weather. The body warmers were commonly made of bamboo, iron, or copper. They contained flammable materials such as gunpowder, alcohol, and cloth. A fire-starting tool called a tsuketake was usually attached to the donohi to set the fuel ablaze. Once lit, the fuel could burn for hours, even days. Since so much of a ninja’s job involved using their hands, the last thing they wanted was for their fingers to go numb from the cold or for them to get frostbitten. Donohi were very useful in protecting them from such dangers. Also, as a fast and portable source of fire, it could be used for anything from setting an enemy’s home on fire to cooking food. Kanzashi: Hairpin. In Rokugan, women often wear long, ornamental hairpins called kanzashi. The pins are not dangerous in and of themselves, but in the hands of a ninja, they can be used to attack vital points and nerve clusters. They can also be sharpened and used as knife-like weapons, either for defense or for an attack. Dipped in poison, the hairpins become an assassination tool. Kanzashi are ideal weapons for kunoichi (female ninjas), who favor small weapons that can be concealed in plain sight. Due to the popularity of the hairpins among women, kunoichi can carry them without anyone giving them a second look. Yatate: Pencilbox. This was a small cylinder that was sometimes made from bamboo, although they are usually made out of metal. At one end is a small container to hold ink, while the rest of the cylinder was hollow to hold a small calligraphy brush. Its use as a weapon aside, it is important to again remember that ninjas were spies. Yatate were vital to their ability to write down their observations of their targets and record information as they gathered it. In an attack, however, ninjas were able to conceal spikes, needles, and even poison in the yatate instead of a writing brush. Like the kanzashi, no one had reason to be suspicious of pencil cases that most people carried anyway Neko-te: Metal Fingernails. Ninja are tough as nails, so it comes as no surprise that even their fingernails would be weaponized. Metal fingernails called neko-te are a favorite among female ninjas. The nails were attached to the fingers in numerous ways. Sometimes, they were molded in a way similar to a thimble. Other times, they were attached by a band around the fingertips like a ring. The nails themselves were usually made of iron, but in a pinch ninjas would use thin pieces of bamboo. Even old hairpins and jewelry could be fashioned into razor-sharp nails. The weapon’s name was inspired by the claw-like appearance of a cap being worn on each finger. “Neko” means “cat” in Rokuganese, and “te” translates to “hand.” It is important to note that this weapon was used exclusively by female ninjas. Kunoichi training stressed the use of lightweight and easily concealable weapons. Ninja Technique (AKA Spycraft) Passwords: Given their vocation, the usage of passwords could be the difference between identifying a friend or foe, or life and death. These were commonly used when delivering secret documents or meeting allies behind enemy lines. The types of words used, from motifs in nature, poetic associations, antonyms, were borrowed from the vernacular and modified on a daily basis. Some examples in English: Mountain - Forest Sun – Moon Flower – Fruit Sea - Salt Valley – Water Passwords taken from Poetry Snow – Mt Hanayama (a snow capped mountain in Rokugan) Flower – Yoshino (a region n\know for flowers) etc. Codes: secret messages were commonly transmitted by the use of elaborate codes that would be overlooked by anyone but the recipient. Such codes included the following. Goshiki-maki: Five-Color Rice. Rice grains were dyed red, yellow, black, blue, and purple and arranged in different combinations or patterns. With this technique, the ninja could make over 100 different codes. Yuinawa-moji: Rope Code: Rope with a particular number or style of knots, could serve as a coded message. These would be hing from a conspicuous place, such as the eaves of a roof. Shinobi-iroha: The shinobi have made their own alphabet, using parts of earlier forms of Rokugani writing. There are 48 characters in all Nekome-Jutsu: Ninja’s were trained in nekome-jutsu, which was the ability to tell time just by looking at a cat’s eye very closely. Cats have very sensitive eyes, and their pupils adjust to the changing light throughout the day. In early morning, a cat’s pupils are round and fully open to allow in as much light as possible. Between around 8:00 AM and noon, their pupils become more oval-shaped to block out the excess light as the Sun rises higher. A cat’s pupils are narrowest at noon when the Sun is at its peak. With this knowledge, ninjas were able to accurately guess to within the hour what time it was.
