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[RPG] Onmyodo school

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Shinseist Taoism first came to Rokugan during the Time of the Prophet though, while elements of both 'Religious Taoism' and at a later date, 'Philosophical Taoism' have had an unmistakable influence on Rokugani religion, Taoism as a distinct, institutional tradition, has never really gained a following amongst the Rokugani people, except among the eclectic and monks.

However, beliefs concerning the 'Taoist Immortals' and Taoist Paradises were 'adopted-in' to various streams of Rokugani folk belief and mythology, along with Taoist mystical and medicinal practices. For example, the koshin-machi, a popular Rokugani all-night vigil undertaken as part of a longevity disciplines, is based on Taoist belief. Also, elements of Taoist magic exist in Shinto practice, and more noticeably in the mountain-centred ascetic disciplines of Shugendo.

But probably the most important expression of Taoism in Rokugan is the ritualistic tradition known as Onmyodo. Central to Onmyodo are the disciplines of astrology and Taoist Five-Element theory. While this bears certain similarities to Dragon multi-elemental spell theory, it diverges in that Onmyodo see the casting of many spells as using a harmonic balance of the five elements as opposed to drawing on a single element.

In Onmyodo philosophy there is no particular concern with (or belief in) life after death. It's primary focus was on the identification and avoidance of troubles and dis-harmonies in the here-and-now. Through an understanding of the natural laws of the universe, and through the application of ritualistic practice based on yin-yang/five-element theory, Onmyodo sought to bring order to a world perceived as being, in the main, completely chaotic.

Onmyodo is closely aligned with the Imperial Household, and matters of state. The Onmyodo practitioners are consulted on everything, from the siting of the imperial capital, to the performance of state ritual, the interpretation of supernatural signs, and, most importantly, divining the fate of Emperors, Courtiers, and the nation.

It should be noted that the Onmyodo are primarily concerned with how the heavens interact with Ningen-do and the negation of dis-harmonies in Ningen-do in how things are done. They are not generally concerned with political favor, orders from those higher in station or much of societal convention in the normal sense. As the caste structure was handed down by the Son of Heaven, it is of course influenced by the signs from heaven and must be helped to remain proper. This leads to rather aloof or stand offish behavior on the part of Onmyodo and tends to irritate many normal Rokugani.

The earliest of the Onmyodo disciplines to appear in Rokugan the first century was that of the Jugondo. Jugondo was concerned with issues such as the vanquishing of monsters; curing of disease; freeing people, places and objects from possession by spirits (evil or otherwise); dispersing of apparitions, etc. The passing similarity to the Kuni shugenja is not without cause. Many early Onmyo were of the Crab bloodline and even now, both schools are very friendly towards one another.

A highly ritualistic discipline, it incorporates Phoenix medical practices, Shinseist Taoist spells (using handwritten wards) and charms, magic invocations, and forms of hypnosis to induce mystical states in the practitioner. In these altered states, Jugondo practitioners can undertake feats such as fire-walking and pouring boiling water in their bare skin without harm...

Over the centuries, however, the various arts and practices of onmyodo gradually became absorbed into Shintao and Shinseist tradition, and also into the disciplines of the shugenja, and other ascetic groups, to the point where onmyodo - as a distinct tradition in it's own right - to all intents and purposes ceased to exist, except for a medium-sized school based in the Crane lands and others across the face of Rokugan.

The school does not usually draw much attention to itself, preferring quiet contemplation and divination, eschewing the ‘base world’ of the court. While this might irk courtiers of many different stripes, particularly those who might seek to use the Onmyo for political gain, the Onmyo have assisted enough people of various walks of life that allies will come to their aid if they come under political fire.


Benefit: +1 Awareness

Honor: 4.5

Skills: Calligraphy, Etiquette, Meditation, Theology (Astrology),Spellcraft (wards), Any Three High Skills

Outfit: Wakazashi, Divination Tools (pick one type), Gohei wand, Fine Calligraphy kit, Kimono and sandals, Eboshi hat, Travelling pack, 10 Koku

Starting Spells :As per Asahina school

Affinity/Deficiency: much like their Asahina brethren, The Onmyoji prefer subtlety and precision, but are worldly enough to favor hard knowledge and strength. As a result they have a choice between Air or Water as an affinity. The Asahina disdain for destructive magics still is prevalent among school teachers, and as such the school has a Fire Deficiency.