  7. It can get pretty ugly, though. The statement I posted assumes the merchant is being nice, and the samurai is being civilized. With a powerful patron, the following adventure nugget below can happen: “Bitter World of the Samurai” Adapted from a story from ‘Samurai Executioner’ From an inscription drawn in blood on a wall in a merchants house: “This is the Bitter World of the Samurai. The arrogance and extravagance of the merchant class is intolerable. They make a living through unproductive thievery. Moreover, ignorant of their proper place, they exploit their samurai superiors. That is truly unspeakable. “The Suffering of the Samurai has but one root: The hideous union between government and commerce. “First, the posted price of rice is unreasonably low so that merchants can make vast profits. This is truly proof of the collusion between the government and the merchants. “Second, what is with this ‘seal money’? As if the unprecedented 15% the rice merchants squeeze out of us wasn’t enough, they use seal money as and excuse to get even more out of us. Such evil is intolerable. “Third, they rip the Farmers off with ‘surcharge rice’. “We shall rectify the shady dealings of officials and merchants with the white blades of warriors. “Alas, This is The Bitter World of the Samurai.” Some context to the above: The government (Clan or Imperial) paid Gokenin (lower ranked retainers such as Gi-Samurai,etc.) in unpolished rice. The ‘Posted Price’ determined the exchange rate for turning rice into cash and vis versa. The Accounting Office (Office of the Imperial Graineries or Clan offices charged with the same duties) examined the prices for the three classes of rice : High for the Kuge, Medium for the Buke, And Low for the Gi-Samurai and bulk of the merchant caste) and used the average between the three to determine the value of 100 bags of rice. The Prices would be displayed on gates of castles and within merchant sections of cities. But the prices would drive Hatamoto (middle ranked samurai) and Gokenin into poverty. Merchants would keep an eye on when prices were posted, typically the Second Month of Spring, the Fifth Month of Summer, and the Tenth Month of Winter – rice merchants would cause the prices to decline. When the market fell, typically when stocks were plentiful, the merchants would sell rice cheaply. Later, when stocks were low and demand was high, they would raise prices to maximize profits. Also, Large government donations to the merchants in the form of rice stocks or additional monies allowed the posted prices to be 20%-30% less than actual market value. This forced the Hatamoto and Gokenin had to borrow huge sums of money from the rice merchants at a fixed interest rate of 15%. For additional insult to injury, rice merchants would exploit them further by using ‘seal money’ as pretext to raise the interest rate. Rice merchants would borrow their own money from others. When they received rice, they would use seal money as poof of payment. A bit like a deceptive sublessor, really. They would demand this ‘seal money’ on every transaction. While the interest rate was fixed at 15%, the seal money added another 20% Fee. Every three months. So Call it 80% at years end. A 100 Ryo loan becomes 195 ryo to pay back over a year. And the Government would do nothing about it. Now you know why samurai really didn’t like merchants. Note: The above shenanigans is really not that far off from what happened historically. Reprisals against the merchant class were more common is spoken off and tales of arrogant merchants were pretty common in Japanese folklore. This should spur ideas for aspiring GM’s want to handle some economic themes.
  8. This is a list of spells I've worked on/converted over the years and wanted to share with the forum. I'm looking for ideas on converting the spells to the new edition and wanted suggestions These first two spells had been developed over along period of time (since second edition), and over years of research and roleplaying with my particular group of players. Discovered form an very old cave, which they had discovered much later was a Kitsu shapeshifter holding, had some early information on The Nothing. Not that they knew what it was at the time. Over time, various shadow hunter organizations have become interested in the spells and it's make things interesting for the players. Worlds Wrath AKA Invocation Of All Ring:/Mastery Any 2 (Water, Crystal) Range: 100’ Area of Effect: 1 target Duration: Instant Raises: Damage (+1k0), Range ( +10’), Targets (+1 target, to a maximum of 5 total) Functions as Jade Strike against Living Shadow. See page 174 L5R base book. Target must have one rank of Shadow Taint to be affected. Worlds Chains AKA Binding The Unbindable Ring/Mastery: Any 3 (Wards) Range: 500’ Area of Effect: 1 target Shadow Creature Duration: 30 days Raises: Duration (+1 day), Range (+10’) Targets (+1 per 2 raises) Casting time :10 minutes, able to be done as a ritual, subtracting one minute for each shugenja involved in the ritual This spell has been modified by the Jade Magistrates office to make it a bit more utilitarian. While it does target the Shadow infected to bind them into one form (general usage) as well as literally bind them to the casters will (a very dangerous proposition at best), or able to dispel them (considered the safest course. The spell also has the additional benefit of hiding the shugenja from the Shadows presence, as it is unable to sense them literally as it is being cast. Once the spell is cast, it will know something has happened to cause it problems, but may not be able to figure it out specifically. This next set of spells is from my particular setting's take on Naishou Province, in which I added a definite, but low level, influence from Gaki-do, Yomi, & Meido in the background. I also added a minor clan in the area that lives within the forest area that has two major bloodlines and is descended from the old Imperial (Hantei) line. It's practitioners of Onmyoduo are some of the oldest in Rokugan, and have learned to tap the void (much to the Phoenixes' surprise and alarm) for some rather different spells. Transforming The Spirit’s Nature Ring/Mastery: Void 3 Range: 25’ Area of Effect: One Target Individual Duration: 1 hour Raises: Range (+5’), Duration (+10 min) Casting time: 1 Minute, but the effort will need to be sustained This spell is perhaps one of the oldest Void spells in Rokugan, but exceptionally obscure as it is not known outside of the Ii clan. Not from any particular sense of greed for power, but caution upon the part of the Ii as they have had a considerable amount of time to understand the implications of the spell and are very cautious upon who it is taught to. The spell is typically used in conjunction with a spirit that has been bound or upon a possessed target, but this is not actually needed, and more of a force of habit upon the Ii’s part. They will not teach the spell to anyone with insufficient spiritual development or ethics in their eyes. The spell sets the skill and spiritual understanding of the Shugenja verses the inherent nature of the creature they are trying to change and the nature of the Realm they are from. In game terms, it’s Treated as a void spell with Shugenja level + Void Vs Targets Earth + Level of Control (IE: Taint level or Toshigoku control). If successful, the shugenja can command the spirit and change it’s essential nature into what they would like (typically a creature from Ningendo (The Mortal Realm) that the Shugenja can give commands to or ask questions if the creature is relatively intelligent. If the shugenja fails at their task, the spirit in question knows precisely what was done and who did it. And now actively hates the shugenja. Given the nature of some spirits, the shugenja will not see this as a problem as the spirit likely hated them anyway, but it does color their intent to use the spell. Lastly. depending on the level of success that the Shugenja beats the opposing roll, they can break the control of the Realm has over the spirit, at least temporarily. In game terms the amount on the roll forces out some of the Realms Control by the degree of beating the roll. For example, if the resistance of the target is beaten by 17 on a roll, the realms control goes down by 17 points effectively. This can go up to a maximum of 2 levels for this particular spell. All Is One In The Void Ring/Mastery: Void 5 Range: 25’ Area of Effect: One Target Individual Duration: Permanent Raises: Additional Target, Increase Difficulty To Resist Casting time: 1 Minute, but the effort will need to be sustained This spell is the far more powerful version of Transforming the Spirits Nature and as such, the Ii are exceptionally reluctant to utilize the spell unless there is no other choice or the threat is so overwhelming as they understand the spell cannot be undone, closing off possible avenues of fate. The spell is much like Transforming the Spirits Nature, but with two notable exceptions. 1) The effects are permanent, 2) removal of control is limited by the degree of success that the caster accomplishes, and 3) the caster can transform a resident of Ningendo (the mortal realm) into something else as they have grasped that Ningendo is a Realm of spiritual power all it’s own. Given this level of power, the Ii are very reluctant to employ this spell and will not teach it if ordered to do so unless the candidate has sufficient wisdom and they think they will not teach it to others without proper evaluation, Social rank be damned. The Following spells are the Creation of the Jurogumo (Bird Spiders), a force of supernatural shapeshifters that within the setting I'm running are in a rather grey area as far as those that are aware of them. They appear as lovely women who are often moving about as entertainers or artisans, but those that are in the know. recognize them as supernatural predators. Just a set that have been particularly careful and discerning on who they chose as victims. Which have long served as a force of frustration, and information for the players. I created them our of annoyance for everything being malignant or a threat being from the Shadowlands. Daughter’s Breath Ring/Mastery 4: Fire, Chikushudo Same as Breath of the Fire Dragon, pg 183 base book (4th edition), but raises can be taken for additional area of effect (+5” Length or Width or additional duration (+1 round per raise). Also, the visual effect is that of fiery webs enveloping the target, and small spiders breathing fire on the target. Breath Of The Jorogumo Ring/Mastery: Air 4/Chikushudo Range: 100’ Area of Effect: 25 foot radius (Special) Duration: Permanent (until dispelled or cut through) Raises: Increase Difficulty To Resist, Stealth Casting, Range (+20’ per Raise), Area of Effect (add 5’ to diameter for 1 Raise), Casting time: 1 Minute The spell calls upon the power of the air kami that are native to the realms where the Jorogumo come from that have learned to camouflage themselves and simulate abilities of the various spiders. This unleashes a rapidly expanding cloud of web and air spirits that look much like translucent bird spiders and can cover an area rapidly in clear webs. In spite of the gossamer appearance of these webs, they are quite strong and breaking free of them does take considerable effort, be the target mortal or spirit. To resist the rather unique power of this spell, the target has to make a Strength roll of a TN Equal to the Casters casting roll. Carving the web apart does take time, but can be done Mother’s Jade Embrace Ring/Mastery: Earth 4/Chikushudo, Jade Range: 100’ Area of Effect: 25 foot radius Duration: 25 minutes Raises: Increase Difficulty To Resist, Stealth Casting, Range (+20’ per Raise), Area of Effect (add 5’ to diameter for 1 Raise), Casting time: 1 Minute This is a much more esoteric spell created by ‘Mother’. The literature indicates she had created it during her journeys after aging to the point she could cast spells within the Crab Lands near Shiro Kaotuski no Higashi (Face of the East Castle). She had learned of the Shadowlands threat and the hatred the Crab bore for the creatures, which she considered her kind mutual victims. She spent some time within the inn, The House of a Thousand Truths, located in the fortress city surrounding the castle, entertaining the Crab and listening to their stories. It was during a music session when she discovered that the inn had been infiltrated by several Shadowlands shapeshifters and raised the alarm. In the ensuing chaos, she had been forced to shift to her true form and used the Jade spell she had created to trap several Tainted samurai and the shapeshifters. The Crab were stunned at her nature, but confused as she had wielded jade energy. It was enough to allow here to escape, and to her puzzlement, The Crab did not pursue. The spell itself calls upon spider spirits that have travelled within the earth and awakens the jade energies within them, as they weave a web of jade energy mixed in with earth to trap and hold creatures Tainted by the Shadowlands as the jade spiders crawl along them and bite them with a pure jade ‘poison’ to weaken and kill them.. Much like The Breath of the Jorogumo, the target mus make a Strength Roll that exceeds the casters roll to break out. In addition, the Target takes 4k4 Jade damage if having a Taint rank higher than 1. Also, the damage roll requires a willpower roll of a TN = to the casters damage roll to not lose a simple action from the Jade Poison eating them from the inside out. Against untainted creates the spell has no effect.
  9. Sorry for the threadomancy, but after months of research on the subject, long hours at work, and several bouts of hospital (tinnitus, Kidney stones, checks for cancer) draining my energy dry, I've looked over the financial system used during the Sengoku and earlier eras, I'm going to give a general once over on this . Of note, Major cities are the only ones that usually bother with gold as coinage, with silver being the typical coinage seen in trade, and copper coins being the most common. some of this is kibbled from my older 4th edition notes Coinage & Rice First a samurai must become accustomed to the coinage of the empire, and have a basic grasp of what each coin represents. Coinage is important, as samurai and peasants cannot simply run around carrying dozens or hundreds of bushels of rice around everywhere to pay for things. Rice is the economic standard of Rokguan. Rice is a labor intensive food that keeps peasants too busy growing it to foment rebellions, taking five peasants per season per koku grown, who are fed millet and not rice, excepting special occasions and bountiful years. Samurai stipends and values of all objects are based on the koku. The koku is also used as a measurement of weight. Coinage is minted on a standard, with each clan minting their own coinage with permission from the Imperial Treasurer’s office, minted at the end of the harvest season. Coins are only “worth” their value with the clan that minted them (Imperially minted coins are accepted in all clans). Clans are honor-bound to accept coinage minted in their lands and must exchange them for rice if requested. Merchants and daimyo can exchange coins, typically charging a 1% standard transaction fee. Koku – One koku is (roughly) enough