Technique: Onmyodo (The Way of Yin And Yang): Onmyoji get +1k1 on skills and techniques involving divination. They also get +0k1 when attempting to banish oni or unwelcome spirits. Lastly, The Onmyoji School gets a free raise on spells with the key word Divination.



General Clan Impressions of the Onmyodo School


The Crab: While allied with the Crane generally, this lot are really damned useful to have around. They have a bit boarder focus in banishing all forms of spirits allows our Shugenja to focus on fighting the Shadowlands and make it their mission to remove harmful spirits, curses, and other problems. Their detachment from the threat of the Shadowlands tends to grate on the nerves, but that is really the worst complaint we have about them.


The Crane: They are wise, studying the mysteries of peasants and higher heavens alike. They have helped us when our knowledge has failed us and taught us many things. That they do not wish to join is aggravating, but we understand their way.


The Lion: Ronin shugenja, but very talented ronin shugenja. That and the ancestors do not seem to mind them. But they are somewhat uncultured and should be watched carefully.


The Scorpion: They knew of the Shadow and said nothing! They knew of Hantei XVI and said nothing! They knew of Fu Lengs return and said Nothing! They are a Pox and a Plague upon the Empire!


The Dragon: Hello, Brother. What have you learned today?


The Phoenix: They follow a different path than many other Shugenja and occasionally come up with something interesting from the most unlikely places. For ronin, they are perfectly acceptable to have around and they are very good with the lower orders, much like monks. For this reason, unless you’ve some reason to suspect them of violating the laws, do not roust them. A spiteful Onmyo is not something you would like seeing.


The Unicorn: They’re considered strange by the rest of the Empire because they don’t want social positions. We understand this frame of mind. They are also useful in removing various problems.


The Mantis: Very nice, being able to keep to a small house and do nothing but research. Tho admittedly, your star gazing skills would be nice for navigation.



Onmyogo impressions of the Clans

The Crab: They have narrowed themselves to removing one form of Corruption from Ningen-do. They are very good at it. But sometimes they delve into things better left unknown.

The Crane: Until recently, they had the blessings of The Mandate of Heaven. While most of them strive for this in accordance with their natures, they sometimes overextend themselves. We must encourage them not to do this if possible and try to mitigate the damage that results.

The Lion: Honor. Ambition. Strength. We have seen where this has lead you. We are not impressed.

The Dragon: They've haven't been quite right since the death of Togashi-No-Kami. We can only hope they wander the proper path to Enlightenment

The Scorpion: Pot. Kettle. Black.

The Phoenix: In spite of their mystical wisdom, they typically aren't that wise in the ways of Ningen-do. This weakens them considerably and makes them do rash things not in accordance with the Mandate of Heaven. Our only hope is that they eventually learn.

The Unicorn: Barbarians. Yet in many instances, they produce simple wisdom that escapes the other Clans. Only Heaven knows what Heaven does.

The Mantis: Loud. Brash. Rude. And not even the credit of fighting back the Shadowlands to their name to excuse their behavior. Their command of Water and Storm Spirits is to be respected. The Clan on the other hand...

The Shadowlands: This is what happens when the need for harmonies is ignored.

The Naga: Fascinating.

The Nezumi: They are part of nature. What of them? Now why are you looking offended, Crane-Sama?

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Heh. I'm working on an onmyodo-related project right now, so this is right up my alley. :-) I think the technique makes sense, and is strong without being overpowered -- they get sizable bonuses, but on such specific realms of action (divination and banishing spirits) that it isn't overkill. I'll admit I'd love to see a five-rank version of this, but that's because I've been redesigning all the shugenja schools to have five ranks; one technique is such a small amount of space in which to make flavor happen.

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I'm not so certain about so completely removing the onmyouji from courtly life, given that historically they were such a part of the Heian court and governmental systems that they made up a branch of the government.


Really, onmyou/in'you is quite the opposite of removing oneself from the public eye and courtly influence.

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