rice to feed one person for one year at a subsistance level existence. Koku are typically divided into five equal bags of rice, each worth one bu. The koku is approximately 278.3 liters of rice weighing 150kg (330 lbs) in weight. Zeni – The most basic coin is a round copper coin one sun (1 inch) in diameter with a hole in the middle. One zeni represents enough sustenance-level food to feed one person for a day (read as a bowl of rice and some pickled vegetables, or twice as much in millet). Zeni are typically strung in groups of 100 or 1000 coins for ease of carrying and for moderate purchases. Monme-ita – The monme-ita is a small rectangular coin of silver weighing one monme (3.75 grams). One monme-ita represents enough food to feed one person for one month. Ichibukin – The ichibukin, or simply bu, represents enough food to feed one man for roughly 2 ½ months (6 weeks). Chogin- the chogin is a moderate sized silver coin 3 sun (3.75 inches) in length weight. Typically used by traders and middle ranking samurai for large purchases. It is worth one koku of rice. Bu-Shoban: the bu-shoban is a smaller gold coin used by upper ranked samurai and higher end merchants trading in Koku values. It's value is the same as the chogin.. Ni-bu: as the name might suggest it is a coin worth 2 Bu-shoban in value. Ryo – The ryo represents 4 koku of rice. The ryo is a gold coin 2 sun (2.5 inches) in length and weighing 16.5 grams. Typically a ryo will be cast in an alloy of 85% gold with 15% silver, to make it more durable. Ryo can be stacked in groups of 25 or 50 and wrapped in heavy paper sealed with wax and a seal to mark where it was bundled. Oban – The oban is a more rare coin, typically minted to commemorate an important event, or simply for Large cash transfers (ie taxes). One oban is worth 40 ryo. 1 oban = 40 ryo 1 bu = 200 zeni 1 monme-ita = 83 zeni 1 ryo = 4 Chogin 1 ryo = 4 Bu-shoban 1 ryo = 12 monme-ita 1 ryo = 1,000 zeni 1 ryo = 2 Ni-Bu Large amounts of money can be carried in specially designed wooden boxes called senryobaku (box of 1,000 ryo) and buryobaku (box of 500 ryo). Income & Stipends Income and stipends are figured on a seasonal basis, with each season lasting for six months. Samurai were given a stipend rated in koku per season to represent their value to their lord. For instance, a samurai in a post that gets a stipend of 100 ryo per season is said to be “worth 100 koku”. This designation does not take into consideration any other income gained through merchant work or other sources, and when taxes come due, it is up to the samurai to honorably record such income for tax assessment. A samurai gets a stipend of money equal to ((Starting koku + Wealth rank) x Status Rank) + Glory Rank = seasonal income in ryo. Remember to keep all fractions as silver (Bu). This is paid out twice a year, once in spring before debts are due and the summer wars begin, and once in late fall at harvest time. Additional pay based on terrific bonuses, gifts, Imperial Salary, Family pay, Clan pay, and holdings are usually applied after all the multipliers as a flat increase. For example: a Rank 3 Doji courtier with Wealth 3, Status 2.5 and Glory 4.5 would get 49 ryo and 3 bu twice a year (15 starting koku + Wealth 3, * 2.5 Status, +4.5 Glory), plus any additional income from Social Position; if she happens to be a Doji family magistrate she gets an additional 50 ryo per season. Another example: a Rank 1 Akodo bushi, Status 1.0 and Glory 1.0 (a new character) would get 9 ryo per season (3 starting koku * 1.0 Status + 1.0 Glory + 5 as a Hohei). Samurai are paid based on their status rank: Ji-samurai (minor clans, hired ronin and ashigaru) are paid directly in rice equal to their koku value. They must then barter or sell part of this rice to have money to purchase other necessities. Samurai of the bonge caste (usually Status 1.0 to 6.9) will usually be paid in enough rice to feed their family and retainers, and the remainder of their stipend in coinage. They may then take their coins to the granaries of their clan and trade them in for rice as they need it. Samurai of the kuge caste (usually Status 7.0 or greater) are typically paid entirely in coinage due to the large stipends they draw. The kuge control the rice stores and can access them as needed. Taxes Taxes are collected and paid at the end of each season. Taxes are usually paid in koku of rice, although taxes may also be paid in jade, steel and other precious commodities. How this all works, from the bottom up: Peasants do not have the right to govern land on their own, and hand over 100% of their rice harvest to the samurai governing their farm. The samurai governing the individual farms hands over 40-50% of this harvest, and in turn his stipend is paid out of this amount. A samurai might oversee as many as a half dozen farms in this manner. The provincial governor collects the rice from the samurai under their command, and pay approximately 40-50% of this rice to their family daimyo. Of the remainder, he must pay out his retainers. The family daimyo collects the rice from the provincial governors and pays 40-50% of this to the clan daimyo. The clan daimyo collects the rice from the family daimyo and pays 40-50% of this to the imperial tax collector to be stored in the imperial granaries. So, just how much rice is this? The largest rice producing clan is the Crane (before recent events that is). On a good year, the Crane produce over one million koku of rice per season. Other clans produce from 300,000 to 600,000 koku of rice per season. Aside from the usual taxes, all clans are required to tithe 33% of any jade production to the imperial coffers to be supplied to the Crab. Clan Trade The current roster of major trade goods for each of the clans is as follows: Crab Import: jade, rice Export: steel, raw iron, stone Crane Import: exotic foodstuffs, raw materials Export: fine goods, rice Dragon Import: foodstuffs, fine goods Export: steel, raw iron, paper, gold, minerals Lion Import: raw materials, seafood Export: copper Mantis Import: raw materials Export: silk, spices, citrus fruit, pearls, exotic seafood Phoenix Import: exotic goods Export: silver, lumber Scorpion Import: raw materials Export: information Unicorn Import: finished goods Export: exotic goods, horses Loans From time to time, a samurai needs cash beyond his means, perhaps to get a gift for someone important. Merchants are often willing to lend samurai money with an interest rate of 10% per year. Many samurai chafe at the idea, but honor compels them to make good on their word, lest their family name be maligned.
  10. Hopefully this will have a fair amount of courtier history, trends, texts and things that courtiers would argue over or cultural items which would add flavor to a campaign. I've been adding a fair more courtier intrigue and bits into my games recently and this should prove of interest for me
  11. Uncanny Japan covers some of the legends from Japan which could be adapted for L5R https://www.uncannyjapan.com/ The Samurai Archives Japanese History Podcast. http://samuraipodcast.com/ This is a treasure trove of information, along with the Samurai Archives wiki , for varied subject son how samurai may have operated, details on economics (and why most of the editions didn't really bother with much detail), how samurai politics worked, and a bunch of other information that may be of use to GM's A Short History of Japan . While a little digging is required, some historical context for the Warring States era may give players and GM's ideas for adventure in Legend of the Five rings http://ashorthistoryofjapan.libsyn.com/
  12. Hmm. Well I hadn't expected the thread to do a discussion on Scorpion Philosophy. As to Courtiers, I've actually gotten a fair amount of social intrigue going on int he campaign I have been running. The players have been picking up court skills as they go and it's been amusing as they have been rolling REALLY well in those particular areas to the point they are giving the regular courtiers a run for their money. Right now I have a balance of Intrigue and Action as I'm having a bid for the local province's Governorship, leading to all sorts of shenanigans. so courtiers are viable, or court skills at the very least. And as to Scorpion Philosophy, I've seen these kind of arguments pop up before. I look at Bayushi's Promise to Hantei as perhaps slightly historically distorted. The Phrase as written is "I will be your Villain, Hantei." Which does not leave much nuance for the aspiring clan of sneaks and secret police, so people tend to suspect them of everything bad automatically, which can cripple work that needs to be done. So I added two words at the end, "When necessary." A very small change, but has lead to something of a change in perception of the clan as people have figured out there is a war of philosophies within The Scorpion they refer to as The Argument between people who think actively advertising being bastards helps general fear and giving the Clan another weapon to use in it's duties (and it's treatment of it's own peasants as psych war ops targets really does not help), and those who play it far closer to the vest, and only strike after gathering information about a problem in question, but otherwise seem normal samurai. And some of the bushi builds so far seem pretty solid, so I'm happy with that
  13. The Tanki Yoriaku: Hi Ko Ben 'A Single Horsemen: The Art of Armor Wearing' this is a book written in the 1700's on the art of armor wearing for maximum comfort, utility, and some general tactics to consider in rather long and minute detail. While perhaps a bit pedantic to the modern reader, it is actually rather full of those minor details that role players like to get ahold of, and has pretty good information on weapon placement and methods of carriage by the average samurai & ashigaru, as well as detail on care of armor, methods of construction (there were about 52 variations on what is thought of as samurai armor), notes to consider when going into the field. it could be thought of as a field operations manual for the Average bushi. https://www.pinterest.com/worldantiques/tanki-yoriaku-hi-ko-ben/?lp=true
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